Parts of Speech in English – Adjectives and Adverbs

Posted on 10. Jan, 2012 by in English Grammar

Now that we have reviewed verbs and nouns (see my previous posts), it makes the most sense that the next two parts of speech we look at should be adjectives and adverbs.  Adverbs and adjectives are the words that we used to describe verbs and nouns.

Adjectives
An adjective is a word that tells us something about a noun or pronoun. An adjective “qualifies” or “modifies” a noun, telling us more about that noun.  Adjectives can be used before a noun (for example: I like red flowers.) or after certain verbs (for example: It is beautiful.).  We can also use two or more adjectives together to describe one noun (for example: She has a big, fluffy, white dog).  All the adjectives in these example sentences are in bold.  Adjective have three general forms: positive, comparative, and superlative.  Here are examples of these three forms, again with the adjectives in bold.

The house is small. (positive)
That house is smaller than this one. (comparative)
The last house on the street in the smallest. (superlative)

Adverbs
An adverb is a word that tells us more about a verb. It “qualifies” or “modifies” a verb and usually answer questions such as, how?, where?, when?, how often? and how much?

In the following examples, the adverb is in bold and the verb that it modifies is in italics.

Jeff laughs loudly.  (Question: How does Jeff laugh?)
Afterwards she paid him.  (Question: When did she pay him?)

Sometimes adverbs also modify adjectives (for example: Tina is really beautiful.), or even other adverbs (It works very well.) but this is less common than an adverb modifying a verb.

Adding adjectives and adverbs to a sentence gives the sentence more depth and meaning.  There are thousands of adverbs and adjective available for you to use.  There are too many to list here.  You can look up lists of these parts of speech online and in other resources, like a textbook.  Adding adjectives and adverbs to your vocabulary will likely make what you say or write more interesting and accurate because you are giving more information.

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About gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after I completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.

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