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The Difference between Adjectives and Adverbs


This worksheet discusses the differences between adjectives and adverbs. It defines adjectives and adverbs, shows what each can do, and offers several examples of each in use. Click here for some examples.

Contributors:Paul Lynch, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2010-09-21 01:33:47

The Basic Rules: Adjectives

Adjectives modify nouns. To modify means to change in some way. For example:

Adjectives usually answer one of a few different questions: "What kind?" or "Which?" or "How many?" For example:

So, generally speaking, adjectives answer the following questions:

The Basic Rules: Adverbs

Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. (You can recognize adverbs easily because many of them are formed by adding -ly to an adjective, though that is not always the case.) The most common question that adverbs answer is how.

Let's look at verbs first.

Adverbs also modify adjectives and other adverbs.

So, generally speaking, adverbs answer the question how. (They can also answer the questions when, where, and why.)

Some other rules:

Most of the time, adjectives come before nouns. However, they come after the nouns they modify, most often when the verb is a form of the following:

Some examples:

Be sure to understand the differences between the following two examples:

"The dog smells carefully." Here, carefully describes how the dog is smelling. We imagine him sniffing very cautiously.


"The dog smells clean." Here, clean describes the dog itself. It's not that he's smelling clean things or something; it's that he's had a bath and does not stink.

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