Grammar

Adjectives and adverbs used wrong/ly?

If you are looking for good examples of terrible mistakes such as using adjectives instead of adverbs or the opposite, just watch the sports channel. Either in England or in Spain the sports industry follows the same tendency of ignoring the grammar. 

What are adjectives and adverbs?

Adjective and adverbs are words that tell us something about the subject or the action.

  • Adjectives tell us something about a person or a thing. They modify:
    • nouns: She drives a classy car.
    • follow linking verbs: She seems angry.

*What are linking verbs? A linking verb is a verb which connects a subject to its predicate without expressing an action. A linking verb is used to re-identify or describes its subject. The most common linking verb is the verb to be. Other common ones relate to the five senses (to lookto feelto smellto sound, and to taste). These verbs are often followed by an adjective.

  • Adverbs tell us in what way someone does something. They modify:
    • verbs:  He walked quickly towards the exit.
    • adjectives: The car was extremely expensive.
    • adverbs: He talked impressively loud.

Key points to remember

  1. Adverbs = *adjective + -ly. 
    • If the *adjective ends in -y, change -y to -i. Then add -ly. (Happy > Happily)
    • If the *adjective ends in -le, the adverb ends in -ly: (Terrible > Terribly)
    • If the *adjective ends in -e, then add -ly: (Safe > Safely)
  2. Not all words ending in -ly are adverbs they can be adjectives (Friendly) or verbs (Supply)
  3. The most common irregular adverbs are:
    • Good > Well
    • Fast > Fast
    • Hardy> Hard
    • Late > Late
    • Early > Early
    • Daily > Daily
    • Straight > Straight
    • Wrong > Wrong, Wrongly. They answer how, when, where, why or to what extent – how often or how much.

How do know whether to use an adjective or an adverb?

Ask if the word refers to the subject or to the verb:

  • I am a slow walker (How am I?) > As it tells us something about a person or a thing (the subject). It is an adjective. 
  • I walk slowly. (How I walk?) > As it tells in what way the person do something (the action). It is an adverb. 

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