Using adjectives and adverbs correctly
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Using Adjectives and Adverbs Correctly. What are adjectives?. Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns Answers Which? What kind? or How Many ? These words are all adjectives A hot day A happy camper A silly twit A big , bloody mess (both “big” and “bloody” modify “mess”)

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What are adjectives
What are adjectives?

  • Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns

  • Answers Which? What kind? or How Many?

  • These words are alladjectives

    • A hot day

    • A happy camper

    • A silly twit

    • A big, bloody mess (both “big” and “bloody” modify “mess”)

    • She is creative (“creative” is a subject complement that follows the linking verb “is”)

    • A boring course (present participle used as an adjective

Find the adjectives
Find the Adjectives!

  • Circle all adjectives and underline the words they modify

A distant coyote howled at the pale moon.

Crowded and dusty, the bookstore has an excellent selection.

The cars looked clean and shiny.

The sky, blue and cloudless, held no hope of rain.

So what are adverbs
So what are adverbs?

  • Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs

  • Many adverbs end with ly

  • Many adverbs answer the question How?, When?, Where?, How Often?, or To What Extent?

  • These are adverbs

    • Eating quickly (modifying a verb)

    • Trying very hard (modifying an adverb)

    • A really big show (modifying an adjective)

Find the adverbs
Find the Adverbs!

  • Circle all adverbs and underline the words they modify

The dog walked quickly.

The play was immediately successful.

The subway takes you anywhere.

Francine seldom loses at chess.

Aunt Jessica seemed entirely sincere in inviting us to stay.

How did it walk?

When was it successful?

Where does it take you?

How often does she lose?

To what extent was she sincere?

Recognizing adjectives adverbs
Recognizing Adjectives & Adverbs

  • Many words have both an adjective and adverb form

Comparatives and superlatives
Comparatives and Superlatives

  • Most adverbs and adjectives also have a comparative and superlative form

  • Use the comparative form to compare two things

    • Sally is the larger of the twins (not largest)

  • Use the superlative form to compare three or more

    • August was the hottest month of the year

Hints to make your life easier
Hints to Make Your Life Easier:

  • One and Two-Syllable Modifiers:

    • Add –er to form the comparative

    • Add –est to form the superlative

  • Modifiers of Three or More Syllables

    • Add more (or less) to form the comparative

    • Add most (or least) to form the superlative

late, later, latest

narrow, narrower, narrowest

critical, more critical, most critical

clear, less clear, least clear

Try it here
Try It Here

Nails are the __________ used fasteners for wood. (widely – superlative)

The ______ nails were made more than five thousand years ago in Mesopotamia (early – superlative)

Nails are measured in _____units known as pennies. (small – positive)

A resin coating makes a nail hold __________. (tightly – comparative)

most widely



more tightly

Double comparatives
Double Comparatives

  • Don’t use “more” or “most” with –er or –est

    • Yesterday was more hotter than today

    • That was the most dirtiest story I ever heard

    • That is the biggest bear I have ever seen

Absolute concepts
Absolute Concepts

  • Don’t use comparatives or superlatives with absolute concepts

  • Absolutes have only two possibilities, on or off, yes or no, with nothing in between

    • The most perfect student in the class

    • A very unique idea (say “very unusual” instead)

  • These words express absolute concepts that cannot be modified

  • Don t use adjectives when adverbs are needed
    Don’t use adjectives when adverbs are needed

    • You did a real nice job

      • (an adjective can’t modify another adjective)

  • You did a really nice job

    • (the adverb “really” modifies “nice”)

  • He did good

  • He did well or

  • He did a good job

    • Fuel injection helps the car run efficient

  • Fuel injection helps the car run efficiently

    • Come quick!

  • Come quickly!

    • Hopefully, it won’t rain

      • (an adverb explains how something will happen

  • Ihope that it won’t rain

  • Don t use needless adverbs
    Don’t use needless adverbs

    • Before using any of these words, check to see if they add anything to the sentence

      • Really, very, absolutely, extremely, quite, actually, somewhat, rather

      • I am really happy to see you

      • Grammar is very boring

      • You are absolutely correct

      • Her language was extremely crude

      • You are quite intelligent

    • Context will help you decide whether to retain the underlined words

    • Keep them only if they add to the meaning

      • Bill Gates is very rich. I hope he gives me some money.

    • Most college instructors are poor; their students are very poor.

  • Note: the terms “good success” and “real good success” have been reserved for sports broadcasters; do not use them

  • Compound adjectives
    Compound Adjectives

    • Two or more adjectives often appear together separated with commas

      • Brad’s tiny, tight swimsuit showed off his hairy belly

        • The words “tiny” and “tight” each work separately to modify “swimsuit”

    • Connect the words with a hyphen when they function together before a noun

      • Brad’s gold-plated piercings stood out against his bright-red sunburn

        • “Gold-plated” and “bright-red” are compound adjectives

    Compound adjectives1

    Brad was well known along the boardwalk (no hyphen)

    His SUV was fully equipped

    Brad worked full time on his tan

    Brad was a well-known jerk (hyphenated)

    He drove a fully-equipped SUV

    Brad was a full-time chick magnet

    Compound Adjectives

    • Do not hyphenate the words when they come after the noun they modify

    • Notice the difference in these examples

    Misplaced modifiers
    Misplaced Modifiers

    • Put adjectives and adverbs close to the words they modify

    • Notice how the meaning is affected by the improper placement

      • An old pile of clothes is on the floor

    • A pile of old clothes is on the floor

      • I almost believe you are finished

    • I believe you are almost finished

      • The winners will only be contacted

    • Only the winners will be contacted

      • I can’t quite do this as well as Fred

    • I can’t do this quite as well as Fred