More often than not, English students confuse adjectives and adverbs. Although, a little practice can go a long way when it comes to grammar.
Adjectives are one of four main word classes, along with adverbs, nouns and verbs. They describe a noun or a pronoun.
- Sam’s got a fast car.
- This is a beautiful garden.
- They live in a polluted area.
Although adjectives usually stand before the word they modify (describe), they may as well stand after it, especially after be, seem, look, feel, etc.
- That boy is intelligent.
- You look tired.
- I feel happy.
Comparison of adjectives
We normally use adjectives to compare things by adding the suffix ‘-er‘ or ‘-est‘ to one-syllable adjectives and by putting ‘more’ or ‘most’ before the adjectives with more than one syllable.
- This house is bigger than that one.
- My elder son is more responsible than my younger one.
We can compare adjectives with ‘as … as’, ‘not as … as’, etc. Find more about the comparison of adjectives here.
Order of adjectives
We sometimes put more than one adjective before a noun. Their order is as follows:
- Number or quantity (one, two…, a few, many…)
- Opinion or quality (nice, ugly, beautiful)
- Size (large, small, short)
- Shape (round, square)
- Age (two-year-old, young)
- Colour (yellow, brownish)
- Origin (Italian, Medieval)
- Material (wooden, glass)
- Purpose (cooking, driving)
- Two beautiful, tall, fifteen-year-old, Australian twin sisters.
- A beautiful, small, wooden table.
Find more about the order of adjectives in English here.
We normally use adverbs to modify a verb, adjective, another adverb or even an entire sentence. Most of them are built by adding ‘-ly to the adjective.
- The opera singer is a beautiful lady.
- She also sings beautifully.
Comparison of adverbs
Adverbs can also be compared by putting ‘more’ and ‘most’ before them.
- He tried to walk more quietly as the baby was sleeping.
- Paul won the race because he ran most quickly.
A few adverbs have the same form as the corresponding adjectives: e.g. fast, late, near, hard, high, early, etc.
- It’s a fast car. (adjective)
- He was fast asleep. (adverb)
- He’s a man in his late 50s. (adjective)
- Mary stayed up late (adverb)
- There is the nearest petrol station. (adjective)
- We live near the park. (adverb)
- It’s hard work. (adjective)
- They work hard. (adverb)
- That bird flies higher than the plane. (adjective)
- I hate when he hits the ball so high. (adverb)
- An early bird catches the worm. (adjective)
- It’s nice to wake up early in the country. (adverb)
The forms lately, nearly, hardly, deeply, highly also exist, but have a narrower meaning than their corresponding adjectives:
lately = recently
- Have you seen Tom lately?
deeply = profoundly
- Samantha loved her son deeply.
nearly = almost
- Don’t be impatient. We’ve nearly finished the exercise.
hardly = scarcely, almost not, with difficulty
- There are hardly any tourists this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Good and Well
The main difference between good and well is – good is an adjective and well is an adverb.
- Sarah paints well.
- Jim is a good painter.
Things become confusing after linking verbs; we use good after linking verbs such as be, taste, sound, smell, look, seem and feel if we want to describe the subject, not the action of the verb:
- The film wasn’t good at all.
- This dish smells good to me.
- I feel good today.
We use well after the linking verbs: be, feel, look and seem if we want to use the adjective form of well meaning ’healthy’:
- Jim feels well enough to leave the hospital.
- Fiona was well yesterday, but she feels sick today.
If you really want to learn English but don’t know how to do it and where to start, don’t hesitate to contact us. Book an online English lesson with one of our certified and experienced English teachers and take a test and consultation. Choose the most suitable app: Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Viber or Facebook Messenger. You should certainly join us for 30-minute conversation sessions. We are organizing lessons at a 30% discount. Check it out!
Drop us a line on WhatsApp