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Using Adjectives and Adverbs Correctly

You might know that adjectives and adverbs are modifiers: They tell about a word by describing it. Most of the English learners mix using adjectives and adverbs correctly in their sentences. In this article, you will learn how to use adjectives and adverbs correctly as you describe people, places, things, and actions. This will make your writing and speech correct as well as colorful!

Using Adjectives and Adverbs Correctly

Both Adjectives and adverbs describe other words, but you need to find out when to use adjectives and when to use adverbs in your sentences.
Adjectives are words which are used to describe a noun or pronoun.

  • He is a good player.  
  • I went to an early class.

An adverb is word which describes a verb, an adjective or other adverb.

  • He plays good. (Adverb describes the verb “play”)
  • Ali woke very early in the morning. (Adverb describes another adverb “very”)
  • The match was really difficult. (Adverb describes the adjective “difficult”)

Quick Tip:
Many adverb are formed by adding –ly to an adjective (poor => poorly, gentle => gently), but a number of common adverbs do not follow this pattern. And those words can be either and adjectives or adverbs, depending on how they are used in a sentence.

  • It was a hard match for Pakistan. (Adjective)
  • They practiced hard all week. (Adverb)

Is it an Adjective or an Adverb?
Many words can be adjectives or adverbs, the only way to tell the difference between adjectives and adverbs is to analyze their function in a sentence.

Modifier Function Example
Adjective Describe nouns  It was a difficult exam.
Adjective  Describe pronouns  It’s too difficult to solve.
Adverb Describe verbs  He solved it easily.
Adverb  Describe adjectives  It was so easy paper.
Adverb  Describe adverbs  He was solving so quickly.

This is how you can distinguish between adjectives and adverbs by looking at their functions in a sentence. Now we will look at using adjectives and adverbs correctly in positive, comparative, and superlative degrees.

Using adjectives and adverbs correctly in positive, comparative and superlative degrees
Adjectives and adverbs not only describe things; they also compare them. Adjectives and adverbs have different forms to show degrees of comparison. There are three degrees of comparison: positive, comparative, and superlative. Initially we recommend you to click here to know about the three degrees of comparison and how they are formed from positive into comparative and superlative degrees.
Remember the formulation of comparative and superlative forms of adjectives and adverbs have the same rules.

Comparing with Adjectives and Adverbs
If you have read about comparisons that how comparative and superlative forms of adjectives and adverbs are formed, follow the guidelines below to use adjectvies and adverbs correctly and make the comparisons correct. 

1. Using predicate Adjectives after Linking Verbs
Predicate Adjectives: A predicate adjective is an adjective that follows a linking verb and describes the subject of a sentence. Remember that linking verbs describe a state of being or a condition. They include all forms of to be (such as am, is, are, were, was) and verbs related to the senses (look, smell, sound, feel). Linking verbs connect the subject of a sentence to a word that renames or describes it.
Use an adjective rather than an adverb after linking verbs. Consider the examples below.

  • This food tastes deliciously. (Incorrect)
  • This food tastes delicious. (Correct)
  • The child felt badly. (Incorrect)
  • The child felt bad. (Correct)
  • I look awfully in that shade of orange. (Incorrect)
  • I look awful in that shade of orange. (Correct)
  • Ali is happily. (Incorrect)
  • Ali is happy. (Correct)

Note: Some verbs do double duty: Sometimes they function as linking verbs, but other times they function as action verbs. As linking verbs, these verbs use adjectives as complements. As action verbs, these verbs use adverbs as complements.

2. Double Negatives
Using two negative words in the same clause (group of words) creates a double negative. A double negative is an incorrect usage and should be avoided. To avoid this grammatical error, use only one negative word to express a negative idea.
The following words are negatives, and remember most common negative words in English begin with “n”.
(Never, no, nobody, none, not, nothing, nowhere, hardly, barely, scarcely)

  • The players did not have no energy after the match. (Incorrect)
  • The players did not have any energy after the long flight. (Correct)  Or (The players had no energy left after the match.)
  • Zahra could not hardly see in the fog. (Incorrect)
  • Zahra could hardly see in the fog. (Correct)  Or (Zahra could barely see in the fog.)

Note: However, to create understatement, you can use a word with a negative prefix and another negative word. The two most common negative prefixes are un– and -in.

  • It is not uncommon to cheat in the exam.
  • The report is not inaccurate.

3. Using “other and else” correctly in comparisons
When you compare one item in a group with the rest of the group, be sure to include the word “other or else”. Then your comparison will make sense.

  • Obama is greater than any American president. (Incorrect)
  • Obama is greater than any other American president. (Correct)
  • England has scored more runs than anyone in the world T20 2016. (Incorrect)
  • England has scored more runs than anyone else in the world T20 2016. (Correct)

4. Create complete comparisons
Sentences that finish a comparison make sense. Comparisons that are incomplete or that compare illogical items become muddled. This confuses readers and obscures your point.

  • I enjoy watching cricket match between Pakistan and India than homework.
  • I enjoy watching cricket match between Pakistan and India than doing homework.

I hope this article helped you to distinguish between adjectives and adverb, comparing with adjectives and adverbs, using adjectives and adverbs correctly and avoiding errors with adjectives and adverbs so on.

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