Traditional English Grammar
Parts of Speech Continued:
Adjectives and Adverbs
An adjective is a word that modifies a noun or pronoun. The word "modifies" literally means "changes." Adjectives clarify and qualify a noun.
Comparison of Adjectives
Adjectives can be compared. They have three degrees of comparison.
Matilda wore a dress.
Matilda wore a blue dress.
(Blue changes the mental picture.)
Matilda wore a dirty blue dress.
(The mental picture changes further.)
NOTE: More safer and most prettiest are incorrect. They are double comparisons. Usually single syllable and a few two syllable adjectives (lovely, lovelier, for example) are compared by adding -er or -est to the root word. Multi-syllable adjectives are compared by placing more or
most before the positive form.
That highway is safe.
Paris is an interesting city.
That highway is safer than a narrow mountain road.
Paris is more interesting than London.
That highway is the safest road in the state.
Paris is the most interesting city in Europe.
Function of Adjectives
Adjectives have several functions and forms in relation to their nouns:
Helpful Hints for Recognizing an Adjective
DESCRIPTIVE: large house, intelligent answer, microscopic insect
NUMERAL: ten nations, a million people
DEMONSTRATIVE: this assignment, those chapters
POSSESSIVE: my ancestors, Jan's parents, your generosity
INDEFINITE: many people, both parents, each year
VERBAL: flying object, broken heart, singing group
NOUN: flower garden, child prodigy, foot soldier
ARTICLE: a factory, an inhabitant, the service
1. Become familiar with the several suffixes that give a word the quality of an adjective.
-ble: audible, portable, possible, capable, liable
2. Find the noun or pronoun that the adjective tells about. If the word does not modify a noun or a pronoun, it is not an adjective.
-ous: innocuous, plenteous, gracious, libelous, generous, courageous
-ish: foolish, brackish, peevish, selfish
-ic: caustic, fantastic, dramatic, frenetic, energetic
-al: final, adjectival, colonial, political
An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb.
Adverbs as Modifiers
Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs; however, they can be placed almost anywhere in the sentence.
Mortimer frequently has indigestion as a result of overeating.
Adverbs Tell Time, Place, Condition, etc.
Adverbs tell when, where, how, how much. In the above sentences, frequently tells when, there tells where, carefully tells how, unusually and quite tell how much.
(Frequently modifies the verb has but could be placed before the verb, at the beginning of the sentence, or even at the end of the sentence.)
I went there as a small child.
(There modifies the verb went.)
After the accident Melrose drove carefully for three hours.
(Carefully modifies the verb drove.)
My dog is unusually intelligent.
(Unusually modifies the adjective intelligent.)
Prunella sang the aria quite well.
(Quite modifies the adverb well.)
Many adverbs end in -ly. These are formed by adding the suffix -ly to a descriptive adjective.
But all words that end in -ly are not adverbs.
Some adjectives end in -ly: a lovely garden; a friendly neighborhood; a lonely old man.
Many adverbs do not end in -ly. Here are some common adverbs: how, then, there, often, never, again, quite, too, sometimes, always, already.
Sometimes a noun is used as an adverb. This noun is called an adverbial noun.
Comparison of Adverbs
Like adjectives, adverbs can be compared.
Professor Prunesquallor speaks sharply to the students, and they work hard.
When upset, he speaks more sharply than usual, but they
He speaks most sharply when he is angry, and they work their hardest.
NOTE: Only descriptive adverbs can be compared, and only a few of those can be compared with -er or -estendings. Near, far, early, fast, for example.
To take the first quiz,
To return to Unit 1 assignments,
To return to Traditional Grammar Main Menu,
To visit the Instructional Systems site for links to additional grammar instruction, click here. [NOTE: You must be on the internet to visit the i S i site.]
To visit Instructional Systems "Cookie Jar" for grammar, spelling, ESL, and composition instruction, click here. [NOTE: You must be on the internet to visit the "Cookie Jar."]
To visit Instructional Systems other free resources and links, click Here.
To visit the Instructional Systems Home Page and Main Menu, click Here
Web Author: J. Kline
Copyright ©1998 by Instructional Systems - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED