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Adjectives are words that describe nouns. When it comes to the positioning of adjectives in a sentence, they go in front of nouns. For example, in the sentence “I have two black cars,” the word ‘black’ is an adjective, and it describes the noun ‘cars.’ Some examples of adjectives are blue, red, yellow, large, small, expensive, cheap, long, short, easy, and difficult.

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Adverbs are a little more complicated, because they are words that describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. One very common way to form adverbs is to add the letters ‘-ly’ to the end of an adjective. For example, ‘beautiful’ becomes ‘beautifully,’ and ‘quick’ becomes ‘quickly.’ In the sentence “I ate quickly,” the adverb ‘quickly’ is describing the verb ‘ate.’

Here are some more examples of adverbs describing (or we could say ‘modifying’) verbs:

~ He plays the guitar well.
~ You sing beautifully!
~ Roger Federer hits the ball cleanly.

Adverbs can also describe other adverbs. Let’s revisit the examples from above, and add another adverb to see some examples of this.

~ He plays the guitar very well.
~ You sing so beautifully!
~ Roger Federer hits the ball quite cleanly.

We can also use adverbs to say where the action in a sentence happens. Note the adverbs in the following examples:

~ Come in!
~ John left his phone upstairs before going to dinner
~ There are people everywhere!

Just like we use adverbs to say where the action in a sentence happens, we can also use them to say when the action happens. This includes words like ‘early,’ ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow,’ as well as ‘often,’ ‘usually,’ ‘always,’ etc. These later words are known as Adverbs of Frequency. They tell us how often an action happens.

~ I went to the supermarket yesterday.
~ Do you wake up early?
~ She often comes to school by bus.

Knowing how to identify the different types of words will help you when you make your own sentences. Try the exercises to practice what you have learned!

A. Edstrom

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