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Adjectives Used as Adverbs

Adjectives Used as AdverbsAdjectives can closely resemble adverbs. Some words can either be an adjective or adverb if you do not correctly change the word. You also need to know the part-of-speech of the word, and understand how to use the word correctly in the sentence.

EX.— You look very well tonight.

Well is used to show condition; therefore it is an adjective.

EX.—You did that work well.

Well is used to show manner; therefore it is an adverb.

EX.— Brian ran so fast I could not catch him.

Fast is used to show manner; therefore it is an adverb.

EX.— What a fast motorcycle James has!

Fast is used to describe motorcycle; therefore it is an adjective.

EX.— You may go if you will not run too far.

Here far is used to denote distance and place; therefore it is an adverb.

EX.— You may be out of money when you reach that far country.

Here far is used to describe country; therefore it is an adjective.

EX.— Please give me a little more sugar in my coffee.

Here little is used to show degree; therefore it is an adverb.

EX.— What a little boy you are!

Here little is used to describe boy; therefore it is an adjective.

EX.— Come early that you may get a front row seat.

Here early is used to showtime; therefore it is an adverb.

EX.— Dad sent you some of our early corn.

Here early describes corn; therefore it is an adjective.

Sometimes it is difficult to decide, even by the use, if you should use an adjective or adverb. This is true when the word follows such a verb as taste, smell, look, seem, sound, feel.

Adjectives ending in ly

NOTE— Adjectives ending in ly [the typical ending of adverbs] cause many errors.

Wrong: He plays lovely.
Right: He plays beautifully.

Wrong: I should likely go.
Right: I should probably go.
Right: It is likely that I should go.

Adjectives and Verbs

After look, sound, taste, smell, feel, and similar verbs, an adjective is often used to describe the subject.

Right: These flowers look beauliful. [Not "look beautifully".]
Right: My wife's perfume smells exquisite. [Not "smells exquisitely".]

Right: How good the chimes sound on the porch! [Not "sound well" .]
Right: I feel well. ["Well" is an adjective in this use.]
Right: It feels good to get back to my job.
Right: We stand firm in our conviction.
Right: The checks you mailed reached us safe.
Right: He got across safe.

Adjectives and "to be" Verbs

As a general rule, use the adjective whenever some form of the verb to be or to seem may be substituted; if you cannot substitute a word, then use the adverb.

In "We stand firm in our conviction," you can substitute the verb "are" for "stand" with little change in the meaning.

But in "We stand firmly by our decision," you cannot substitute the verb "are" for "stand" without changing the meaning of the sentence.

A similar example is: "He looks angry" with "He looks angrily at me."

Expressions

In such expressions as, He folded it tight, He folded it tightly, We kept it safe, We kept it safely, use an adjective as the modifier if it designates the condition of the object; if it designates the manner of action of the verb, then use an adverb as the modifier.

Right: He folded it tight. [Tight designates the condition of the object.]

Right: He folded it tightly. [Tightly designates the manner of folding.]

Right: We kept it safe. [Safe designates the condition of the object.]

Right: We kept it safely. [Safely designates the manner of keeping.]

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