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The Adverb

Adverbs are used to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb:

[1] Mary sings beautifully
[2] David is extremely clever
[] This car goes incredibly fast
!n [1], the adverb beautifully tells us ho" Mary sings# !n [2], extremely tells us the
degree to "hich David is clever# $inally, in [], the adverb incredibly tells us ho" fast
the car goes#
%efore discussing the meaning of adverbs, ho"ever, "e "ill identify some of their
formal characteristics#

Formal Characteristics of Adverbs
$rom our e&am'les above, you can see that many adverbs end in -ly# More 'recisely,
they are formed by adding -ly to an adjective:

Adjective slow quick soft sudden gradual
Adverb slowly quickly softly suddenly gradually

%ecause of their distinctive endings, these adverbs are (no"n as -LY AD)*+%,#
-o"ever, by no means all adverbs end in -ly# .ote also that some adjectives also
end in -ly, including costly, deadly, friendly, kindly, likely, lively, manly, and timely#
/i(e adjectives, many adverbs are 0+ADA%/*, that is, "e can modify them using
very or extremely:

softly very softly
suddenly very suddenly
slowly e&tremely slowly

The modifying "ords very and extremely are themselves adverbs# They are called
D*0+** AD)*+%, because they s'ecify the degree to "hich an adjective or
another adverb a''lies# Degree adverbs include almost, barely, entirely, highly, quite,
slightly, totally, and utterly# Degree adverbs are not gradable 12extremely very3#
/i(e adjectives, too, some adverbs can ta(e 45M6A+AT!)* and ,76*+/AT!)*
forms, "ith -er and -est:

8ohn "or(s hard 99 Mary "or(s harder 99 ! "or( hardest
-o"ever, the majority of adverbs do not ta(e these endings# !nstead, they form the
com'arative using more and the su'erlative using most:

Adverb Comparative Superlative
recently more recently most recently
effectively more effectively most effectively
frequently more frequently most frequently

!n the formation of com'aratives and su'erlatives, some adverbs are irregular:

Adverb Comparative Superlative
well better best
badly worse worst
little less least
much more most

Adverbs and Adjectives
Adverbs and adjectives have im'ortant characteristics in common 99 in 'articular their
gradability, and the fact that they have com'arative and su'erlative forms# -o"ever,
an im'ortant distinguishing feature is that adverbs do not modify nouns, either
attributively or 'redicatively:

Adjective Adverb
David is a happy child 2David is a happily child
David is happy 2David is happily

The follo"ing "ords, together "ith their com'arative and su'erlative forms, can be
both adverbs and adjectives:
early, far, fast, hard, late
The follo"ing sentences illustrate the t"o uses of early:

Adjective Adverb
!:ll catch the early train ! a"o(e early this morning

The com'arative better and the su'erlative best, as "ell as some "ords denoting
time intervals 1daily, weekly, monthly3, can also be adverbs or adjectives, de'ending
on ho" they are used#
;e have incor'orated some of these "ords into the follo"ing e&ercise# ,ee if you
can distinguish bet"een the adverbs and the adjectives#

!n each of the follo"ing 'airs, indicate "hether the highlighted "ord is an adverb or
an adjective:
1a. My train arrived late, as

1b. I'm atchin! the late film

"a. My brother loves fast cars

"b. #e drives too fast

$a. %his e&ercise is harder
than I thou!ht

$b. I hope you'll try harder in

'a. The Times is published

'b. The Times is a daily

(a. )ou've just ruined my best

(b. Computers or* best if you
*ic* them

Circumstantial Adverbs
Many adverbs convey information about the manner, time, or 'lace of an event or
action# MA..*+ adverbs tell us how an action is or should be 'erformed:

,he sang loudly in the bath
The s(y quickly gre" dar(
They "his'ered softly
! had to run fast to catch the bus
T!M* adverbs denote not only s'ecific times but also fre<uency:

!:ll be chec(ing out tomorrow
0ive it bac(, now!
8ohn rarely rings any more
! "atch television sometimes
And finally, 6/A4* adverbs indicate where:

6ut the bo& there, on the table
!:ve left my gloves somewhere
These three adverb ty'es 99 manner, time, and 'lace 99 are collectively (no"n as
4!+47M,TA.T!A/ AD)*+%,# They e&'ress one of the circumstances relating to
an event or action 9 how it ha''ened 1manner3, when it ha''ened 1time3, or where it
ha''ened 1'lace3#

!n each of the follo"ing sentences, indicate "hether the highlighted "ord is an
adverb of manner, time, or 'lace#
1. %he thief crept silently
across the rooftops
". I'm not feelin! ell today
$. %he teacher smiled
'. +e'll meet here after the
(. My aunt never comes to visit
The Adjective
Adjectives can be identified using a number of formal criteria# -o"ever, "e may
begin by saying that they ty'ically describe an attribute of a noun:

cold "eather
large "indo"s
violent storms

,ome adjectives can be identified by their endings# Ty'ical adjective endings

achievable, capable, illegible, remarkable
9al biographical, functional, internal, logical
-ful beautiful, careful, grateful, harmful
-ic cubic, manic, rustic, terrific
-ive attractive, dismissive, inventive, persuasive
-less breathless, careless, groundless, restless
courageous, dangerous, disastrous,

-o"ever, a large number of very common adjectives cannot be identified in this "ay#
They do not have ty'ical adjectival form:


As this list sho"s, adjectives are formally very diverse# -o"ever, they have a number
of characteristics "hich "e can use to identify them#

Characteristics of Adjectives
Adjectives can ta(e a modifying "ord, such as very, extremely, or less, before them:

very cold "eather
extremely large "indo"s
less violent storms

-ere, the modifying "ord locates the adjective on a scale of com'arison, at a
'osition higher or lo"er than the one indicated by the adjective alone#
This characteristic is (no"n as 0+ADA%!/!T=# Most adjectives are gradable, though
if the adjective already denotes the highest 'osition on a scale, then it is non9

my main reason for coming >2my very main reason for coming
the principal role in the
>2the very principal role in the

As "ell as ta(ing modifying "ords li(e very and extremely,adjectives also ta(e
different forms to indicate their 'osition on a scale of com'arison:

big bigger biggest

The lo"est 'oint on the scale is (no"n as the A%,5/7T* form, the middle 'oint is
(no"n as the 45M6A+AT!)* form, and the highest 'oint is (no"n as the
,76*+/AT!)* form# -ere are some more e&am'les:

dark darker darkest
new newer newest
old older oldest
young younger youngest

!n most cases, the com'arative is formed by adding -er , and the su'erlative is
formed by adding -est, to the absolute form# -o"ever, a number of very common
adjectives are irregular in this res'ect:

Absolute Comparative Superlative
good better best
bad worse worst
far farther farthest

,ome adjectives form the com'arative and su'erlative using more and most

Absolute Comparative Superlative
important more important most important
recent more recent most recent

!n the follo"ing sentences, the highlighted "ords are adjectives# Tic( the adjective
features 1a9c3 that each e&hibits#
1. #is ne car as stolen.
a# !t has a ty'ical adjective sha'e#
b# !t is gradable#
c# !t can undergo com'arison#
". Somethin! smells !ood.
a# !t has a ty'ical adjective sha'e#
b# !t is gradable#
c# !t can undergo com'arison#
$. %heir restaurant is very successful.
a# !t has a ty'ical adjective sha'e#
b# !t is gradable#
c# !t can undergo com'arison#
'. +hat an unbelievable story,
a# !t has a ty'ical adjective sha'e#
b# !t is gradable#
c# !t can undergo com'arison#

(. My uncle is an atomic scientist.
a# !t has a ty'ical adjective sha'e#
b# !t is gradable#
c# !t can undergo com'arison.
Attributive and -redicative
6A0* 2?@
Most adjectives can occur both before and after a noun:

the blue sea > the sea is blue
the old man > the man is old
happy children > the children are happy

Adjectives in the first 'osition 9 before the noun 9 are called
ATT+!%7T!)* adjectives# Those in the second 'osition 9 after the
noun 9 are called 6+*D!4AT!)* adjectives# .otice that 'redicative
adjectives do not occur immediately after the noun# !nstead, they
follo" a verb#
,ometimes an adjective does occur immediately after a noun,
es'ecially in certain institutionalised e&'ressions:
the 0overnor eneral
the 6rincess !oyal
times past
;e refer to these as 65,T65,!T!)* adjectives# 6ost'osition is
obligatory "hen the adjective modifies a 'ronoun:
something useful
everyone present
those responsible
6ost'ositive adjectives are commonly found together "ith
su'erlative, attributive adjectives:
the shortest route possible
the worst conditions imaginable
the best hotel available
Most adjectives can freely occur in both the attributive and the
'redicative 'ositions# -o"ever, a small number of adjectives are
restricted to one 'osition only# $or e&am'le, the adjective main 1the
main reason3 can only occur in the attributive 'osition 1'redicative:
2the reason is main3# 4onversely, the adjective afraid 1the child "as
afraid3 can only occur 'redicatively 1attributive: 2an afraid child3#

Assign the highlighted adjectives in each of the follo"ing e&am'les
to one of the three 'ositions#
1# The green door o'ened slo"ly#
2# This stretch of "ater is
# The share9holders 'resent voted
against the 4hairman#
A# 8an feels ill#
B# A larger than normal 'ay increase
"as a"arded to the nurses#
.ominal Adjectives

6A0* A?@
4ertain adjectives are used to denote a class by describing one of
the attributes of the class# $or e&am'le, the poor denotes a class of
'eo'le "ho share a similar financial status# 5ther nominal adjectives
the old
the sick
the wealthy
the blind
the innocent
A major subclass of nominal adjectives refers to nationalities:

the "rench
the #ritish
the $apanese
-o"ever, not all nationalities have corres'onding nominal
adjectives# Many of them are denoted by 'lural, 'ro'er nouns:

the ermans
the !ussians
the %mericans
the &oles

.ominal adjectives do not refer e&clusively to classes of 'eo'le#
!ndeed some of them do not denote classes at all:

the opposite
the contrary
the good
4om'arative and su'erlative forms can also be
nominal adjectives:

the best is yet to come
the elder of the t"o
the greatest of these
the most important among them
;e refer to all of these ty'es as nominal adjectives because they
share some of the characteristics of nouns 1hence Cnominal:3 and
some of the characteristics of adjectives# They have the follo"ing
nominal characteristics:
they are 'receded by a determiner 1usually the definite article the3
they can be modified by adjectives 1the gallant "rench, the unfortunate
They have the follo"ing adjectival features:

they are gradable 1the very old, the e&tremely wealthy3
many can ta(e com'arative and su'erlative forms 1the poorer, the

More on Adjectives###

co'yright The ,urvey of *nglish 7sage 1DDE91DDF
,u''orted by +ing8ohn
5nline Mar(eting 7G

Internet Grammar of English
Adjectives and .ouns

6A0* B?@
;e have seen that attributive adjectives occur before a noun "hich
they modify, for e&am'le, red in red car# ;e need to distinguish
these clearly from nouns "hich occur in the same 'osition, and fulfil
the same syntactic function# 4onsider the follo"ing:

rally car
saloon car
family car
-ere, the first "ord modifies the second, that is, it tells us something
further about the car# $or e&am'le, a rally car is a car "hich is driven
in rallies# These modifiers occur in the same 'osition as red in the
e&am'le above, but they are not adjectives# ;e can sho" this by
a''lying our criteria for the adjective class#
$irstly, they do not ta(e very:

2a very rally car
2a very saloon car
2a very family car
,econdly, they do not have com'arative or su'erlative forms:

2rallier 2ralliest ? 2more rally ? 2most rally
2salooner 2saloonest ? 2more saloon ? 2most saloon
2familier 2familiest ? 2more family ? 2most family

And finally, they cannot occur in 'redicative 'osition:

2the car is rally
2the car is saloon
2the car is family
,o although these "ords occu'y the ty'ical adjective 'osition, they
are not adjectives# They are nouns#
-o"ever, certain adjectives are derived from nouns, and are (no"n
as D*.5M!.A/ adjectives# *&am'les include:

a mathematical 'uHHle [Ca 'uHHle based on mathematics:]
a biological e&'eriment [Can e&'eriment in biology:]
a wooden boat [Ca boat made of "ood:]

Denominals include adjectives "hich refer to nationality:

a !ussian lady [Ca lady "ho comes from +ussia:]
erman goods [Cgoods 'roduced in 0ermany:]

Denominal adjectives of this ty'e should be carefully distinguished
from nominal adjectives denoting nationalities# 4om'are:

.ominal Adjective: The "rench are noted for their "ines
Denominal Adjective: The "rench 'eo'le are noted for their "ines

!n each of the follo"ing sentences, indicate "hether the highlighted
"ord is an adjective or a noun#

1. /ife insurance is not cheap.
". %he -rime Minister is a close
friend of mine.
$. %he Chinese 0mbassy is
just don the road.
'. Friday is a busy day for me.
(. 1ur patient records are
%he 1rderin! of Adjectives
6A0* @?@
;hen t"o or more adjectives come before a noun, their relative
order is fi&ed to a certain degree# This means, for instance, that
"hile complex mathematical studies is grammatically acce'table,
mathematical complex studies is less so# ,imilarly:

a huge red bomber >2a red huge bomber
a long narrow road >2a narrow long road
the lovely little black
$apanese bo&
>2the $apanese black little
lovely bo&

-ere "e "ill discuss some of the most common se<uences "hich
occur, though these should not be seen as ordering rules# 4ounter
e&am'les can often be found <uite easily#
4entral adjectives, as "e sa" earlier, are adjectives "hich fulfil all
the criteria for the adjective class# !n this sense, they are more
IadjectivalI than, say, denominal adjectives, "hich also have some
of the 'ro'erties of nouns#
This distinction has some significance in the ordering of adjectives#
!n general, the more adjectival a "ord is, the farther from the noun it
"ill be# 4onversely, the less adjectival it is 1the more nominal3, the
nearer to the noun it "ill be# The relative order of these adjective
ty'es, then, is:
,e<uence 113: 4*.T+A/ 99 D*.5M!.A/ 99 .57.
This is the ordering found in complex mathematical studies, for
instance, and also in the follo"ing e&am'les:

expensive !ussian dolls
heavy woollen clothes
huge polar bears
4olour adjectives are also central adjectives, but if they co9occur
"ith another central adjective, they come after it:
,e<uence 123: 4*.T+A/ 99 45/57+ 99 .57.

expensive green dolls
heavy black clothes
huge white bears
and before denominal adjectives:
,e<uence 13: 45/57+ 99 D*.5M!.A/ 99 .57.

green !ussian dolls
black woollen clothes
white polar bears
6artici'ial adjectives also follo" central adjectives:
,e<uence 1A3: 4*.T+A/ 99 6A+T!4!6!A/ 99 D*.5M!.A/ 99 .57.

expensive carved !ussian dolls
heavy knitted woollen clothes
huge dancing polar bears
113 9 1A3 account for many se<uences of u' to three adjectives, in
"hich each adjective is a different ty'e# !n 'ractice it is rare to find
more than three attributive adjectives together, es'ecially if they are
all different ty'es# -o"ever, such a se<uence may occur:

certain expensive green !ussian dolls
-ere the se<uence is:
,e<uence 1B3: .5.90+ADA%/* 99 4*.T+A/ 99 45/57+ 99
D*.5M!.A/ 99 .57.
.on9gradable adjectives, in fact, are al"ays first in an adjective
se<uence# -ere are some more e&am'les:
,e<uence 1Ba3: .5.90+ADA%/* 99 4*.T+A/ 99 .57.

certain difficult 'roblems
,e<uence 1Bb3: .5.90+ADA%/* 99 6A+T!4!6!A/ 99 .57.

sheer unadulterated nonsense
,e<uence 1Bc3: .5.90+ADA%/* 99 D*.5M!.A/ 99 .57.

ma'or medical advances
,o far "e have loo(ed at se<uences in "hich each adjective is a
different ty'e# -o"ever, "e very often find adjectives of the same
ty'e occurring together:

big old buildings
beautiful little flo"ers
rich young 'eo'le
-ere all the adjectives are central adjectives, and in se<uences li(e
these it is much more difficult to determine the general 'rinci'les
governing their order# ,everal schemes have been 'ro'osed, though
none is com'letely satisfactory or com'rehensive#
The ordering of adjectives is influenced to some degree by the
'resence of 'remodification# !f one or more of the adjectives in a
se<uence is 'remodified, say, by very, then it generally comes at the
start of the se<uence#

The laryngogra'h 'rovides us "ith a very accurate non-invasive
physical measure of voice [,2A9JBE9DB]
!t "ould be unusual, 'erha's, to find very accurate else"here in this

KThe laryngogra'h 'rovides us "ith a non9invasive very accurate
'hysical measure of voice
KThe laryngogra'h 'rovides us "ith a non9invasive 'hysical very
accurate measure of voice
4onversely, adjective order restricts the degree to "hich attributive
adjectives may be 'remodified# 4onsider the follo"ing:

a wealthy young businessman
a very wealthy young businessman
;e cannot modify young in this e&am'le, "hile (ee'ing wealthy and
young in the same relative order:

2a wealthy very young businessman
.or can "e move young to the first 'osition and modify it there,
"hile retaining the same degree of acce'tability:

Ka very young wealthy businessman
Caracteristici generale
n limba englez, adjectivele sunt invariabile (nu i modific forma n funcie de gen i
numr!, nu se acord cu substantivul "e care l determin.
the bo% is clever
the bo%s are clever
the girl is clever
the girls are clever
&u" cum se observ, forma adjectivului nu se schimb.
'djectivul st$
de obicei, naintea substantivului$ a clever boy, a red flower, an interesting book, a
beautiful girl, a good teacher etc.
du" substantiv, n anumite e#"resii, structuri fi#e$ knight errant, Court Martial,
Poet Laureate etc.
du" verbele to be, to become, to feel, to look, to seem, to taste, to smell, to stay etc$
o &an is tall.
o (i)e feels nervous.
o *he% look anxious.
n funcie de numrul de silabe, adjectivele se m"art n dou categorii$
scurte (una sau dou silabe!$ small, great, big, dry, hot, fast etc.
lungi (mai mult de dou silabe!$ interesting, beautiful, comfortable, expensive etc.
Tipuri de adjective
o"inion adjectives (adjective de o"inie!$ descriu ceea ce credem des"re cineva sau
E#em"le$ beautiful, great, nice, expensive, cheap, ugly etc.
fact adjectives (adjective de fa"t!$ descriu ceea ce fiinele sau obiectele determinate
sunt cu adevrat
E#em"le$ short, large, long, green, round etc.
'djectivele de o"inie stau naintea adjectivelor de fa"t
Gradele de comparaie ale adjectivelor (Degrees of
'djectivul are urmtoarele grade de com"araie$
com"arativ de inferioritate (nu aa de...!
com"arativ de egalitate (tot aa de...!
com"arativ de su"erioritate (mai...!
su"erlativ (cel mai...!.
+om"arativul de inferioritate se formeaz astfel$
not as ... as (nu at,t de ... ca - nu la fel de ... ca!
not so ... as (nu at,t de ... ca - nu la fel de ... ca!
.e is not as tall as his brother.
+om"arativul de egalitate se formeaz astfel$
as ... as (tot at,t de ... ca - la fel de ... ca!
/he is as pretty as her mother.
Ca2ul adjectivelor scurte
!o"itiv Comparativ de superioritate #uperlativ
se formea"$ ad$ug%nd -er se formea"$ ad$ug%nd -est
small (mic! smaller (mai mic! the smallest (cel mai mic!
fast (ra"id! faster (mai ra"id! the fastest (cel mai ra"id!
great (mare,
greater (mai mare, mai
the greatest (cel mai mare, cel mai
'djectivele care se termin n 1% "recedat de o consoan schimb aceast liter n 1i c,nd
adaug 1er - 1est$
dr% 1 drier 1 the driest
laz% 1 lazier 1 the laziest
ha""% 1 ha""ier 1 the ha""iest
E#ist i e#ce"ii$
sh% 1 sh%er 1 the sh%est
'djectivele monosilabice care se termin ntr1o singur vocal 2 o singur consoan dubleaz
consoana final$
hot 1 hotter 1 the hottest
big 1 bigger 1 the biggest
Ca2ul adjectivelor lun!i
!o"itiv Comparativ de superioritate #uperlativ
se formea"$ cu ajutorul
adverbului more
se formea"$ cu ajutorul
adverbului most
more interesting (mai interesant!
the most interesting (cel mai
beautiful (frumos! more beautiful (mai frumos! the most beautiful (cel mai frumos!
expensive (scum"! more expensive (mai scum"! the most expensive (cel mai scum"!
Adjective nere!ulate 3Irre!ular Adjectives4
good 1 better 1 the bes
bad 1 3orse 1 the 3orst
little 1 less 1 the least
much - man% 1 more 1 the most
fe3 1 less 1 the least
far 1 farther 1 the farthest (n s"aiu!
far 1 further 1 the furthest (n tim"!
old 1 elder 1 the eldest (des"re membrii aceleiai familii$ his elder brother!
Modificatori 3Modifiers4
/e folosesc aa numiii modificatori (modifiers! "entru a "une n eviden sau a diminua
("entru a grada! sensul unui adjectiv. n ordinea gradrii$
not ... at all
a bit-fairl%
n limba vorbit sunt destul de frecvente a bit, a little, pretty i really.
&djectivul demonstrativ
'djectivul demonstrativ desemneaz fiine sau lucruri "e care le artm "reciz,nd n acelai
tim" a"ro"ierea sau de"rtarea n tim" sau s"aiu.
o this (acest, aceasta!
o that (acel, acea!
o these (aceti, aceste!
o those (acei, acele!
*his man is a doctor.
*hat girl is a "u"il.
*hese children are small.
*hose bo%s are "la%ing in the scool%ard.
&djectivul posesiv
'djectivul "osesiv desemneaz ra"ortul de "osesie dintre un "osesor i ceea ce acesta "osed$
o m% (meu, mea, mei, mele!
o %our (tu, ta, ti, tale!
o his (lui, su, sa, si, sale!
o her (ei, su, sa, si, sale!
o its (lui, ei, su, sa, si, sale!
o our (nostru, noastr, notri, noastre!
o %our (vostru, voastr, votri, voastre!
o their (lor!
*his is m% house.
It is his car.
*hat is our sho".
*hose are %our boo)s.
'rdinea adjectivelor
+,nd se succed mai multe adjective, acestea trebuie aezate ntr1o anumit ordine. 'ceasta
este cea mai folosit$
5. o"inion$ lovel%, nice, boring, ugl%
6. size-3eight$ huge, tin%, light, little, big
7. age$ ancient, old, ne3, %oung, brand1ne3
8. sha"e$ round, long, triangular, s9uare
:. colour$ gre%, blue, 3hite
;. origin$ German, /"anish, Gree)
<. material$ "lastic, leather, stone, 3ooden, concrete
=. "ur"ose$ student boo), can o"ener, 3al)ing boots
I sa3 some lovel%, old, gold earrings in a je3eller>s %esterda%.
&e obicei, nu se "ot folosi mai mult de trei adjective naintea unui substantiv. n limba
vorbit, se folosesc rar mai mult de dou adjective. &e e#em"lu, se "oate reformula astfel$
I bought an expensive, blac(, leather jac)et on /aturda%.
I bought a blac(, leather jac)et on /aturda%. It 3as reall% expensive.