In the English grammar, there are two sets of describing words, adjectives and adverbs. So how do you differentiate one from the other? If both groups of words are used to define other terms, then why must they be segregated into two classes? If you want to know the answers to these questions, then this is the article for you. Refresh your memory by reading on and you will surely understand the difference between adjectives and adverbs, and why it is important to tell them apart.

As it was previously mentioned, adjectives and adverbs are both describing words in the English grammar. What each set describes, however, is what tells these two groups apart. Adjectives refer to words that describe people, places, events, etc., whether they may be nouns or pronouns. On the other hand, adverbs describe every other part of speech that isn’t a noun or a pronoun. This means, adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives, and even other adverbs as well. To find out if a word is an adjective or an adverb, ask the question how, when, or where. If the answer to any of these is the word in question, then the latter is an adverb.

Typically, words ending with the suffix “-ly” are adverbs. “He answered quickly.” and “She ate quietly.” are illustrations of this. However, when it comes to some adverbs that modify verbs that indicate the sense of feeling, the sense of sight, the sense of smell, and the sense of taste; asking how does not resolve whether or not the adverb should have “-ly” at its end. Instead, ask whether or not the verb being modified is in its active voice, only then should one put “-ly” at the end of the adverb. “The flowers look pretty.” demonstrates a verb in its passive voice, thus the adverb pretty does not need to have the suffix “-ly”. Conversely, “He feels horribly about the accident.” shows an active action word, thus “-ly” is attached to the end of the adverb modifying it. On another note, when using adverbs to show contrast, on no account should the suffix “-ly” be removed. Examples would be “She danced more gracefully than her competition.” and “Please talk more slowly than you did earlier.”

Another English grammar rule to keep in mind is that the word “well” is and adverb, but the word “good” is an adjective. “That’s a good start.” states that the start was good, while “That started well.” illustrates how the start went. However, never use good when referring to health. “She feels well enough to go back to work.” is correct, while “He feels good enough to go back to school.” is wrong.

Additionally, there are also some pronouns that can stand as adjectives, these are the words “this”, “that”, “these”, and “those”. The four mentioned acts as pronouns when they replace nouns, but when they introduce proper names, they are adjectives. “This bag was given by my mother.” shows the word “this” as an adjective because it describes the bag being talked about.

It is easy to differentiate adjectives from adverbs. Just look at what part of speech is being described by the word in question and you’re good to go. Remember this simple English grammar rule and you’ll never go wrong.

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