Lesson 4: Adjectives and Adverbs – The Modifying Partsof Speech
©MMPollard, June, 2013
Today,we tackle adjectives and adverbs. Both parts of speech describe other parts of speech, but not the SAME parts of speech. First up, adjectives.
Adjectives are words that describe nouns. Usually, adjectives appear BEFORE the nouns they describe. Sometimes, they follow linking verbs – yes – those linking verbs from Lessons 1 and 3.
How do you find adjectives in sentences? Ask these three questions.
Adjectives answer these questions:
Which one or whose?– these adjectives are articles: a, an, and the, demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these, those, and personal possessive pronouns: my, our, your, his, her, its, their. (Hey, you did learn something about pronouns in this workshop! Best to memorize them or keep this list handy.)
What kind?– a very broad question – examples – cute, quiet, difficult
Colors also answer this question.
How many?– a number, or word that implies an unspecific number, like several and many
Here are some examples of how I find adjectives in sentences:
My new pink IPod is so cute.
First, I find the nouns in the sentence – IPod
I ask, Which one or whose? – my
I ask, What kind of IPod? And look to the left of the nouns for answers: new, pink
Iask, How many? – no answers here
Second,I look for a linking verb in the sentence – is
Ilook to the right is for a word that describes IPod – cute.
Adjectives:my, new, pink, cute.
Iwant to check my answers. I fill in the blanks in this test sentence with thewords I think are adjectives. If the words make sense in the sentence, they are adjectives.
The______ person, place, or thing is _______.
The new place is new.
The pink thing is pink.
The cute person is cute.
You can’t test for possessive pronouns using this test sentence.
These sentences won’t win any sentence awards, but the words I think are adjectives do make sense here. They are adjectives!!
Thisdirty mat smells terrible.
Find noun -- mat
Which one or whose?
Adjective after linking verb?
The____ person, place, or thing is _____.
This (takes the place of the) place is this.
The dirty thing is dirty.
The terrible person is terrible.
This, dirty, and terrible are adjectives.
A third example:
The first person over that finish line is our new winner.
Find nouns – more than one here – person, line, winner
Ask Which person? – the, first
What kind of person – no answer
How many people? – no answer
Which line? that
Whatkind of line? finish
How many lines? no answer
Ask which winner/whose winner – our
Ask what kind of winner – new
Ash how many winners – no answer
Let’s say that I think winner is an adjective. After all, the word comes after the linking verb is. When I test it, I get this sentence:
The winner person is winner.
“The winner person” sounds totally wrong . . . because winner isn’t an adjective.
Let’s try another one.
Theseold sandals are her favorite shoes of all time.
Nouns: sandals, shoes, time
Which sandals? these
What kind of sandals? old
How many sandals? no answer
Which shoes/whose shoes? her
What kind of shoes? favorite
How many shoes? no answer
Which time? no answer
What kind of time? no answer
How many times? all
Very important to find all nouns first, and then look for adjectives.
Shoes is a noun that follows the linking verb is; shoes is not an adjective. Shoes has its own adjective – favorite.
Is labeling adjectives according to those three questions all that important? No, not if you’re 100% correct at finding adjectives. If you struggle, asking the three questions will help you find them in sentences. Honest!
Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.
How to find adverbs in sentences? Askthese four questions.
To find adverbs of manner, ask How is the verb done? These adverbs commonly end in –ly. Other adverbs of manner are fast, slow, hard, well.
To find adverbs of time, ask When or how often is the verb done? – Examples of adverbs of time are afternoon, midnight, tomorrow, yesterday and early.
To find adverbs of place, ask Where is the verb done? – down, up, here, far, ahead, and out.
To find adverbs of degree, ask How much or how little? This type of adverb commonly describe adjectives and other adverbs as well as verbs. Examples are very, almost, much, and too.
Here are some examples of how I find adverbs in sentences:
Children sometimes worked very long hours in factories in the 1800s.
First,find the main verb and other verb forms in the sentence.
Workedis the verb here.
Go through the list of questions: how, when, where, to what extent.
How did the children work very long hours? No answer
When did children work very long hours? – in the 1800s – a prepositional phrase–more on them tomorrow. Today we will keep our focus on single-word adverbs.
When did children work very long hours? Sometimes
Where did children work very long hours? In factories – but not a single-word adverb–no other answer
How much or how little did children work very long hours? No answer
Because adverbs modify adjectives, you also have to find the adjectives in the sentence.
Ask which one, what kind, and how many for each noun in the sentence.
Hours–what kind of hours – long is an adjective.
AskHow much or how little were these hours long? Very is an adverb that describes long.
The conditions for workers were really unsafe there.
First, find the verb – were – linking verb
Ask how, when, where, and how much or how little conditions were really unsafe.
Find adjectives – you have a linking verb here, so look for an adjective afterwere.– unsafe describes conditions.
How much or how little were these conditions unsafe? Really unsafe. Really describes the adjective unsafe.
Adverbs: really, there
One more example:
Many reformers determinedly and repeatedly informed the public of the extremely horrible conditions in factories.
Find the verb first – informed
Ask How did reformers inform the public? – Determinedly
Ask When (how often) did reformers inform the public? Repeatedly
Ask Where did reformers inform the public? No answer
Find adjectives – many describes reformers, horrible describes conditions
Ask to how much or how little many and horrible
Horrible–extremely -- adverb
Adverbs:determinedly, repeatedly, extremely
Another big issue is adjective and adverb comparison:
ADJ.EX: Mary chose the larger handbag from the pile. Larger describes handbag. Larger is … larger than large, but not as large as largest.
ADV.EX: Mary grabbed that handbag the quickest of all the shoppers. Mary wasn't just quick or quicker. She was the quickest.
Most adjectives and adverbs have three degrees:
Positive degree –cute, fast, safe, handsome, far, brightly – no comparison is implied. Freddy is a handsome guy.
George runs fast.
Comparative degree –comparison betweentwo things or two actions– cuter, faster, safer, more handsome, farther, more brightly
Freddy is more handsome than George. Than is a clue to use comparative.
George runs faster than Freddy.
Superlative degree –comparison of three or more things or actions – cutest, fastest, safest, most handsome, farthest, most brightly
Freddy is the most handsome guy in class.
George runs the fastest of all boys in class.
We assume there are at least two other boys besides Freddy or George in class. Of all + plural noun is a clue to use superlative.
The examples and sentences show the basics for forming comparisons. When comparingtwo things, add -er to one-syllable adjectives and some two-syllable adjectives, including those ending in -y. For other two-syllable adjectives andlonger, add more.
Whencomparing three or more things, add -est to one-syllable words and sometwo-syllable words, including those ending in -y. For other two-syllable wordsand longer, add most.
Add-eror -est to most one-syllable adverbs, but longer adverbs and those ending in–ly use more and most.
Some adjectives have irregular comparisons.
Positive degree: good, bad, many, little
Comparative degree: better, worse, more, less
Superlative degree: best, worst, most, least
Some adverbs have irregular comparisons, also.
Positive degree: well, badly
Comparative degree: better, worse
Superlative degree: best, worst
***Worser isn’t a word anyone should use.
Do not use double comparisons, meaning, don’t use -er and more or -est and most with the same word.
Absolute concepts: Some words cannot becompared, such as dead, perfect, unique, straight, round, eternal, and pregnant. You can't be more dead than dead or more pregnant than pregnant. Either you are dead or pregnant, or you aren’t.
Now you try it. This homework is due Friday, midnight, PDT. Post results on Lesson 4 homework and questions thread.
Got to these sites:
Exercise1: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/quizzes/adjectives_quiz2.htm#. Change the directions by looking for adjectives and NOT participial phrases inthe paragraph. Click on the answer button to grade yourself. Your answers should be those in fuchsia, NOT red. Post correct over 19.
http://www.esldesk.com/grammar/practice/identify-adverb--complete this quiz on identifying adverbs only. For more practice, you may continue with the next quiz, but you don’t have to. Post correct over 7. If you are stumped, click on every word until you find the adverb you have missed.
Go to http://a4esl.org/q/f/z/zz66fck.htm and complete the exercise on adjective and adverb comparison. Type your answer. You won’t see a cursor to begin. Spelling counts here. If you complete the first 15 with no errors, you may stop. If not, continue. Number possible – either 15 or 35.
If you have any questions, please e-mail me.
Any questions? Leave them on Lesson 4 homework and question thread.