Adjective versus Adverb

May 22, 2021

It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between adjectives and adverbs in a sentence. You must ask yourself what word the modifier is modifying. If the modified word is a noun, the modifier is an adjective. If the modified word is a verb, adjective, or adverb, the modifier is an adverb.

To complete a sentence correctly, you need to determine whether the sentence needs an adjective or an adverb.

Cheetahs are speedy animals. (adjective modifying animal)
Cheetahs run speedily. (adverb modifying the verb run)

One area of confusion can be when an adjective is modifying a noun that is acting as an adjective.

That is my brother. (My is an adjective modifying the noun brother.)
My brother’s bike is broken. (My is still an adjective modifying the noun brother, but now brother is a possessive noun acting as an adjective modifying bike.)

Many people unintentionally use adjectives to describe verbs. Make sure in your writing to use adjectives to modify nouns and pronouns and adverbs to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

The boys walked slow toward their classroom. (incorrect)
The boys walked slowly toward their classroom. (correct)