Adjectives & adverbs: explanation and uses

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The difference between adjectives and adverbs in English is often difficult for Germans to understand. We give you an overview.

Test your knowledge of adverbs in English with this exercise:

Using adverbs

Adjectives: usage

1) Adjectives describe a noun or pronoun closer. The adjective stands directly in front of the noun to which it refers or it stands for a form of to be .

The new car.
The car is new.

Adjectives in English can be used both attributively ( the new car ) and predicatively ( the car is new ).

2) To compare states, persons or things, one uses the forms of increase ( comparative and superlative ).

Summary: Adjectives
1) Adjectives stand directly before nouns (attributive) or after a form of to be (predicative)
2) For comparison use comparative and superlative adjectives

Adverbs: education and use

1) Adverbs describe a verb, and an adjective in more detail.

He learns quickly.

2) Attention: Unlike German, adjectives and adverbs have different forms in English. The adverbs usually end in -ly .

Here are some examples:

adjective adverb
Angry angrily
Happy happily
Quick Quickly
terrible terribly
Nice nicely

Summary: Adverbs
1) Adverbs describe verbs closer
2) Adverbs are made with -ly

Adjectives and adverbs: Special features

1) If adjectives describe persons, they can also be used as nouns. For example , the title of a well-known western with Clint Eastwood is “The good, the bad and the ugly”.

2) Some adjectives, for example friendly , end in -ly. There are no adverbs for these adjectives, so you have to help with a description:

Example: Clint always behaves in a friendly way.

3) There are some verbs that do not have an adverb but, exceptionally, an adjective. These verbs are: look, feel, sound, smell and taste .

She feels lucky.
Tom looks good.
The wine tastes delicious.
That sounds nice.
Dinner smells great!

4) Some adverbs have special forms. This includes:

adjective adverb
Good well
Nearly nearly
Hard hardly

Attention: The word hardly exists, but it hardly means.

5) Some pitfalls also lurk in meaning differences between adjectives and adverbs.

For example:
They taste good. (They taste good.)
They taste well . (They taste good.) / They have a good sense of taste.)
John smells bad. (John stinks.)
John smells badly. (John can not smell good.)

6) And another special feature: in some cases, adverbs can also describe adjectives in more detail.

I’m a content person.

 here is adverb and describes the adjective content closer. Summary: Special features
1) Adjectives can also be used as nouns
2) adjectives ending in -ly , there are no adverbs
3) with look, feel, sound, smell and taste are adjectives
4) there are irregularly formed adverbs, eg well , fast and hard
5) Some verbs can be combined with adjectives and adverbs, but have different meanings
6) Adverbs can also describe adjectives in more