Adjectives & adverbs: explanation and uses

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