Adjective or Adverb in English Grammar

Introduction

Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns, whereas, adverbs describe verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. Understanding the difference between adjectives and adverbs in English grammar can be tricky, which is why we have listed the main differences in usage below, along with some tricky adverbs.

Learn the difference between adverbs and adjectives in English grammar with Lingolia’s simple grammar rules and explanations. In the exercises, you can test yourself.

Example

Orla runs as fast as Lucy, but they are not as fast as Theresa.

While Orla and Lucy are running along happily, Theresa is happy that she can to overtake them.

They feel good when they run.

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Adjective or Adverb

Adjectives

Adjectives describe nouns (how someone or something is?)

Example:
Theresa is happy that she can overtake them.

How is Theresa? – happy

We also use adjectives after the following verbs: be, become, get, grow, keep, remain, seem, sound, stay, turn.

Example:
They are not as quick as Theresa.
They feel good when they run.

Adverbs

Adverbs describe adjectives, verbs or other adverbs. (How does someone do something? How good/bad/… is someone/something?)

Example:
Orla runs as fast as Lucy.
Orla and Lucy are running along happily.

How does Orla run? – as fast as Lucy
How do Orla and Lucy run? – happily

Adjective and Adverb with the Same Form

Some words have the same form for the adverb as for the adjective. The most important of these are:

daily, enough, early, far, fast, hourly, little, long, low, monthly, much, straight, weekly, yearly.

Example:
a daily run → They go running daily.

Two Adverbs

Some adjectives can be turned into two different adverbs. The adverb can either have the same form as the adjective, or it can have -ly added to the end. The meaning of the adverb changes correspondingly. If we want to use the adverb with its original meaning, we have to take the adjective form.

AdjectiveAdverb (same form as adjective)
Adverb (-ly form)

hard

Life is hard.

hard

She works hard.

hardly

She hardly ever works.

late

Don’t be late.

late

He is working late today.

lately

Have you seen her lately?

most

Most people like ice-cream.

most

Wich kind of ice-cream do you like most?

mostly

It is mostly snowy in winter.

near

He is a near relative.

near

Do you live somewhere near?

nearly

He nearly fell off his chair.

pretty

She has a pretty face.

pretty

She is pretty nervous.

prettily

She sings prettily.

short

He has got short hair.

short

We had to cut our holiday short.

shortly

I will be with you shortly.