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Adjectives V/S Adverbs

The basic error is to use incorrectly adjectives or adverbs in the place of the other.


This error is resulted from the lack of understanding of what is being modified. When the sentence contains a be form (is, am, are, was, were, be, or been), most of the students use the adjective correctly without any problem. But, if the sentence contains a linking verb, they may use adverbs incorrectly in the place of required adjectives.


List of linking verbs: appear, feel, look, prove, seem, smell, sound, taste, become, fall, get, go, grow, keep, remain, stay, make and turn.


Study the following examples in which the linking verbs are underlined.

  Some of the employees grew impatiently because of the delaying tactics of the management.

 Some of the employees grew impatient because of the delaying tactics of the management.

In the above sentence, the word impatient modifies the noun employees, not the verb grew. Thus, the sentence needs an adverb.

 Despite a battery of questions from the reporters, the minister concerned remained calmly and composedly.

 Despite a battery of questions from the reporters, the minister concerned remained calm and composed.


In the above sentences, if we substitute a be form in the places of linking verbs, the sentences still remain logical.

  • Some of the employees were impatient because of the delaying tactics of the management.
  • Despite a battery of questions from the reporters, the minister concerned was calm and composed.

This is how you can verify whether the adjective or adverb is correct in the given situation.


However, when both adjectives and adverbs are logically possible, the context of the sentence decides what is to be used. The guiding principle is simple: if the sentence describes the noun, you should use adjective and if the sentence is logically describing the action, you should use adverbs.

Study the following examples.

 She turned so violently that two of us were not able to control her. (In the context of this sentence, it is the person who was violent. Thus, adverb violently is wrongly used.)

She turned so violent that two of us were not able to control her.

 She turned so violent that all the books fell down from her lap. (In this context, it is the action which is violent, and thus, adjective violent is wrongly used.

 She turned so violently that all the books fell down from her lap.
 

Adjectives v/s adverbs
Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the words given in the brackets.

  1. The soup smelled quite --------- (deliciously/delicious) and tempted most of the diners a lot.
  2. The cook smelled the soup ----------- (cautiously/cautious) for any trace of rancid smell.
  3. The plan has proved ---------- (counterproductive/counterproductively) even after the precautions.
  4. The scientist felt -------- (badly/bad) for the incongruity of her hypotheses
  5. The play’s -------- (seeming/seemingly) lighthearted treatment of the topic offended some art lovers.
  6. A -------- (clever/cleverly) manipulated experiment in psychology reveals a lot about the subject.
  7. Most of modern constitutions guarantee freedom of expression, an -------- (extreme/extremely) important right for the success of democracy.
  8. A patient using modern techniques is likely to recover ------- (quicker/more quickly) than one using traditional techniques of treatment.
  9. The author provided a -------, (pitiless/pitilessly) candid description of the corruption among the politicians.
  10. The author provided a -------- (pitilessly/pitiless) candid description of the corruption among the politicians.

 Keys

  1. Delicious: the word to be described is the noun the soup, the adjective is be used.
  2. Cautiously: the context indicates that the verb is to be described. Thus, adverb is correct.
  3. Counterproductive: the verb prove requires an adjective, not an adverb.
  4. Bad: the word required in the blank is to describe the subject. Thus, bad is the word required.
  5. Seemingly: the word is is to modify adjective lighthearted. Thus, an adverb is needed.
  6. Cleverly: the modifier should logically modify the adjective manipulated and thus, adverb is needed. We can understand this implication by the absence of comma after clever.
  7. Extremely: the word required is to modify the adjective important, thus, an adverb is needed in the sentence. This need can be understood by the absence of comma after the blank.
  8. More quickly: as the adverb is to modify action (to recover), an adverb is required.
  9. Pitiless: by the presence of comma after the blank, we can infer that the noun is to be modified. Thus, an adjective is required.
  10. Pitilessly: the word is to describe the following adjective candid and thus, needs to be an adverb. We can understand this implication by the absence of comma after the blank.





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