Adjectives and adverbs don't form the core of sentences as nouns and verbs do, but they give sentences texture and precision. Without adjectives and adverbs, you wouldn't know what color the curtains were, how the man crawled, when they came, etc. Use adjectives and adverbs when they contribute directly to what you are saying. For example, in “He smiled sadly,” you know his smile is not like the usual happy smile. Sadly performs a function. On the other hand, in “He screamed loudly,” does the adverb add anything to the verb? No, because there is no such thing as a soft scream. Here, loudly is unnecessary. Avoid using adjectives and adverbs that don't add anything or that state the obvious.
Recognizing adjectives and adverbs
Adverbs often end in ‐1y ( remarkably, quickly, happily, slowly), but not always ( here, there, fast, late, hard). And some adjectives end in ‐1y (a lively child, friendly dog , hilly area). To decide whether a word is an adjective or an adverb, you should look at what part of speech the word modifies, not the word itself: Adjectives will always modify nouns and pronouns, while adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Review these examples.
In the following example, old and red are adjectives modifying the noun barn.
In the next sentence, very is an adverb modifying the adjective old, not the noun barn.
Hard is an adverb modifying the verb worked.
Here, hard is an adjective modifying the noun work.
Using adjectives after linking verbs
It's natural to associate adverbs rather than adjectives with verbs because adverbs modify verbs. But with linking verbs such as be, become, smell, taste, seem, and look, use adjectives, not adverbs.
Notice the use of adjectives or adverbs in the following sentences, depending on whether a verb is functioning as a linking verb or an action verb.
In the following example, grow is an action verb meaning to develop or increase in size, and its modifier should be an adverb ( beautifully).
Here, grow is a linking verb meaning to become, so the complement should be an adjective ( beautiful).
In the next example, smells is a linking verb and takes an adjective, meaning the dog's odor is unpleasant.
Here, smells is an action verb and takes an adverb modifier, meaning something is wrong with the dog's sense of smell.
Problem adjectives and adverbs
Some adjectives and adverbs seem to be interchangeable but are not. You will need to remember a few rules to distinguish how they are used.
Good, well. Good is always an adjective: good bread; good vibrations; dinner was good. Don't use good as an adverb. Use well, an adverb meaning to perform capably.
She sings well
not She sings good.
He listens well.
not He listens good.
Some confusion arises between good
can also be used as an adjective meaning feeling in good health
To see the distinction between well used as an adjective and good used as an adjective, look at the following sentences, both with the linking verb looked.
Bad, badly. Bad is an adjective and badly is an adverb. They are often used incorrectly for each other.
Here, feel is a linking verb and should be followed by an adjective, not an adverb. In the next example, badly is an adverb describing how the team played.
In the following sentence, the adjective bad follows a linking verb, so the appearance of the faucet is being discussed.
When the adverb badly follows the action verb, it explains how seriously the faucet leaked.
Most, almost. Most is an adjective meaning the greatest in number, amount.
But most is an adverb when it is used to form the superlative of an adjective.
Almost is always an adverb. It means nearly. Almost modifies the adjectives every and all. Most cannot be used to modify every and all.