Adjectives and Adverbs

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify adjectives and adverbs in a reading.
  • Use adjectives and adverbs to create more detailed sentences.

AdjectivesWords that modify and describe a noun. Examples: old, tall, leafy. and adverbsWords that modify and describe a verb, adjective, or other adverb. Examples: quickly, awkwardly, lovingly. are an essential part of writing. They give details to your writing that cannot be accomplished with nounsA part of speech that refers to a person, place, or thing. Examples include: swimmer, lake, sunscreen. and verbsA part of speech that refers to what is happening, the action, what the subject is doing, or how it is “being.” Examples include: sleep, to be, think. alone. Filling your writing with descriptive adjectives and adverbs can help readers create a mental image of what you are trying to communicate. It also makes your writing more enjoyable to read. In this lesson, you will learn how to identify adjectives and adverbs in a readingA piece of writing to be read. A reading can either be a full work (i.e., a book) or partial (i.e., a passage). as well as use them to create more detailed and interesting sentencesA group of words, phrases, or clauses that expresses a complete thought. A complete sentence has these characteristics: a capitalized first word, a subject and a predicate, and end punctuation, such as a period (.), question mark (?), or exclamation mark (!)..


Adjectives are words that modifyTo change or specify the meaning of another word, usually the subject or the verb. Example: The red ball quickly bounced over the fence. The adjective red modifies the subject, the ball. Also, the adverb quickly modifies the verb bounced. and describe a noun, which is a person, place, or thing in a sentence. They almost always appear before the noun in a sentence. For example, in "the winding road," winding is the adjective describing the noun road. Here, you can see that the adjective provides a much better description, or image, of what the road looks like.


Adverbs are words that modify and describe a verb, an adjective, or another adverb in a sentence. They tell when, where, why, or in what condition something is happening or happened.

Many adverbs end in –ly, which is how people often learn to identify them, including slowly, happily, and quickly. Keep in mind that some –ly words are adjectives and some adverbs do not end with –ly.

To determine whether any word is working as an adjective or an adverb, you should ask yourself if the word is describing a noun; if so, the word is an adjective. If not, ask yourself if it is describing a verb, adjective, or adverb. If so, it is an adverb.

For example, consider the word short.

The short man was the loudest.

Is the word describing a noun or a verb? It is describing a noun: man. This makes the word short an adjective.

The man fell short of his goal.

Is the word describing a noun or a verb, adjective, or adverb? It is describing a verb: fell. This makes the word short in this sentence an adverb.