It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between adjectives and adverbs in a sentence. You must ask yourself what word the modifier is modifying. If the modified word is a noun, the modifier is an adjective. If the modified word is a verb, adjective, or adverb, the modifier is an adverb.
To complete a sentence correctly, you need to determine whether the sentence needs an adjective or an adverb.
Cheetahs are speedy animals. (adjective modifying animal)
Cheetahs run speedily. (adverb modifying the verb run)
One area of confusion can be when an adjective is modifying a noun that is acting as an adjective.
That is my brother. (My is an adjective modifying the noun brother.) My brother's bike is broken. (My is still an adjective modifying the noun brother, but now brother is a possessive noun acting as an adjective modifying bike.)
Many people unintentionally use adjectives to describe verbs. Make sure in your writing to use adjectives to modify nouns and pronouns and adverbs to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.
The boys walked slow toward their classroom. (incorrect)
The boys walked slowly toward their classroom. (correct)
Practice What You've Learned
Decide whether the bold-faced modifier is an adjective or an adverb.
Those stylish glasses look good on you. adjective/adverb
It looks like you have been working hard. adjective/adverb
Your short haircut looks cute. adjective/adverb
The kids were playing loudly in the stairwell. adjective/adverb
The two papers on my desk don't have names on them. adjective/adverb
All the college-bound students in this class must take the placement exam. adjective/adverb
Those cookies smell incredibly delicious. adjective/adverb
You need to work quickly in order to finish on time. adjective/adverb
That truck holds an amazing amount of stuff. adjective/adverb
Our friends love ice cream. adjective/adverb
Choose the correct word to complete the sentence.
That pile of books looksawkward/awkwardlybalanced.
That breed of dog has verypowerful/powerfullyjaws.
Quentin gave the teacher ablank/blanklylook when she asked him the question.
If you take that route, you will get there morequick/quickly.
That cat is afrequent/frequentlyvisitor in our backyard.
Hank waseasy/easilyable to reach the boxes on the high shelf.
After dropping her lunch tray, Pam looked aroundsheepish/sheepishly.
Thesimple/simplydesign of the dress flattered all the members of the choir.
The restaurant's ownergracious/graciouslyinvited us in for a sample of his food.
My great-aunt has always been verygenerous/generouslyon our birthdays.