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English Language > English Grammar > Adjectives and Adverbs
English Grammar

Adjectives and Adverbs

When preparing for competitive banking exams a lot of focus must be given to adjectives and adverbs. These two are very important parts of speech. Let us learn about adjectives and adverbs and their correct use in English grammar.

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Adjectives

An adjective is any word that describes a noun. It gives us more information about the subject of our sentence, which is the noun. They could be describing the quality, quantity, state, shape etc of the noun. Some examples of an adjective are big, few, beautiful, scary, tasty etc.

So an adjective will modify a noun (describe) for the benefit of the reader. Take for example the following instance: “Alex has a dog”. This sentence will give you the information that Alex has a dog. But if we add the appropriate adjectives, the sentence will be “Alex has a beautiful, brown, furry dog”. Now in this instance, you have far more information about the dog. It is easy to spot the adjectives (beautiful, brown and furry) as they are directly before the noun.

Adverbs

Now adverbs describe verbs and adjectives and also other adverbs. They modify the verbs and help us get more information about the verb or the noun by modifying the adjective. Let us see some examples of this,

  • She was hurt badly (describes the verb hurt)
  • The painting was very beautiful.  (describes the adjective beautiful)
  • He ate his food too quickly and chocked on a morsel. (describes the other adverb quickly)

Now it is very easy to spot an adverb. Usually the end with “-ly”. But there are words where the adjective and the adverb form of the word is same. Like for example ‘fast’. It can be both an adjective or an adverb.

Adjectives vs Adverbs

Adjectives and Adverbs

(Source: analyticalgrammar.com)

There are many ways an adjective and an adverb relate to each other. One is obviously that we use adverbs to describe adjectives in many cases. Another relation is that people often use an adverb for linking verbs instead of the adjective.

A linking verb is a verb which relates to feelings and other such intangible things. It describes a sensory experience (like feeling or taste or smelling).  The adjectives we use for such verbs are known as predicate adjectives. And confusing the need of an adverb instead of a predicate adjective is a common mistake. Let us take a look at an example,

  • “The room smells badly”. Now, this may seem like a correct sentence but it is not.
  • The verb smell here is a linking verb, so we will use a predicate adjective and not the adverb ‘badly’
  • So the correct sentence will be “The room smells bad”.

Solved Examples

Q: There was no doubt (1) in his mind that his project (2) was the most best (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: The correct option is C. Here the adjective ‘best’ (good, better, best) is already a superlative. It does not need ‘most’ as an added superlative to form a compound adjective. So the correct sentence will be “There was no doubt in his mind that his project was the best.”

Q: Rahul’s mother was unhappy (1), his marks were lowest (2) than the class average (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: The answer is B. Here Rahul’s marks were not the lowest in the class, but they were less than the class average marks. So the degree of comparison should be the comparative degree. The adjective ‘lower’ would be the correct form. The correct sentence will be “Rahul’s mother was unhappy, his marks were lower than the class average”.

Q: Australia is (1) a very unique (2) country (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: The correct option is B. There are some words that do not have degrees of comparison. By their very meaning, they convey they are superlative. Some such words are unique, universal, entire, ideal etc. So the phrase ‘very unique’ or ‘most ideal’ etc are wrong. The correct sentence will be “Australia is a unique country”.

Q: The students felt sadly (1) that their teacher (2) was leaving (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: The answer is A. The word felt will imply that it is a linking verb, dealing with sensory things. So we know that instead of using an adverb (sadly in this case) we must use an adjective. So the correct sentence will be “The students felt sad that their teacher was leaving”.

Practice Questions

Q: The surgeon (1) efficiency stitched (2) up the wound (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: B (correct adverb form is “efficiently”)

Q: He could only eat (1) the fruits as everything (2) else contained eggs and he was allergic (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: A (could eat only; adverb will follow the verb)

Q: Don’t ride your bicycle (1) so dangerous (2) in the middle of the road (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Sentence is correct

Ans: B (dangerously is the correct adverb)

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