Los Angeles Valley College



Adjectives and adverbs modify, limit, or describe other words. Adjectives describe or modify nouns or pronouns. Adverbs describe or modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.

The green grass is tall. (Here, green describes the noun grass.)
Daniel dances gracefully. (Gracefully describes the verb dances. How does Daniel dance? He dances gracefully.)


Many adjectives can be changed into adverbs by adding an ly ending. The chart below shows some examples.

Adjectives Adverbs
normal normally
awful awfully
quick quickly
intense intensely
bad badly
poor poorly
real really


A normal winter in Los Angeles is quick and not very intense.
(All three of these adjectives modify the noun "winter.")


She normally moves quickly.
(The adverbs "normally" and "quickly" modify the verb "moves.")

It was an intensely boring game.
(The adverb "intensely" modifies the adjective "boring.")

The Queen whispered very softly.
(The adverb "very" modifies the adverb "softly.")
image; pen & paperExercise:
Circle the correct adjective or adverb in parentheses. Remember that adjectives modify nouns or pronouns; adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.

1. Have you ever seen (real, really) emeralds?
2. Arpine always dresses (neat, neatly).
3. Jose, a college student, is a (high, highly) gifted person.
4. Are you (sure, surely) this train stops in Santa Barbara?
5. She will (glad, gladly) help you with your homework.
6. Sarah (haste, hastily) wrote the essay, leaving out the thesis.

Most adjectives and adverbs have three forms: positive, comparative, and superlative. The positive form is the form that appears in the dictionary.
The living room is very large.

The comparative of an adjective or adverb compares two persons or things, indicating a more or less scenario.
Nancy is more studious than Brian.

The superlative of an adjective or adverb compares three or more persons or things, indicating a most or least situation.
Homer is the laziest of the three brothers

. graaphic:half a orange captioned tasty, juicy to illustrate adjective

Adjective Comparative Superlative
faster fastest
beautiful more beautiful most beautiful
happy happier happiest
good better best
bad worse worst
well better best

image; pen & paperExercise:
Write the comparative or the superlative form of the words in parentheses.
Remember: Use the comparative to compare two items, the superlative to compare more than two. Use er or est for one-syllable words; use more or worst for words of more than one syllable.

1. The music is ________________ (loud) than we thought it would be.

2. Please read your lines again, _________________ (slowly) this time.

3. She is the ________________ (young) sister of the three.

4. You read that novel______________ (quickly) than last time.

5. Today is ___________________ (warm) than yesterday.


image; pen & paperExercise:
Proofread the following paragraph for adjective and adverb errors. Correct errors by writing above the lines.

Julia Morgan, Architect

     (1) Julia Morgan was one of San FranciscoÕs most finest architects, as well as the first woman licensed as an architect in California. (2) In 1902, Morgan became the first woman to finish successful the program in architecture at the School of Fine Arts in Paris. (3) Returning to San Francisco, she opened her own office and hired and trained a very talented staff that eventually grew to thirty-five full-time architects. (4) Her first major commission was to reconstruct the Fairmont Hotel, one of the cityÕs bestest-known sites, which had been damaged bad in the 1906 earthquake (Fawcett 415).


This handout is based on the following book:

Fawcett, Susan and Alvin Sandberg.  Evergreen with Readings: A Guide to Writing. 4th ed.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992.  326-9.


For further reference, see the following book:

Raimes, Ann.  How English Works: A Grammar handbook with Readings.  New York: St. MartinÕs Press, 1990.  172-5.


The above text is available in The Writing Center.



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