KISS Grammar Workbooks

 
Adjectives and Adverbs

      Adjectives and adverbs describe (modify the meaning of) other words in a sentence. Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns. Therefore:

A word (or construction) that describes a noun or pronoun functions as (and therefore is) an adjective.
Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Therefore:
A word (or construction) that describes a verb, an adjective, or another adverb functions as (and therefore is) an adverb.

    "A," "an," and "the" always function as adjectives. "A" and "an" indicate that the word modified refers to anything named by the noun or to something that is not specifically known to the person spoken to.
     For example, "A man never cries," means that any man never cries. In "A man was walking down the road," the speaker or writer implies that the person hearing or reading does not know the identity of the man. On the other hand, "The man was walking down the road," means that the people hearing or reading already know which man is being talked or written about.



     In order to tell if a word is an adjective or an adverb, you must first look at the word in the context of a sentence. Thus, in the sentence

The little swan proudly blew his trumpet.

"The" and "little" are adjectives because they describe the noun "swan." "Proudly" describes how he "blew." Since "blew" is a verb, "proudly" is an adverb. Similarly, "his" describes the noun "trumpet," so "his" is an adjective.