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Adjectives and adverbs


Adjectives are the words we use to describe people, things, ideas and concepts:

e.g. big, small, hot, cold, green, brilliant.   

Adjectives are therefore used to describe nouns:

e.g. the green door, a happy coincidence.

Possessive adjectives

Possessive adjectives e.g. my, your, his, her, our, their, are used to indicate ownership.  But beware!  In some languages, where the principle of agreement exists, there is no obvious distinction between 'his' book and 'her' book.


When we say that an adjective 'agrees' with the noun that it describes, we mean that if the noun is, for example, feminine and plural, then the adjective will also have to be in its own feminine plural form.


In English the adjective usually comes before the noun that it describes:

e.g. a successful outcome, an elaborate plan, an elegant office.

This is not the case in many other languages.  Certain adjectives may regularly follow the noun while others may precede it.  Others may even acquire different meanings depending on whether they are placed before or follow the noun.



Adverbs are words used to 'qualify' how, when or where something is done:

e.g. quickly; already; nearby.

Adverbs are used to qualify verbs:

e.g.  We spoke freely.

Adverbs are also used to qualify adjectives:

e.g.  She is very clever.

Adverbs are also used to qualify other adverbs:

e.g.  He speaks very quietly.