Grammar | Adjectives and Adverbs

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Learn about the difference between adjectives and adverbs in this new Grammar episode from English Plus Podcast.

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I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.


Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today, we’re going to talk about adjectives and adverbs. So today obviously is a grammar episode. We will talk about adjectives and adverbs the differences between these two and when we can properly use them in our English sentences. So without further ado, let’s start talking about adjectives and adverbs.

[00:00:29] Now, let’s start with these two examples. Our holiday was too short. The time passed very quickly. Two people were seriously injured in the accident. Here. If you notice quickly time bast very quickly, or two people were seriously injured quickly and seriously are adverbs. Now many adverbs are adjectives plus L Y so it’s quick plus L Y quickly serious plus L Y seriously, like many others, of course, like careful, carefully, bad, badly, heavy, heavily, terrible, terribly.

[00:01:07] But not all words ending in L Y R adverbs, some adjectives end in L Y two, for example, friendly, elderly, lonely, and lovely. For example, we say it it’s a lovely day and here lovely is an adjective. It’s not an adverb. But now let’s get down to business and compare these two together, adjectives and adverbs.

[00:01:28] When do we use adjectives? And when do we use adverbs? Since they’re very close to each other? Sometimes the difference is just an L Y just two letters. So when do we use this? And when do we use that? When do we use an adjective? When do we use an adverb? Let’s put these two examples next to each other.

[00:01:43] Sam is a careful driver. Careful. That’s an adjective. Sam is a careful driver or Sam drove carefully along the narrow road. Now here in the first example, it’s wrong to say, Sam is a carefully driver, it’s wrong to use an adverb. And in the second example, it’s wrong to use an adjective. We can say Sam drove careful along the narrow road.

[00:02:08] So why is it that we use adjectives in one place and adverbs and other places? The thing is we have to be careful, but why we’re using this word? What are we trying to describe? If we are describing a noun in this case driver, we said, Sam is a careful driver. Careful is used to describe the noun to describe the driver, maybe somebody or something.

[00:02:32] It doesn’t matter. It’s not just for people. It can be for things as well. But the point is I am describing, and now I am telling you about this. Now I can say Sam is a driver period. Yeah, that’s good. Of course. That’s a complete sentence. It is understood. It is correct. But I want to tell you more about the snout.

[00:02:50] I want to tell you more about this word that is driver and noun. If I want to describe this noun, I have to use an adjective. We use adjectives to describe noun. So we say, Sam is a careful driver. But in the second example, I am not actually describing Sam or the driver. I said, Sam drove carefully along the narrow road.

[00:03:13] So actually I’m not telling you about Sam, I’m telling you about the verb about how he drives, about how somebody does something or how something happens, because remember it’s not just for people, it can be for people or things. So, if you want to describe a noun, you use an adjective. If you want to describe the way something happens or how somebody does something like you’re describing the verb, describing how this thing is happening, you use an adverb.

[00:03:41] Let me give you another example. We didn’t go out because of the heavy rain, heavy rain heavy is an adjective. And what am I describing here? I’m describing rain, which is something of course, but it is a noun. I am describing a noun. I use an adjective. We didn’t go out because of the heavy rain. But look, at this example, we didn’t go out because it was raining heavily.

[00:04:05] So I am not describing the rain anymore. And maybe the general meaning is like that, but I am telling you how it was raining. I’m describing the verb. So here I have to use an adverb. It was raining heavily, not, it was raining heavy. That would be a mistake. All right. So remember adjectives. We use it to describe nouns, whether this now refers to a person or a thing, but we use adverbs to describe verbs to describe the way something happens or how somebody does something.

[00:04:36] So you can say, for example, she speaks perfect English and perfect. Here is an adjective describing English, which is a noun. She speaks perfect English, but if you say she speaks English perfectly, I can’t say perfect anymore because here perfectly is not describing English anymore. It is describing the way she speaks English.

[00:04:56] So the way she speaks English, that’s an adverb. Now with that being said, I have to tell you that we do use some adjectives after some verbs, especially verb to be. And also other verbs. We call them linking verbs, by the way, like, look, feel, sound, seem, et cetera. So, for example, we say, please be quiet. Now B is a verb, right?

[00:05:18] Quiet comes after the verb. So it is supposed to be describing the verb. So maybe I’m should use an adverb here, IES in general. That’s the case, but not after verb to be, look, feel, or sound. If you say, please speak quietly. Yeah, here we use an adverb because I use quietly after speak. Okay. But not after B, please be quiet.

[00:05:42] We use an adjective after these verbs. Another example, my exam results were really bad. My exam results were, that’s where I have to be bad. So here after verb that we, we use an adjective. But what if I say I did really badly in the exam here I am describing the verb. Do I did really badly in the exam? So here I use an adverb.

[00:06:06] Let me give you another example with look this time. Why do you always look so serious? Look so serious after look, we can use an adjective. Look so serious, but if I say, why do you never take me seriously, take here, take as another verb. We use an adverb with it. The final example here, I feel happy after field, you use an adjective, you don’t use an adverb, but V say for example, the children were playing and you want to describe the way they were playing here.

[00:06:36] Play, you use an adverb. You say the children were playing happily. You have to remember, again, adjectives we use to describe nouns adverbs. We use to describe verbs, but that’s not everything about adverbs. We also use adverbs to describe adjectives or other adverbs. For example, we can say reasonably cheap or terribly, sorry.

[00:06:58] Now here cheap is an adjective and I’m describing how cheap it is. It’s reasonably cheap. Sorry, how, sorry are you? I’m terribly, sorry. Terribly terribly. Here’s an adverb. I’m using it to describe the adjective, sorry. Or even adverbs. Describe other adverbs, like incredibly quickly, incredibly quickly, quickly is an adverb on its own.

[00:07:21] But then I want to tell you how quickly it happened. And I am telling you here, it happened incredibly quickly. So. Here we can use adverbs, not only describe verbs, we can use adverts to describe adjectives or other adverbs. Let me give you some examples. It’s a reasonably cheap restaurant and the food is extremely good.

[00:07:41] So a reasonably cheap, extremely good. Now he reasonably is an adverb describing cheap, which is an adjective extremely as an adverb describing good, which is an adjective. I’m terribly. Sorry, I didn’t mean to push you terribly. Sorry. I’m telling you how, sorry I am. I’m describing the adjective. Sorry. So I use an adverb or I can say Maria learns languages incredibly quickly.

[00:08:06] I’m describing another adverb quickly. And here I use another adverb to describe an adverb. We use adverbs to describe adverbs incredibly quickly. The exam was surprisingly easy. Easy is an adjective. I want to describe how easy it was. And here I am telling you it was surprisingly easy. Now we can also use an adverb before a past participle, like injured, organized, written, et cetera.

[00:08:31] So we say, for example, two people were seriously injured in the accident, not serious injured. We don’t use adjectives here, or we say the conference was badly organized here badly. That’s an adverb describing, organized now injured and organized as they work like adjectives. But sometimes because you see that they are past participle, you might think that I can use an adjective.

[00:08:53] No, you can use an advert for that. And now that being said, let’s move on and talk about some special cases and some special cases. I mean, some special adverbs here. Now let’s talk first about good and well, because this is an irregular thing. We don’t just add an L why we don’t say good. Li we say, well, well, is the adverb.

[00:09:14] If we want to use the meaning of good, good is the adjective, the adverb as well. No. I say your English is good. I’m describing your English. I say your English is good. That’s an adjective. Or Sophie is a good pianist. That’s fine. But what if I want to use the adverb here? Do I say goodly? No. Do I use good?

[00:09:32] Of course not. I have to use an adverb and in this case I use well, so if I say your English is good, but I want to use it in another context. I want to say you speak English. We don’t say you speak English. Good. We have to use an adverb. You speak English. Well, Sophie is a good pianist. Yes. Good as okay.

[00:09:51] Here, because it’s an adjective describing pianist, which is a noun fine. But what if I say Sophie plays the piano? Do I still say Sophie plays the piano? Good. No, Sophie plays the piano. Well, Now we also use, well, not good with best participle. For example, we say well-known well-educated well paid, well behaved, et cetera.

[00:10:14] For example, Sophie’s father is a well-known writer, not good known writer. Well-known writer. But pay attention well can also be used as an adjective. And when it is used as an adjective, it means in good health. Like if I ask you, how are you today? And you may respond. I’m very well, thanks here. I’m very, because after verb to be, we should use an adjective, right.

[00:10:37] But we are using an adjective well, can be used as an adjective to mean in good health. I’m very well thanks. And we use that all the time. Now let’s move on to talk about some other special words where the adjective and the adverb are just the same. These are fast, hard, and late. Now these words are both adjectives and adverbs.

[00:10:57] Now, of course, you’re got to tell me, how can I tell? Well, you will tell from the context, there is no other way. Because there is no difference in the form of the word, whether it’s an adjective or an adverb, it’s just the same fast heart and late, both adjectives and adverbs. Let me give you some examples.

[00:11:12] Darren is a fast runner, fast runner. He are fast is an adjective because I’m describing runner. But what if I say Darren can run fast? I’m describing how fast he can run. So I’m describing the verb fast. Here is an adverb. But it doesn’t change. It stays the same fast as an adverb, fast as an adjective.

[00:11:33] What about hard? It’s hard to find a job right now. It’s hard. It is hard after verb to be that’s an adjective. Right? But what if I say Kate works after works after a verb? What do I say? Do I say hardly? No, she works hard. Hard again. Can be used as an adjective or an adverb. What about, sorry, I’m late. Sorry.

[00:11:55] I’m late. That’s an adjective, right? Or if I want to tell you got up late, I’m describing a verb here. So it is an adverb I got up late, late here is an adverb. But now that being said, we need to talk about lately and especially hardly because there is a word that is called lately and hardly we have lately and hardly, but there are different.

[00:12:18] If you use lately, lately is different than late than this one. This Lake that we just talked about lately means recently it is an adverb obviously, but it means something else. It doesn’t have the same meaning of late the adverb late. Now, here we say, have you seen Kate lately? Recently. Okay. He, we can use lately because it has a different meaning and hardly is a big story on its own because it has many meanings.

[00:12:44] Hardly is one of the most versatile adverbs in English. It has many meanings and it can be used in different contexts. Let’s talk about that. It’s worth it because we use it a lot. Now let’s start with the very first and most common meaning of hardly, which means very little or almost not. So that is different from hard, right?

[00:13:01] Very little, almost not. So we say, for example, Sarah, wasn’t very friendly at the party. She hardly spoke to me now that doesn’t have anything to do with difficult. That’s something else. She hardly spoke to me. That means she spoke to me very little, or we’ve only met once or twice. We hardly know each other.

[00:13:21] We almost don’t know each other. That’s what I’m trying to say. We hardly know each other. That’s the meaning of Hartley. And if the meaning is like that, we don’t use hard. We don’t say we hard know each other. What does that mean? Or she hardly spoke to me. No, she hardly spoke to me or we hardly know each other.

[00:13:40] Now let’s take a look at harden hardly in those two examples, he tried hard to find a job, but he had no luck. He tried a lot. That’s the meaning of hard with a lot of effort. That’s the meaning. He tried hard. He tried a lot with a lot of effort, but. If I say I’m not surprised he didn’t find a job. He hardly tried.

[00:14:03] There’s a big difference between hardly and hard. It’s just the opposite. He hardly tried. That means he tried very little or he almost never tried. So that is so different. If you say he tried hard, that’s a good thing. If you say he hardly tried, that’s not a very good thing in this context, obviously. And you need to notice that hardly goes before the verb.

[00:14:24] We say we hardly know each other, not we know each other hardly. Okay. We use hard after the verb. That’s fine. But hardly comes before the verb. You need to remember that, but that’s not everything about hardly. We can say I can hardly do something. That means it’s very difficult for me. Almost impossible.

[00:14:42] For example, you can say your writing is terrible. I can hardly read it. It’s almost impossible to read. Or my leg was hurting. I could hardly walk. It was very difficult for me to walk. We can use can obviously can or could with hardly, and you can use it in this expression. I can hardly do something. I can hardly read your writing.

[00:15:02] I could hardly walk. That’s another one we can also use hardly with any, anybody, anyone, anything, or anywhere. For example, we say how much money do you have? And you may say hardly any that means very little or almost none, or these two cameras are very similar. There’s hardly any difference between them.

[00:15:23] There’s hardly any. We use any here a lot, anywhere, anybody or any of these words that start with any. Now another example, the exam results were bad. Hardly anybody in our class passed. What does that mean? Hardly anybody in our class passed that means very few students passed or we can say she was very quiet.

[00:15:42] She hardly said anything. So that was about hardly with any or anybody, anyone, anything anywhere. We can also use hardly with ever. We say hardly ever means almost never. For example, you say I’m nearly, always at home in the evenings. I hardly ever go out. That means I almost never, not never. I hardly ever it’s almost never, or we can use hardly to mean, certainly not.

[00:16:09] For example, we say it’s hardly surprising that you’re tired. You haven’t slept for three days. It’s hardly surprising that you’re tired. What am I trying to say here? I’m trying to say that it’s certainly not surprising because you haven’t slept for three days. It’s hardly surprising that you’re tired.

[00:16:26] I’m not surprised at all. It’s not surprising at all. It’s hardly surprising. Or we can say the situation is serious, but it’s hardly a crisis. It’s certainly not a crisis. So hardly can also mean certainly not. So that’s everything I wanted to share with you about adverse in adjectives. I hope you found the information useful.

[00:16:47] I hope you can differentiate now between your adjectives and adverbs, where to use your adjectives, where to use your adverts in the correct place. And with that being said, let me remind you that you can find the transcript of this episode on our website, English plus There’s a link in the description of this episode, just click details or show notes or description, and you will find the link that will take you to the custom post we created.

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[00:17:39] Our first was business English marketing now. Coming very soon, we have learned English tenses mini series, and we have 100 events that changed the world. So with that being said, Z’s your host. Daniel would like to thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast. I will see you next.


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<a href="" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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