How do Adjectives and Adverbs Differ?
Adjectives and adverbs describe things. Consider the phrases "the tree" to "the tall tree" and "I proofread" to "I proofread carefully." In both cases, the meaning of the first phrase is modified/changed by adding an adjective (tall) and an adverb (carefully) to the second phrase.
Both adjectives and adverbs are alike in that they add detail to other words. However, adjectives work with nouns and pronouns, and adverbs work with all other parts of speech. For example:
- A thorough report (the adjective thorough modifies the noun report)
- A thoroughly researched report (the adverb thoroughly modifies the verb researched)
Thorough is an adjective, and thoroughly is an adverb. As shown above, adding 'ly" to an adjective is often a good way to identifying an adverb, but there are a number of exceptions. Not all words that end with "ly" are adverbs and not all adverbs end in "ly." Use a dictionary or a comprehensive writing handbook for additional help.