Adjectives and Adverbs.

Have a look at the table below.

Adjective.

Comparative.

Superlative.

Adverb.

Quick. Quicker. Quickest. Quickly.
Hard. Harder. Hardest. Hard.
Good. Better. Best. Well.
Bad. Worse. Worst. Badly.


Adjectives.

Adjectives tell us more about nouns.

Adjectives go before the noun in English. They tell us more about the noun.

E.g. The red car.

We can make adjectives from the past participle of most verbs.

E.g. Cooked meat.
E.g. Broken glass.
E.g. A rushed meeting.

We can make adjectives from the gerund of most verbs.

E.g. Baking soda.
E.g. Frying pan.
E.g. A flying start.

If we like, we can have more than one adjective before the noun.

E.g. The big blue French restaurant.

If we use more than one adjective before a noun there is an order that we must follow:

1. Determiners and numbers such as "a", "an", "the", "some" or "three".

2. Opinions that can go before any noun such as "good", "bad" or "nice".

3. Opinions that can only go before certain nouns such as "delicious", "fast" or "clever".

4. Size such as "big" or "small".

5. Age such as "new", "old", "young" or "ten-year-old" note that we say "year" and not "years" when age is part of an adjective.

6. Shape such as "round", "square" or "jagged".

7. Colour such as "blue", "red" or "green".

8. Pattern such as "gaudy", "striped", or "spotted".

9. Origin such as "French", "European" or "Texan".

10. Material such as "cotton", "gold" or "paper".

11. Purpose such as "flying", "ironing" or "walking".

E.g. Five large plates.
E.g. A nice big piece of cake.
E.g. A fast blue racing car.
E.g. A little old man.
E.g. An old wooden boat.
E.g. A large round table.
E.g. An Italian cotton shirt.
E.g. An old ironing board.

There are a small number of examples that do not follow these rules:

E.g. "A crooked old gate." or "An old crooked gate." are both correct.
E.g. A big ugly troll.
There was a large shaded smoking area at the back of the college.

Try our order of adjectives quiz.

Comparatives.

We use comparatives to compare objects, animals or people.

To do this we must change the adjective, add the word "more" or add the word "less". After the comparative word we put the word "than".

E.g. Cambridge is more beautiful than Detroit.
E.g. Detroit is less beautiful than Cambridge.

If a word ends in a consonant followed by "y", we remove the "y" and add "ier".

E.g. Busy changes to busier: I am busier than you.
E.g. Lazy changes to lazier: He is lazier than she is.
E.g. Pretty changes to prettier: She is prettier than her sister.

Adjectives ending in a single vowel followed by "d", "g", "m", "n", or "t" double the final letter then add "er".

E.g. Sadder changes to sadder: I am sadder about losing my job than breaking my arm.
E.g. Big changes to bigger: London is bigger than Manchester.
E.g. Thin changes to thinner: David is thinner than I am.
E.g. Fat changes to fatter: An elephant is fatter than a giraffe.
E.g. Slim changes to slimmer: If you go on a diet you will be a lot slimmer.

For other adjectives of one syllable and for some adjectives with two syllables, we simply add "er" to the end.

E.g. Fast changes to faster: A cheetah is faster than an elephant.
E.g. Tall changes to taller: A giraffe is taller than a cheetah.
E.g. Clever changes to cleverer: She is cleverer than I am.

For adjectives of three syllables and for some adjectives with two syllables, we don't change the adjective.

We put the words "more" or "less" in front of the adjective.

E.g. A dog is more intelligent than a sheep.
E.g. A gold ring is more expensive than a silver ring.
E.g. A car is more modern than a horse and cart.
E.g. He is more careful with his money than she is.

We also have irregular comparatives.

E.g. Good changes to better: Fresh coffee is better than instant coffee.
E.g. Bad changes to worse: Instant coffee is worse than fresh coffee.
E.g. Far changes to further (sometimes farther): Rome is further away from Paris than London is.

Superlatives.

We use superlatives to talk about one in a group that has more of something than all of the others.

If the comparative ends in "er" then we change "er" to "est".

E.g. She is the cleverest in the class.
E.g. The cheetah is the fastest land animal.
E.g. He is the laziest boy in the class.

If the comparative has the word "more" before it, we change the word "more" to "most".

If the comparative has the word "less" before it, we change the word "less" to "least".

We usually add "the" before "most" or "least".

E.g. This car is the most expensive one in the showroom.
E.g. He is the most intelligent boy in the class, but he is also the least hard-working.

We also have irregular superlatives.

E.g. Better becomes best: Fresh coffee is the best.
E.g. Worse becomes worst: Instant coffee is the worst.
E.g. Further becomes furthest (sometimes farthest): The furthest distance that I can run is ten kilometers.

Try our comparatives and superlatives quiz.

Adverbs.

Adverbs tell us more about verbs.

Adverbs go after the verb. Most adverbs end in "ly".

E.g. Quickly: he runs quickly.
E.g. Slowly: she walks slowly.
E.g. Sadly: he looks sadly at his old house.

When we have an adjective ending in a consonant then "y", we can change it to an adverb by removing the "y" and adding "ily".

E.g. Lazy changes to lazily: they sat lazily drinking tea.
E.g. Busy changes to busily: she ran around busily.

When we have an adjective ending in a single "l", we can change it to an adverb by adding "ly", so the ending will be "lly".

E.g. Beautiful changes to beautifully: she draws beautifully.
E.g. Wonderful changes to wonderfully: she cooks wonderfully.

As an adverb "good" changes to "well" and "bad" changes to "badly".

E.g. They teach well.
E.g. They write badly.

Adverbs can also come in comparative or superlative form.

E.g. He drives faster than she does.
E.g. Out of all of the students, she works the hardest.

If the adverb comes from an adjective with an irregular comparative and superlative, then the adverb will use the same comparative and superlative forms.

E.g. He cooks worse than she does.
E.g. He paints the worst of everybody in the class.
E.g. She sings better than her sister does.
E.g. She sings the best.
E.g. He walks further than the other men.
E.g. He walks the furthest.

Try our adverbs quiz.

Help.

The consonants are the letters "b", "c", "d", "f", "g", "h", "j", "k", "l", "m", "n", "p", "q", "r", "s", "t", "v", "w", "x", "y" and "z".

The vowels are the letters "a", "e", "i", "o" and "u".

You can learn more about the past participle here.

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