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Adjectives and Adverbs

Posted by Wendy Wood on 21st April , 2020 in Grammar
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In a prior newsletter, I explored the difference between the noun hand-off in warm hand-off and the verb hand off in warmly hand off.

I said I’d told my husband, “Warm is an adjective. If you’d written that you’re warmly handing off something, then warmly would be the adverb modifying your verb phrase of handing off.” But what’s the difference between an adjective and an adverb?

Adjective: a word that typically modifies a noun, such as warm in warm hand-off, or in that hand-off is warm.

But what do they mean by an adjective “modifies a noun”? Well, adjectives answer the question which one, what kind, how many, or whose. In warm hand-off or that hand-off is warm, if you ask yourself the question of what kind or which one, the answer is warm. So warm is the adjective modifying the noun hand-off.

Adverb: a word used to modify or limit a verb, a verbal noun, an adjective or another adverb, or an adverbial phrase or clause. An adverbial element expresses some relation of place, time, manner, attendant circumstance, degree, cause, inference, result, condition, exception, concession, purpose, or means.

What in the world does that mean? It means an adverb can be used with any of the parts of speech listed and it answers the question how, when, where, to what extent, or why. So, in the case of warmly hand off if you ask yourself how you’re handing something off, the answer is warmly. Warmly is the adverb modifying the verb phrase hand off.

Wendy Wood


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