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Adjective & Adverb

As it is...

An adjective describes a noun

a soft voice
a dangerous situation
a nice colour

An adverb (of manner) describes the action of a verb

she sang softly
he is driving dangerously
they have painted the wall nicely

Some adjectives and adverbs are exactly the same, and they have the same meaning.
But because they have a different function, they also have a different form.

He has different ideas than her about a solution.
So he thinks differently.
     Tomorrow she will have a blind date.
     But she trusts her mother blindly.

General rule:

Adverb = Adjective + -LY


  • adjective ending in -Y: change -Y into -I
         easy -> easily
         happy -> happily
  • adjective ending in -LE: drop the -E
         gentle -> gently
         terrible -> terribly
  • adjective ending in -IC: add -ALLY
         basic -> basically
         tragic -> tragically

And of course...

Yes, there are a few exceptions: words that have the same form as adjective and as adverb.
These are the ones you may need:

     The early bird sings very early.
     His daily ritual includes jogging in the morning. He also drinks two pints of milk daily.
     With a fast car it is difficult not to drive too fast.
hard (= difficult)
     The solution was hard to find, but they tried hard.
          N.B. hardly has a different meaning= almost not
                 We could hardly hear the sound of the nightingale
     That was a very late answer to my question. But they always arrive late.
          N.B. lately has a different meaning= recently, not long ago
                 Lately we have made several trips abroad.

And there is special one: the adverb form of good is well

Your English is really good. That's because you study well.


People speaking Dutch, or German, often forget to add -LY when a word is an adverb.
That is because in their language both adjective and adverb keep the same form.
Wat een langzame melodie.
     De auto rijdt langzaam.
Eine langsame Melodie.
     Ich bewege mich langsam.
People speaking French, or Italian, or Spanish, have no problems with this.
Because they do precisely the same in their own language.
French: lent -> lentement
Italian: lenta -> lentamente
Spanish: lenta ->lentamente


Americans speak and write English. But they speak it very differently, and you can easily hear that.
They also write a number of words differently, and you can easily see that.
     Think of color (vs. colour), or traveling (vs. travelling), or license (vs. licence),
      or center (vs. centre).
And they also dropped the different spelling of adjectives and adverbs.
     So they speak loud (not loudly).

Did you know?

The American firm Apple Computer had a famous slogan: "Think different!"
Many people liked the slogan. But the British thought differently about that.