Using English Verbs, Adverbs and Adjectives
Verbs, adverbs and adjectives are all important parts of English Grammar. Read on to see examples and definitions.
VerbsVerbs are the building blocks of English grammar. The shortest sentences, including one word sentences, include a verb.
Verbs are usually described as being “action words”. While verbs do give the impression of actually “doing” something, they can also convey an idea of state, of existence and of “being”.
Verbs that are “doing” words are as follows:
Verbs that imply state:
A verb can always be found with a subject. In the following sentence “Richard speaks Spanish”, Richard is the subject, so the word speaks is the verb.
So, to simplify matters, the verb is the word that tells us what any subject is or is doing. Verbs can describe both action and state:
- Action - Isabelle plays tennis. – The verb here is plays.
- State – Isabelle seems quiet. – The verb here is seems.
Verbs are a special part of the English language, as they can change their form. Most of the other types of words in the English language such as prepositions, adjectives and so on cannot.
Let’s look at the verb “to work”. It actually has five forms:
- To work
AdverbsAdverbs are the words that tell us more about the actual verb that is being used. It is the adverb that changes the verb, and they can also change adjectives.
We are taught to recognise adverbs by the three following characteristics:
The Adverbs FunctionThe main job of the adverb is to give us more detailed information about the adjective, verb and other adverbs being used.
Changing A Verb
- Daniel speaks quietly – The adverb in this sentence is quietly, and the word it is changing is speaks.
- Sarah lives locally – the adverb is locally and the word being changed is lives.
The adverbs have many other functions such as changing an entire sentence or changing certain phrases.
The Adverbs FormYou may notice that many of the adverbs end in –ly. Adverbs are actually formed by adding –ly to the end of an adjective:
Don’t think though, that all words that end in –ly must be adverbs. Some words such as “friendly” are actually adjectives.
The Adverbs PositionThe adverb can be found in three places in a sentence: the beginning, the middle and the end. When the adverb is at the beginning, it will come before the subject. When it is in the middle, it will come between the subject and then the main verb. When at the end of a sentence, the adverb will be after either the verb or the subject.
AdjectivesThe adjective is the word that will give us more information about the noun. Noun also includes noun phrases and pronouns. Just like the adverbs, the adjectives change the noun.
The adjective can be used before a specific noun:
- I like Chinese food – “Chinese” being the adjective and “food” being the noun.
Or, the adjective can be used after some verbs:
- It is hard – “Hard” being the adjective and “it is” being the verb.
This is just a basic look at the ways verbs, adverbs and adjectives fit into English grammar. There are many printed books that go into every aspect of English grammar and how to use it. This overview will give you a good starting point when you start to learn English grammar.