Many adverbs are formed by adding -ly to an adjective.

Examples: Slow + -ly = slowly quiet + -ly = quietly Sometimes the addition of -ly to an adjective may require changing the spelling in the adjective.

Examples: Easy + -ly = easily (y changes to i) Full + -ly = fully (ll changes to l). Other adverbs are complete words on their own.

That is, they are not formed from other words.


Fast tomorrow soon first later next inside somewhere quite



Soon and quite can be used only as adverbs.


The school will soon open.

The holiday was quite well spent.


Some other modifiers like late or first, can either be used as adverbs or adjectives.


The visitors arrived late.

(Adverb) The late arrivals delayed the meeting (adjective).

The robbers had gotten there first.

(Adverb) The first house was already broken into.



When you are not sure whether an adjective or an adverb has been used in a sentence, ask yourself these questions.

(i) Which word does the modifier go with? If it goes with an action verb, an adjective or another adverb, it is an adverb.

Examples: The story teller spoke quietly. – used with an action verb.

The story teller was very interesting. – used with an adjective.

The story letter spoke extremely slowly. –used with another adverb.

But if it goes with a noun or a pronoun, it is an adjective.


Examples: The quiet story teller spoke. – used with a noun.

He was quiet. – with a pronoun.

(ii) What does the modifier tell about the word it goes with?.

If the modifier tells when, where, how, or to what extent, it is an adverb.



He will come tomorrow. – when

He will come here. – where

He will come secretly. – how

He will be very cautious. – to what extent

But if it tells which one, what kind, or how many, it is an adjective.

He will steal this cow. – which one

He will carry a sharp spear – what kind

He will be joined for ten years. – how many


Adverbs and predicate adjectives

You will recall that we said that an adjective appears after a linking verb and modifies the subject.


He became successful. (successful modifies he)

You seem tired. (tired modifies you)

You appear sick. (sick modifies she)

You look great! (great modifies you)

They sound bored. (bored modifies they)

It feels wet. (wet modifies it)

The oranges taste sweet. (sweet modifies oranges)

The baby grows big. (big modifies baby)

She smells nice. (nice modifies she).

Sometimes the verbs in the sentences above are used as action verbs.

In this case, they are followed by adverbs, not adjectives.

They modify the verbs and tell how, when, where, or to what extent.


The singer looked up.

v adv

We tasted the chocolate eagerly.

v adv

The principal appeared suddenly.

v adv


Good and well

Good and well have similar meanings, but differ in their use in a sentence.


Incorrect: He narrates the story good.

Correct: He narrates the story well.

Good is always an adjective and modifies nouns or pronouns.

It is never used to modify a verb.

Example: He is a good narrator. (Adjective modifying the noun narrator)

Well can be used as either an adjective or an adverb.


I feel well. (As an adjective)

He drives well. (As an adverb)



Exercise 4

Choose the correct form of the words in brackets in the following sentences.

  1. Luos tell you (quick, quickly) that they are not Bantus.
  2. Over the months, the snow (gradual, gradually) melted.
  3. Rice tastes especially (good, well) with avocado.
  4. The popularity of video games has grown.

(rapid, rapidly) 5. The name of the town may sound (strange, strangely) to some people.

  1. These puppies look a little (odd, oddly).
  2. The idea of breaking the door does not sound (reasonable, reasonably).
  3. Visitors eat Nyama Choma very (rapid, rapidly).
  4. If Nyama Choma has been prepared (good, well), it tastes even better than chicken.
  5. Since fish is high in protein and low in fat, it is bound to keep you (good, well).



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