Adjective or adverb.

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Adjective or Adverb? : 

Adjective or Adverb?

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1. WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF AN ADJECTIVE? Its function is to modify nouns; adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. You can recognize adverbs easily because many of them are formed by adding -ly to an adjective. Here are some sentences that demonstrate some of the differences between an adjective and an adverb by showing what is being modified in each sentence. In each sentence, light blue arrows point to adjectives and green arrows point to adverbs.

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Here careless is an adjective that modifies the proper noun Richard. Here carelessly is an adverb that modifies the verb talks.

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Here happy is an adjective that modifies the proper noun Priya and extremely is an adverb that modifies the adjective happy. Here quickly is an adverb that modifies the verb finished and unusually is an adverb that modifies the adverb quickly.

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Adverbs can't modify nouns, as you can see from the following incorrect sentences. He is a quietly man. I have a happily dog. The correct sentence should say He is a quiet man. The correct sentence should say I have a happy dog.

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On the other hand, it's sometimes easy to make the mistake of using an adjective to modify a verb, as the incorrect sentences below show. He talks careless about your wife. He is breathing normal again. The correct sentence should say He talks carelessly about your wife. The correct sentence should say He is breathing normally again.

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AN ADJECTIVE ALWAYS FOLLOWS A FORM OF THE VERB TO BE WHEN IT MODIFIES THE NOUN BEFORE THE VERB. Here are some examples that show this rule. Light blue arrows point from the adjective to the noun that it modifies.

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3. LIKEWISE, AN ADJECTIVE ALWAYS FOLLOWS A SENSE VERB OR A VERB OF APPEARANCE -- FEEL, TASTE, SMELL, SOUND, LOOK, APPEAR, AND SEEM -- WHEN IT MODIFIES THE NOUN BEFORE THE VERB. Here are some examples that show this rule. Light blue arrows point from the adjective to the noun it modifies. Here bad is an adjective that modifies the noun cough. Using the adverb badly here would not make sense, because it would mean her cough isn't very good at sounding. Here awful is an adjective that modifies the noun oil. Using the adverb awfully here would not make sense, because it would mean that castor oil isn't very good at tasting.

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Be careful to notice whether the word modifies the subject or the verb in the sentence. If the word modifies the subject, you should use an adjective. If the word modifies the verb, you should use an adverb. The difference is shown in the following pair of sentences. Here sweet is an adjective that modifies the noun apple. Using the adverb sweetly here would not make sense, because it would mean that the apple can smell things in a sweet manner. Here carefully is an adverb that modifies the verb smells. Using the adjective careful here would not make sense, because it would mean that the dog gives off an odor of carefulness.

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Avoiding Common Errors Bad or Badly? When you want to describe how you feel, you should use an adjective (Why? Feel is a sense). So you'd say, "I feel bad." Saying you feel badly would be like saying you play football badly. It would mean that you are unable to feel, as though your hands were partially numb. Good or Well? Good is an adjective, so you do not do good or live good, but you do well and live well. Remember, though, that an adjective follows sense-verbs and be-verbs, so you also feel good, look good, smell good, are good, have been good, etc. Confusion can occur because well can function either as an adverb or an adjective. When well is used as an adjective, it means "not sick" or "in good health." For this specific sense of well, it's OK to say you feel well or are well -- for example, after recovering from an illness. When not used in this health-related sense, however, well functions as an adverb; for example, "I did well on my exam.“

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Sure or Surely? Sure is an adjective, and surely is an adverb. Sure is also used in the idiomatic expression sure to be. Surely can be used as a sentence-adverb. Here are some examples that show different uses of sure and surely. Light blue arrows indicate adjectives and green arrows indicate adverbs. Here sure is an adjective that modifies the pronoun I. Here surely is an adverb that modifies the adjective ready.

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Near or Nearly? Near can function as a verb, adverb, adjective, or preposition. Nearly is used as an adverb to mean "in a close manner" or "almost but not quite." Here are some examples that demonstrate the differences between various uses of near and nearly. Light blue arrows indicate adjectives and green arrows indicate adverbs. Subjects and verbs are marked in purple. Here nearly is an adverb that modifies the verb finished. Here near is an adjective that modifies the noun future.