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Adjectives & Adverbs

Adjectives: modify or affect the meaning of nouns and pronouns and tell us which, whose, what kind, and how many about the nouns or pronouns they modify. They generally come before the noun or pronoun they modify, but there are exceptions to that rule. There are seven (7) words in the English language that are always adjectives. They are the articles a, an, and the and the possessives my, our, your, and their (the possessives are from the possessive pronoun list, but are always used with nouns as adjectives).

  • Adjective Clause: a dependent clause (a phrase that DEPENDS on another phrase to form a complete thought or sentence) that is used to modify a noun or a pronoun. It will begin with a relative pronoun (who, whose, whom, which, and that) or a subordinate conjunction (when and where). Those are the only words that can be used to introduce an adjective clause. The introductory word will always rename the word that it follows and modifies except when used with a preposition, which will come between the introductory word and the word it renames.
  • Adjective prepositional phrase: a prepositional phrase that is used as an adjective telling, which or what kind, and modifying a noun or pronoun. An adjective prepositional phrase will come right after the noun or pronoun that it modifies. If there are two adjective prepositional phrases together, one will follow the other. Only adjective prepositional phrases modify the object of the preposition in another prepositional phrase.

Adverbs: modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. They tell how (manner), when (time), where (place), how much (degree), and why (cause). Why is a common one-word adverb that tells why. Adverbs that tell us how, when, where, and why always modify the verb. Adverbs that tell us how much modify adjectives or other adverbs (these adverbs must come before the word they modify).

  • Adverb clause: a dependent clause that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb. It usually modifies the verb. Adverb clauses are introduced by subordinate conjunctions including after, although, as, as if, before, because, if, since, so that, than, though, unless, until, when, where, and while. (These are just some of the more common adverb clauses.)
  • Adverb prepositional phrase: a prepositional phrase used as an adverb telling how, when, where, how much, and why and modifying the verb and sometimes an adjective. Adverb prepositional phrases can come anywhere in the sentence and can be moved within the sentence without changing the meaning.