Difference Between Adjective vs Adverb

Difference Between Adjective vs Adverb

For those studying written language, the difference between adjective and adverb can be incredibly hard to decipher, but the aim of today’s post is to do just that. We want to get to the bottom of what separates these two parts of speech for you once and for all.

We will give you the definition of each in conjunction with a very accessible reference table that will allow you to compare them at a quick glance anytime you ever need a refresher on them again in the future.

Definition of Adjective

The definition of adjective is any word that serves to answer the questions “what kind,” “how many,” or “which one” as part of a sentence.

When we see an adjective in a sentence, it is typically helping us to understand the very specific nature of something, someone, or somewhere. While both adjectives and adverbs can be used descriptively to help us establish a mental image of a location or person, it is when we view a summary of their different natures that we find they are actually quite different.

The underlying variation we can use to summarize the differences between adjective vs adverb lies primarily in the varieties of question that each of these systems directly answer. You need both word types to help paint a full picture or fully describe a location or circumstance, but you should see these two parts of language as necessary puzzle pieces that are both needed to form whole sentences.

We can help to identify how an adjective functions in the following sentence. “The bright summer sun beamed peacefully down on the beautiful green grass in the meadow.”

The words “green” and “beautiful” in the above sentence are adjectives because they directly answer questions about “what kind” of grass is being described. On balance, the word “peacefully” is an adverb in this sentence.

Definition of Adverb

The definition of adverb is any word that is used to answer the questions “when,” “where,” “how,” “why,” and “how much” as part of a sentence. When comparing the difference between adverb and adjective, we already know that it is the questions that each part of speech answers that ultimately help us to summarize their varied natures.

In this instance, we merely need to take a look at the example sentence outlined previously. The word “peacefully” is an adverb because it is used to directly answer the question “how” as part of the sentence.

A simple means of providing a summary to separate the two from one another is that adjectives are typically used to describe a person, place, or thing, whereas adverbs are most often used to describe an action. Adjectives modify nouns and pronouns, while adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

One could be viewed as specifically relating to a person, place, or thing and is more based around a subject, whereas the other (adverb) is more of a mechanism for articulating what that subject is doing and where it is located.

Main Differences Between Adjective vs Adverb

We will now outline the key variations between adverb vs adjective in a quick reference table.

Basis of ComparisonAdjectiveAdverb
Answers the questions“Which one,” “how many,” and “what kind”“Where,” “how much,” “when,” “why,” and “how”
What can it modify?A noun or pronounA verb, adjective, or other adverb
Typically used toDescribe a subject, subject type, or series of subjectsDescribe an action
Which can modify the other?Adjectives cannot modify adverbsAdverbs occasionally modify adjectives
Example wordsRed, happy, painfulExceptionally, too, loudly
Example sentencesShe is very nice (The last word is an adjective)She is incredibly nice (“Incredibly” is an adverb modifying the adjective “nice”)

Difference Between Adjective and Adverb: Conclusion

After reading through today’s post, you should finally feel confident enough to be able to make use of these helpful parts of speech going forward when creating sentence structures.

Always keep in mind that when summarizing an adjective, it describes a person, place, or thing, whereas on balance, an adverb usually describes an action. This simple comparison alone can easily help you to establish an effective summary of each word type in order to tell them apart.