In this article we are going to discuss the following topics of Modifiers.

  • Adjectives and their Types
  • Troublesome Adjectives
  • Adverbs and their Types
  • Position of Adverbs
  • Perplexing Adjectives and Adverbs


There are different types of adjectives based upon their effect on a (pro)noun and what do they tell about the (pro)noun. There are five categories of adjectives.


1) QUALITY – These adjectives are used to describe the nature of a noun. They give an idea about the characteristics of the noun by answering the question ‘what kind’

Honest, Kind, Large, Bulky, Beautiful, Ugly etc.


  • New Delhi is a large city with many historical monuments.
  • Sheila is a beautiful woman.


2) NUMBER/QUANTITY – These adjectives are used to show the number of nouns and their place in an order. Answers the question ‘how many/much’.


  •  One, Two, Twenty, Thirty-Three etc. also known as Cardinals.
  •     First, Second, Third, Seventh etc. also known as Ordinals.

Indefinite:  Some, Many, Few, Any, Several, All, etc.


  • There were many people present at the meeting.


3) DISTRIBUTIVE NUMERAL ADJECTIVE: Those adjectives that are used to refer to individual nouns within the whole amount.

Either, Neither, Each, Another, Other etc.


  • Taxes have to be paid by every employed citizen.


4) DEMONSTRATIVE: These adjectives are used to point out or indicate a particular noun or pronoun using the adjectives – This, That, These and Those. Answer the question ‘which’.


  • Try using this paintbrush in art class.
  • I really like those shoes.


a) We use adjectives of quality to answer the question What… like?

Example: What’s the area like? ~ Oh, it’s very quiet.


b) Adjectives of type answer the question What kind of…?

Example: What kind of area is it? ~ Mainly residential.


c) A modifier can also be a noun.

Example:  a summer holiday, a gift shop.


d) We use adjectives after be/get/become/ seem


  • Be careful!
  • I’m tired and I’m getting hungry.
  • As the film went on, it became more and more boring.
  • Your mom seems very nice.


e)  We also use adjectives to say how somebody/something looks, feels, sounds, tastes or smells


  • You look tired /I feel tired / She sounds tired.
  • The dinner smells good.
  • This tea tastes strange.


5) ATTRIBUTIVE AND PREDICTIVE:  An adjective can go before a noun or as a compliment after a linking verb such as be, seem, get. These positions are called ‘attributive’ and ‘predictive’.


  • Attributive: It is a large stadium. (before a noun)
  •  Predicative: The stadium is large. (as complement)


Conclusion: In general, the adjective closest to the noun has the closest link in meaning with the noun and expresses what is most permanent about it. For example, in the phrase two excellent public tennis courts, the word tennis is closely linked to courts, whereas excellent is not linked so closely. The fact that the courts are for tennis is permanent, but their excellence is a matter of opinion.

The above-mentioned adjectives are generally spoken or written now let us be concern about troublesome adjectives.


Troublesome adjectives revolves around comparing the adjectives ending in /ing/ and /ed/.

A) Adjectives in ing express what something is like, the effect it has on us.

Example: A show can be amusing, fascinating or boring.


B) Adjectives in ed express how we feel about something.

Example: The audience can feel amused, fascinated or bored.


  • The show made us giggle. It was very amusing.
  • The audience giggled. They were very amused.


  • I talked to a very fascinating man.
  • I was fascinated in what he was telling me.


NOTE: These words have the same form as active and passive participles.


Adverb (quickly / carefully etc) tell us about a Verb (how somebody does) or how something happens.


  • Sam drove carefully along the narrow road.

Adverbs modify sentences by taking different forms as modifying word or phrase and the phrases take different positions to modify its immediate appearing word. Each form is explained with examples. Get, set, go—-


1.Adverb Forms

a) Some adverbs are unrelated to other words, e.g. always, soon, very, perhaps.

But many adverbs are formed from an adjective + ly, e.g. quick    quickly, certain     certainly.

Example: The crowd shouted excitedly.


b) Some adverbs have the same form as adjectives.

Louise caught the fast train.The train was going quite fast.
We didn't have a long wait.We didn't have to wait long.
I had an early night. I went to bed early.


c) Sometimes the adverb can be with or without ly. It is more informal to leave out ly.


  • You can buy cassettes cheap/cheaply in the market.
  • Do you have to talk so loud/loudly?
  • Get there as quick/quickly as you can.
  • Go slow/slowly here.

Cheap(ly), loud(ly), quick(ly) and slow(ly) are the most common. Others are direct(ly), tight(ly) and fair(ly).


When there are two clauses, the position of the adverb can affect the meaning.


  • They agreed immediately that the goods would be replaced. (an immediate agreement)
  • They agreed that the goods would be replaced immediately. (an immediate replacement)


2. Adverbial Forms

An adverbial is necessary to complete a sentence. Putting in an extra adverbial adds something to the meaning. For example, it can tell us how, when or where something happened.

An adverbial can have these forms.

a) Adverb phrase: An adverb phrase consists of one or more words. The adverb is the head of the phrase and can appear alone or it can be modified by other words.


  • You were going very slowly. (How you were going? Slowly, how slowly? Very slowly)
  • We wanted to get back. (Where we wanted to get? Back)


b) Prepositional phrase: Every prepositional phrase is a series of words made up of a preposition and its object. The object may be a noun, pronoun, gerund or clause. A prepositional phrase functions as an adjective or adverb.


  • Karina wasn’t at home. (Where Karina wasn’t? At home)
  • You saw the police car in front of you. (Where you saw the police car? In front of you)


c) Noun phrase: The words that can modify nouns include articles (a, an, the); adjectives; participles; and possessive pronouns. A noun phrase can be a single word-just the noun-or more than one word.


  • We wanted to get home. (Where we wanted to get? Home)
  •  It happened last week. (When it happened? Last week)


Adverbs are thus seen to perform a wide range of modifying functions. The major exception is the function of the modifier of nouns, which is performed instead by adjectives.  However, as seen above, adverbs may modify noun phrases, and so the two functions may sometimes be superficially very similar.

Hence, to take out the confusion of adverbial phrase or noun phrase the location of the adverb in a sentence is very important.


The position of an adverbial depends on what it modifies. It can modify a word or phrase or a whole clause. Its position also depends on what type of adverbial it is and whether it is a single word or a phrase.

A) An adverbial which modifies a noun usually goes after it.


  • The shop on the corner is closed.
  • Who’s the girl with short hair?
  • Those people outside are getting wet.


B)  An adverb which modifies an adjective or adverb usually goes before it.


  • That’s very kind of you. We heard the signal fairly clearly.


C) When an adverbial modifies a verb or a whole clause, there are three main places we can put it.


  • Front: Really, I can’t say.
  • Mid: I can’t really say.
  • End: I can’t say, really.

Sometimes we can also put an adverbial after the subject.


  • I really cant say.


D) A prepositional phrase can sometimes be the subject.


  • Along that path is the quickest way.
  • After lunch is usually a quiet time.


E) Mid position is after an auxiliary verb, after the ordinary verb be on its own, or before a simple-tense verb.

ItDoesn'toftenrain in the Sahara
We have justbooked our tickets
The news willsoonbe out-of-date
youwere probablyright
Youprobablymade the right choice
Ialwaystake the right choice

Conclusion: In general an adverb positions itself near a verb, adjective, or any other adverb or near to the word which it wants to modify. Also, it answers how, where, to what extent or level, how often, when in terms of manner, place, degree, frequency and time.


a) There are some pairs such as hard and hardly which have different meanings.


  1. You’ve all worked hard.              I’ve got hardly any money.(hardly any = no)
  2. There’s a bank quite near.          We’ve nearly finished. (= almost)
  3. I often stay up late.                      I’ve been unwell lately. (= recently)
  4. The plane flew high above           The theory is highly controversial. (= very)the clouds.
  5. Submarines can go very deep.   Mike feels very deeply about this.
  6. Airline staff travel free.               The prisoners can move around freely.
  7. This ear hurts the most.              We mostly stay in. (= usually)


b)Hourly, daily etc are formed from hour, day, week, month and year. They are both adjectives and adverbs.


  • It’s a monthly magazine.
  • It comes out monthly.


c) Good is an adjective, and well is its adverb.


  • Roger is a good singer, isn’t he?
  • Roger sings well, doesn’t he? NOT He sings good.

But well is also an adjective meaning ‘in good health’.


  • I was ill, but I’m well/I’m all right now.
  • How are you? ~ Very well, I am Fine, thank you.

NOTE: We use well in expressions such as well organized, well deserved and   well known.



These words are both adjectives and adverbs:


Milka is a very fast runner.Milka can run very fast.
Kate is a hard worker.Kate works hard (not works hardly).
I was late.I got up late this morning.



We use so +adjective/adverb.


  • She is so cute.

We use such +noun


  • Such a story
  • such a people.

We also use such +adjective +noun.

It was such an awesome movie.



a) So Long = Such a long (Time)


  • I haven’t seen her for so long I’ve forgotten what she looks like.
  • I haven’t seen her for such a long time.

b) So Far = Such a far (Distance)


  • I didn’t know it was so far.
  • I didn’t know it was at such a far distance.

So Much, So Many = Such a lot of


  • I’m sorry I’m late –there was so much traffic.
  • I’m sorry I’m late-there was such a lot of traffic.


Conclusion: So far, the idea of making us to learn grammar rudiments might be making you dizzy. The good news is that we get a chance to review and to test our verbal knowledge. Don’t leave any of the chapter as each section comes with tips on what and where to fix the error or its type, as well as several questions to practice your newfound expertise.