Adverb/Adjective Confusion

Adverb/Adjective Confusion

Adverbs and adjectives have similar functions, so they are easy to confuse. Both of these types of words modify other words and help with describing or identifying.

Adjectives only modify nouns and pronouns. Remember, a noun is a person, place, or thing. Adjectives include words about color, size, shape, and state.

Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They often answer the questions: how, where, when, why, and to what extent. Adverbs often end in -ly, but not always.

It’s easy to confuse adverbs and adjectives because they have similar functions. This article will explain what adverbs and adjectives are and how to know if you’re using the correct one.


An adjective is a word or set of words that modify a noun. It describes and further identifies the noun. Adjectives often describe color, shape, size, or state, but they can describe many other attributes, as well.

Adjectives can come before a noun. Here are some examples.

  • a green curtain
  • a huge dog
  • tasty tacos
  • an eloquent speaker
  • the round plates

Adjectives can also follow a noun and a be verb. They are still adjectives because they are modifying the noun.

  • The curtain is green.
  • That dog is huge.
  • These tacos are tasty.
  • She is eloquent.
  • The plates are round.


An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb. Adverbs often explain how, where, when, how much, why, or how often.

  • That is a beautifully written book
  • The panther moves quickly.
  • I can go whenever.
  • He doesn’t feel well.
  • The car is outside.

Which One Do I Use?

To ensure you are using the correct part of speech, you need to ask yourself what the word is modifying. If the word is modifying a noun, you should use an adjective. If it is modifying another type of word, you will use an adverb.