Adjectives and adverbs

Adjectives modify nouns and pronouns.

Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

too many adjectives.

Use strong nouns and verbs, rather than a flurry of adjectives and adverbs.  

weak adjectives and adverbs.

A descriptive paragraph from a teenage student began something like this. 

My boyfriend is so nice.  He's a really great guy. I feel extremely good whenever he calls.  He's very sweet, interesting, and totally cool.

Although she was trying to express the  depth and range of her  feelings, the adjectives nice, great, good, sweet, and cool aren't specific enough to describe him clearly.  And  piling on adverbs: so,  really,  extremely, very, and totally, doesn't help to intensify or clarify the adjectives. 

Some teachers I have known have forbidden students to use words like very I don't believe in inflicting unnecessary rules on anyone; however, you might choose to eliminate weak modifiers in your own  writing.

comparatives & superlatives.


difficult forms





participles (ed and ing): difference between a frightened child and a frightening child

Prepositions after participles

  • amazed at
  • amused by
  • annoyed by
  • bored by
  • confused by
  • disappointed by
  • disappointed in
  • embarrassed by
  • exhausted from
  • excited by
  • excited about
  • frightened by
  • introduced to
  • interested in
  • irritated by
  • opposed to
  • satisfied with
  • shocked at
  • surprised by
  • surprised at
  • tired of
  • worried about