When speaking, Adjectives and adverbs give colour to what we are saying. Adjectives describe nouns or pronouns and adverbs describe or modify the verb.

For example if we look at this sentence-
“The cat (noun) is on the table” - and add an adjective to it, it will make it sound much better and also give the person listening more of a visual picture of what the book looks like- “The big grey (adjectives) cat is on the table.” An example using an adverb could be “Jane walked up the street slowly.”In this sentence, “slowly” shows us the way Jane walked.

When we think of adjectives, we first have to look at two forms- adjectives ending in –ed and adjectives ending in –ing. Adjectives ending in –ed describe how we feel about something- I am bored, whereas, adjectives ending in –ing describe how something is- Football is very boring. Adjectives can also be divided into groups according to the type they are- colour, material etc.

Word order of adjectives is also very important. When we have a number of adjectives before a noun we must use a system to keep them in the right order. We can normally divide adjectives into the following groups-
Opinion She has a wonderful voice.
Size Alex drives a big car.
Age They have bought a new house.
Shape An oval table.
Colour A pair of black trousers.
origin It’s an Italian car.
material or type I collect silk ties.

We also keep them in this order if we have adjectives belonging to more than one group in a sentence- I am wearing my new black dress tomorrow. (age, colour)
Adverbs can be divided into 4 groups- Manner, Place, Time and Frequency. Adverbs of manner (end in –ly) show how we do something- The boys were laughing loudly. Adverbs of place show where something is- The bank is over there. Adverbs of time tell us when something happened or is happening- She is going abroad tomorrow. Adverbs of frequency show how often we do something- Jane always goes abroad in the summer holidays.

The position of adverbs in sentences depends on the type of adverbs used. Adverbs of manner go after the verb (laughs loudly), adverbs of place go at the end of the sentence (she’s over there), adverbs of time can go either at the start or end of a sentence (Next Monday.../...at the moment.) and adverbs of frequency go between the pronoun and the verb (I always go).

There are other rules and exceptions to the rules apart from the ones mentioned above. What’s important to remember is that we use these rules as a guideline for people to understand a more uniformed word order.

Courtesy of Elanguest Language School