Looking at adjective and adverb usage

By Esther Towns
(Originally published in the Star Press)

For this grammar quiz we will work with adjective and adverb usage. An adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun, and an adverb modifies a verb an adjective or another adverb.

Most but not all adverbs end in -ly (clearly, happily) , but some common adjectives also end in -ly (friendly, lively) . Some words have the same form whether used as an adjective or as an adverb (fast, hard) .

Linking verbs, especially those of the senses (taste, smell, feel, etc.), are usually followed by an adjective that modifies the subject. Some verbs (for example, looked) might be used as a linking verb and as an action verb. To determine the correct form of modifier, you must decide what the word modifies.

A word often used, and in my belief misused, is hopefully . The word is adverbial in form and should mean "in a hopeful manner." Many speakers now use it when they really mean "I hope." Example: Hopefully, Jean will be able to attend the meeting. Better: I hope Jean will be able to attend the meeting.

Those who disagree with the previous paragraph will point out that language usage changes as more and more educated people choose a different form - and that is true. I am not convinced that we have reached that point with hopefully.

In the following sentences, choose the correct word from the two in the parentheses.

1. The little boy had difficulty speaking (plain, plainly).
2. You should not take his criticism too (serious, seriously).
3. The airplane landed (smooth, smoothly).
4. The weather today looks (miserable, miserably).
5. Junior exercises (regular, regularly).
6. His excuse for being late sounds (incredible, incredibly).
7. The skater glided (smooth, smoothly) over the ice.
8. The meat in that sandwich tastes (terrible, terribly).
9. After being closed all day, the room smelled (stuffy, stuffily).
10. At the end of the performance, the audience clapped (enthusiastic, enthusiastically).
11. Mary agreed to teach the class (temporary, temporarily).
12. Small cars run more (economical, economically) than larger ones do.
13. I was (real, really) happy to learn that they were coming for a visit.
14. The cookies smelled so (delicious, deliciously) that the children were eager for them to finish baking.
15. Jim spoke so (convincing, convincingly) that we were all persuaded.
16. The room was lighted so (dim, dimly) that it was difficult to read.
17. The instructions for assembling the toy said that a child could put it together (easy, easily).
18. Jerry was (lazy, lazily) strolling down the street.
19. My neighbor sounded (cheerful, cheerfully), whistling as he worked.
20. I (sure, surely) was glad to reach my destination.

The correct answers are: 1. plainly; 2. seriously; 3. smoothly; 4. miserable; 5. regularly; 6. incredible; 7. smoothly; 8. terrible; 9. stuffy; 10. enthusiastically; 11. temporarily; 12. economically; 13. really; 14. delicious; 15. convincingly; 16. dimly; 17. easily; 18. lazily; 19. cheerful; and 20. surely.

Take off 5 points for each incorrect answer. The grading scale is 90-100, A; 80-89, B; 70-79, C; 60-69, D; below 60, F.

I hope (not hopefully) you did well on this quiz.

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Courtesy of Esther Towns (copyright 1998), The Star Press, Muncie, Ind.