Introduction to modifiers: Articles, Adjectives, and Adverbs
Adjectives change and describe things (nouns), in other words, they allow for a detailed description.
For example, an apple could be described as ‘a green old apple’. The apple has been modified to green and old.
If you need to specifically identify a thing (noun), then you would use ‘the’. By specifically identifying a noun, you are also stating it’s importance. This is also called the ‘definite’ because it defines what we talk about.
‘The’ can be singular or plural. You could say ‘get me the apples’ (plural) or ‘get me the apple’ (singular).
If you do not need to specifically identify which thing, then you would use ‘a’ or ‘an’. These are called indefinite articles.
‘A’ and ‘An’ is singular and refers to one thing.
The indefinite article changes for vowel sounds from ‘A’ to ‘An’.
- ‘can I have an apple’ (the word apple starts with a vowel).
- ‘can I have a pear’ (the word pear starts with a consonant).
The exception is the ‘u’ sound as in ‘union’. It is correct to say, ‘a union’ not ‘an union’.
If you have a bag of apples and you wanted someone to select an apple, you could say.
‘Get me an apple’ – this is not specific, and any apple would do.
‘Get me the biggest apple’ – this is specific, and only a big apple would do.
Introduction to Adverbs
Adjectives modify nouns and adverbs modify everything that is not a noun, usually verbs. Adverbs are added to verbs, adjectives or other adverbs to make them more descriptive. For example ‘Sam ran slowly’. ‘Slowly’ is an adverb modifying the verb ‘ran’.
Adverbs are generally adjectives ending in ‘ly’. For example, the adjective ‘slight becomes ‘slightly’ or absolute becomes ‘absolutely’.
Where, when and why. These words are usually questioning words, but they can also be relative adverbs.
For example, ‘That is the house where I was raised’. ‘Where is connecting the clause ‘I was raised’ with the noun ‘house’.
When is used to ask questions about time, also as a relative adverb to make a statement about time.
For example, ‘I learned to play the piano when I was nine years old. ‘When’ is not used as a question but as a statement about time. The word ‘when’ connects two ideas or phrases, ‘I learned to play the play the piano’ and ‘I was nine years old’.
We use the word ‘why’ to figure out reasons for doing stuff, as a relative adverb, it is used to state a reason.
For example ‘I don’t know why the sky is blue’. The word ‘why’ connects the sky with what you know.
There is a specific order for adjectives. The order is,
- Determiner – words like ‘the’, ‘a’ or ‘an’
- Opinion – words like ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’
- Size – words like ‘big’ or ‘small’
- Age – words like ‘old’ or ‘new’
- Shape – words like ‘circular’ or ‘square’
- Color – words like ‘blue’ or ‘orange’
- Origin – where it is from, for example, ‘Australian’
- Material – ‘lead’ or ‘marble’
- Purpose – what it is used for, words like – ‘dining’
- Noun – the thing that is being described
To put all of this together would be ‘ The beautiful small old square blue Australian marble dining table’. Typically, no more than three adjectives are used to describe a thing. When you use two adjectives from the same category, you separate them with a comma. For example ‘the enchanting, attractive young lady. Enchanting and attractive are opinions and therefore separated with a comma.
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