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Session 2

Is this session, we look at adjectives and adverbs. We'll do some revision, point out some useful tips, test your knowledge, and finish with a fun summary in 6 Minute Grammar.

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6 Minute Grammar

Adjectives and adverbs

Finn and Catherine discover that chocolate biscuits are a very helpful learning tool when they talk about adjectives and adverbs in 6 Minute Grammar.

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Catherine    
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Grammar with me, Catherine.

Finn   
And me, Finn. Hello.

Catherine    
In this programme we're talking about adjectives and adverbs.

Finn   
We'll tell you what they are and how they’re used.

Catherine    
We'll give you some tips to help you understand the difference between them.

Finn
And we'll also have a quiz to test your understanding.

Catherine    
Right. Let's get started. Finn, can you tell us about adjectives first.

Finn   
OK. Certainly, let's start with a simple example. What am I holding up?

Catherine    
You've got two biscuits, Finn . One is plain and one is chocolate.

Finn   
Yes. Do you like both?

Catherine
I do.

Finn
Me too. In that sentence there were two adjectives, plain and chocolate. What do those words do?

Catherine    
Well, Finn. Those words describe the biscuits.

Finn
That's right. Adjectives are describing words: they tell us about nouns. In this case they tell us about the biscuits. A plain biscuit. A chocolate biscuit.

Catherine    
Fantastic. What else do adjectives describe?

Finn   
Lots of things. They can also describe pronouns. Listen out for the adjective happy in this example. Here's Neil

Neil   
Peter played well. After the game he was happy.

Finn   
The adjective happy - what did that refer to?

Catherine
It referred to the pronoun he, which in this example was Peter.

Finn
Yes, Peter was happy. He was happy. He was a happy Peter.

Catherine
So adjectives are words that give us information or additional information about nouns. When it comes to adverbs there is a bit of a clue in the name, isn't there, Finn?Ad – verb, add information about a verb.

Finn
That is one thing that adverbs do. They give us information about verbs. They can tell us how someone does something or how something happens. Now, let's listen again to the example. As well as the adjective happy there's also an adverb in the sentence. What is it?

Neil
Peter played well. After the game he was happy.

Catherine
The adverb there was well. Peter played well. The word well isn't describing Peter himself: it's describing how he did what he did.

IDENT          
You're listening to BBC Learning English.

Catherine
And we're talking about adjectives and adverbs.

Finn
We've seen that adjectives describe nouns and adverbs talk about verbs.

Catherine
You mentioned that referring to verbs was only one thing that adverbs do. So, where else can we use them?

Finn
Adverbs can also describe adjectives, and even other adverbs. Remember the biscuits?

Catherine    
I'm looking at them right now, Finn.

Finn
Look good, don’t they?

Catherine
They do!

Finn   
What do you feel when you see the biscuits?

Catherine
I feel hungry!

Finn
Is hungry an adjective or adverb?

Catherine
It is an adjective because it's describing me, my feeling – and I'm a noun!

Finn
You are a noun! And now if I ask you how hungry you are, what would you say?

Catherine
Well the chocolate biscuit in particular is making me feel very hungry.

Finn
Very
hungry. Very. Hungry. What is the word very referring to? Is it you, the noun?

Catherine
No, it's the adjective hungry.

Finn
Exactly. Very is an adverb. So as well as adding information about verbs, adverbs can also tell us about adjectives. And they can even tell us about other adverbs. Let's hear our earlier example again please, Neil?

Neil
Peter played well. After the game he was happy.

Finn
Remember that the word well is an adverb. But how well did Peter play?

Neil
Peter played really well.

Finn
That's right. So here the word really is telling us about the adverb well. How well? Really well. Really is also an adverb.

Catherine
So adverbs can tell us about verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.

Finn
And adjectives describe nouns and pronouns. And now, it's quiz time.

Catherine
We are going to give you a word, and read a sentence which contains the word. You need to decide if the word we give you is an adjective or an adverb.

Finn
OK. So, here's the first one. The word is blue and here's the sentence.

Catherine
The sky is dark blue. The sky is dark blue.

Finn
So, is blue an adjective or adverb?

Catherine
It’s an adjective. Blue is describing the noun sky. Now number two: it's actually the same sentence but this time, think about the word dark. Is dark an adjective or an adverb?

Finn
The sky is dark blue.

Catherine
Right. So, is dark an adjective or adverb?

Finn
Dark here is an adverb. Now number three. This time there are three words to listen out for: delicious, very and slowly – are they adjectives or adverbs?

Catherine
Catherine ate the delicious biscuit very slowly.

Finn
No, she didn't. She ate it very fast. But, did you get them? Delicious is an adjective. It describes the noun biscuit.

Catherine
Slowly is an adverb.

Finn
And finally, very is also an adverb.

Catherine
So that's our introduction to adjectives and adverbs

Finn   
There's more about this on our website at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for  soon more 6 Minute Grammar.

Both  
Bye.

STING

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End of Session 2

That's it for this session. We hope you found it really useful!

Join us in Session 3 when the BBC's Arts Editor asks, "What is art?"

Session Grammar

  • Adjectives

    Tell us about nouns and pronouns:

    Mark is unhappy
    They are beautiful

    They have no particular form:

    Happy, sad, green

    Though some can be made by adding suffixes:

    Fun / funny, child / childlike, care / careful

    Adverbs

    Tell us about verbs, adjectives and other adverbs:

    He drove slowly
    It was a very sunny day
    He counted the money really carefully

    Most are made by adding –ly:

    Serious / seriously, quiet / quietly, total / totally

    But others have no pattern:

    Soon, well, never, quite, often, already, just