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    Sentence Correction
  I: Introduction
  II: Grammar Basics
  III: Sentence Correction Tips
  IV: Three-Step Method
V: Seven Error Types  
 1. Subject-Verb Agreement
 2. Modifiers
      A. Introduction
      B. Adjectives and Adverbs
      C. Sense Verbs
      D. Misplaced Modifiers
      E. Sample Questions
 3. Parallelism
 4. Pronoun Agreement
 5. Verb Time Sequences
 6. Comparisons
 7. Idioms
  VI: Sample Questions
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2. Modifiers: Adjectives and Adverbs
 
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Modifiers

A. Introduction
B. Adjectives and Adverbs
C. Adjectives and Adverbs with Sense Verbs
D. Misplaced Modifiers
E. Sample Questions


Errors in the Use of Adjectives and Adverbs

The first step in identifying modifiers is to read the sentence and look for descriptive words. You should then look at each descriptive word and try to determine whether it is an adjective or an adverb.

  1. An adjective describes a noun or pronoun and answers the questions: how many, which one, what kind?

    She is a good tennis player. (What kind of tennis player is she?)
    This is an easy exercise. (What kind of exercise is it?)

  2. An adverb describes a verb, an adjective or another adverb and answers the questions: when, where, how, why, and to what extent?

    She plays tennis well. (How does she play?)
    This exercise is relatively easy. (To what extent is it easy?)

An easy way to identify adverbs and to distinguish them from adjectives is to look at the ending. Most adverbs are formed by adding -ly to the adjective: He worked quickly.

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However, there are a few exceptions to this rule that you should memorize if you're not already familiar with them. Here's a list of common exceptions
:

  Exceptions
The following irregular adverbs do not end in —ly.
Their corresponding adjectives appear to the left.
 
Adjective
Adverb
 
  early early (ends in -ly, but so does the adjective)  
  fast; faster; fastest fast; faster; fastest  
  good well, ill (meaning "badly," as in "to think ill of")  
  better; best better; best  
  hard hard ("hardly" means "almost not")  
  late late ("lately" means "recently")  
  worse; worst worse; worst  
  little little (meaning "not much," or "not at all")  
  more; most more; most  
  less; least less; least  
  much much  
  very very  
  far; farther; farthest far; farther; farthest  
  further; furthest further; furthest  
  near; nearer; nearest near; nearer; nearest ("nearly" means "almost")  
  high; higher; highest high; higher; highest ("highly" means "very," or "very well," as in "to think highly of")  
  low; lower; lowest low; lower; lowest ("lowly" means "humble," adj., or "in a low position," adv.)  
  wide; wider; widest wide; wider; widest ("widely" means "generally")  
  long; longer; longest long; longer; longest  
  short; shorter; shortest short; shorter; shortest (several meanings; "shortly" means "soon")  
  deep; deeper; deepest deep; deeper; deepest ("deeply" means "very")  
  ago ago  


  More Exceptions

The following irregular adverbs do not end in —ly.
 

 


either (meaning "also")
pretty (meaning "moderately")
quite
rather
almost
tall (meaning "to a given standard," as in "to stand tall")

After you've identified the word as an adjective or adverb, the next step is to determine whether it is used correctly.

She is a (real / really) good swimmer.

This sentence contains a descriptive word good modifying a noun swimmer and another descriptive word real modifying the adjective good. Are these modifying words used correctly? Break the sentence into parts:

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As you can see, the word good modifies swimmer. Good is an adjective, and swimmer is a noun. Adjectives modify nouns, so no error there. But notice the word real, used to modify the adjective good. Real is an adjective — and only adverbs modify adjectives.

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In this version, the adjective real, which modifies the adjective good, is replaced with the adverb really. Note the difference: really is real with an —ly tacked on.

Incorrect: She is a real good swimmer.

Correct: She is a really good swimmer.

Incorrect: The new student speaks poor.

Correct: The new student speaks poorly.

This sentence contains one descriptive word modifying a noun and one descriptive word modifying a verb. In both versions, the adjective new is used to modify the noun student, which is correct.

In the first version, however, the word poor is used to modify the verb speaks. But poor is an adjective - and adjectives cannot modify verbs. Therefore, the second version correctly replaces the adjective poor with the adverb poorly. Once again, the difference between the two is a mere, but necessary, -ly.

A. Introduction C. Adjectives and Adverbs with Sense Verbs

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