English Adjectives vs Adverbs

What is the difference between adjectives and adverbs in English?

This basic grammar point is something you must learn when you are at beginner English level.

Read the Adjectives vs Adverbs rules below and then do the Grammar Quiz near the bottom of the page. What test score will you get?


Adjectives are used with nouns. An adjective normally gives you more information about things or people.


A blue ball

A tall man

The fast car

You use an adjective before a noun.

Here’s an SGI video that gives you an A-Z of adjectives for the word ‘great’


Adverbs are used with verbs. An adverb tells you more about the verb

She ran quickly  (NOT …ran quick)

He is reading slowly  (NOT …reading slow)

Stefano speaks English perfectly  (NOT … speaks English perfect)


Look at the position of the words in the next 2 sentences and then you will understand the difference between adjectives and adverbs

Stefano speaks perfect English   (adjective + noun)

Stefano speaks English perfectly    (verb + noun + adverb)

Let’s look at another example…

It was a quick meal (adjective + noun)

He is eating the meal quickly  (verb + noun + adverb)


1. You can use adverbs before adjectives

That was a totally stupid thing to do

She was surprisingly good at English for a beginner

Sara is absolutely brilliant at speaking English but not so good at writing tasks.

He said he was terribly sorry for what he did.

2. You can use adverbs TOGETHER WITH other adverbs

She finished the IELTS writing exam amazingly quickly.

I complained because they made my coffee incredibly slowly.

3. You can use adverbs with PAST PARTICIPLES

They have been happily married for 15 years.

Don’t go home until you have completely finished what you are doing!


Adjective Alphabet – A list of adjectives that you can use in a writing task that will be marked by an SGI teacher

Better English vocabulary – An A to Z of adjectives all describing ‘great’

No Native English speaker says this: Grammar Rule of the day – How NOT to mix adjectives and adverbs

Adverb Rules for Intermediate level – Ban the Eurovision song contest (An article that uses lots of adjective and adverb sentences)

FREE ONLINE GRAMMAR TEST – Test your English knowledge with the SGI Grammar test. There are 40 grammar questions and then you get your results which gives you an idea about your current level of English.

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