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Adjectives and adverbs

Adjectives and Adverbs

Simply, adjectives tell us more about nouns (the names of things and people, for example, pencil, France, Monday, cat, Elsa) and adverbs tell us more about verbs (for example, run, eat, have, do, make, be).

Quick and Quickly

Both mean fast and are used to talk about speed.

Quick is an adjective.

Quickly is an adverb.

It is a quick train.

That man is really quick.

You need to be quick if you want a ticket.

Please be quick, I need to go.
Note: the noun here is ‘you’. This is understood but not written.

We must eat quickly and leave.

He runs very quickly.

Quickly, he took out his wallet, and paid.

She quickly finished and left.

Look out!

LOOK OUT! Don’t mix up quick and quickly.

=> Quick is the adjective and is used with a noun.

=> Quickly is the adverb and is used with a verb.

Your car is quick!

You drive quickly!

Don’t forget!

Quick = an adjective = used with a noun = a quick walk.

Quickly = an adverb = used with a verb = he walked quickly.


… is used as an adverb for good.

He did it well. => He was good at it.  

He is doing well in his studies. => He is a good student / He is getting good grades.

You are hiding it well. => I would not have guessed you were feeling sick.

… it can also be used for okay.

It’s all very well if you don’t have children. => if you have children it is very difficult to do.

We’re all doing well. =>We don’t have any problems.

… or to start a sentence, especially if we are hesitant about something.

Well, I would prefer not to. => I don’t want to.

Well, if I have to. => If I have no choice, I’ll do it.


… is used as an adverb and adjective for speed.

He ran fast.

He was a fast runner.

That car is very fast.


… is used to talk about time.

It is late, I must go.

Don’t be late, or they won’t let you in.

She is always late. It is very annoying.


… is used to mean difficult.

=> He found it too hard. => It wasn’t easy for him to do.

… it is also used to mean a big effort is put in.

=> She worked hard. => He put in a big effort.

=> After putting in a hard day’s work, he goes home and cooks for his family. =>

He does a lot of work in the office and then in the house too.


… is used to mean not much or very little.

=> She hardly ever goes to class. => She doesn’t go often.

=> He spends long hours at his desk, but hardly does any work. => Even though he’s at work a lot, he doesn’t do much.

=> I hardly ever drink coffee => I don’t drink coffee very often.

Look out!

LOOK OUT! Often fast and quickly are interchangeable. But not always. For example:

This is okay:

=> He ran fast => He ran quickly. 

We cannot do the same with these examples: 

=> That car is very fast => That car is very quick. => That car moves very quickly.

=> The car pulled over quickly. => The car pulled over fast.

Don’t forget!

Well, fast, and late can be used as adverbs or adjectives.

Well => good

Fast => used to talk about speed

Late => used to talk about time

Hard => a lot of effort (or difficult)

Hardly => very little

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