Learning English: Using Adverb, Adjectives and Linking Verbs

December 02, 2017
english


Adverbs / Adjectives / Linking Verbs

The following is a mini-tutorial on the use of adverbs, adjectives, andlinking verbs. After you have studied the tutorial, complete the associated exercises. If you are already familiar with these topics, you can skip the explanation and go directly to the exercises.

Adverbs

FORM

[adjective + ly]
There are also irregular adverbs such as "well" and "fast."

USE 1

Adverbs can be used to modify verbs.
Examples:
  • John walked quickly towards the door.
  • Sally sat silently waiting for somebody else to speak first.

USE 2

Adverbs can be used to modify adjectives.
Examples:
  • The redwood tree was impressively tall.
  • The blouse was outrageously expensive.

USE 3

Adverbs can be used to modify other adverbs.
Examples:
  • She spoke extremely confidently.
  • The cheetah ran incredibly quickly.

Adjectives

FORM

There are many different adjective endings including "-ive," "-ous," "-y," "-ful," "-ent" and many others. "Attractive," "envious," "lazy," "beautiful," and "intelligent" are all adjectives.

USE 1

Adjectives can be used to modify nouns.
Examples:
  • Jack drives a big car.
  • Sally writes beautiful poems.

USE 2

Adjectives often follow linking verbs (described below).
Examples:
  • Max is tall.
  • Sandra seems mad.

Linking Verbs

LIST

o    to appear
o    to be
o    to become
o    to feel
o    to get
o    to go
o    to grow
o    to look
o    to prove
o    to remain
o    to seem
o    to smell
o    to sound
o    to stay
o    to taste
o    to turn

USE

The linking verbs above are often followed by adjectives instead of adverbs. In such situations, the adjective describes the subject of the sentence rather than the verb. Study the examples below to learn the difference.
Examples:
  • Mary seemed sad. Correct
  • Mary seemed sadly. Not Correct
  • The cake tastes good. Correct
  • The cake tastes well. Not Correct
  • The train is slow. Correct
  • The train is slowly. Not Correct
  • James grew tired. Correct
  • Sarah remained calm. Correct
  • The milk went bad. Correct
  • The seas turned rough. Correct
  • The negotiations proved pointless. Correct

IMPORTANT

The verbs in the list above are not always used as linking verbs. Compare the examples below.
Examples:
  • Sally grew angry.
    "Angry" describes Sally. In this sentence, "to grow" is being used as a linking verb meaning "to become."
  • The plant grew quickly.
    "Quickly" does not describe the plant, it describes the manner in which it grows. In this sentence, "to grow" is not being used as a linking verb.
Read:  Phrasal Verb Dictionary

So / Such

The following is a mini-tutorial on the use of "so" and "such." After you have studied the tutorial, complete the associated exercises. If you already know how to use "so" and "such," you can skip the explanation and go directly to the exercises.

So + Adjective

USE

"So" can be combined with adjectives to show extremes. This form is often used in exclamations.
Examples:
  • The music is so loud! I wish they would turn it down.
  • The meal was so good! It was worth the money.

USE with "That"

The above form can be combined with "that" to show extremes which lead to certain results. The "that" is usually optional.
Examples:
  • The music is so loud that I can't sleep.
  • The music is so loud I can't sleep.
  • The meal was so good that we decided to have dinner at the same restaurant again tonight.
  • The meal was so good we decided to have dinner at the same restaurant again tonight.

So + Adverb

USE

"So" can be combined with adverbs to show extreme actions. This form is often used in exclamations.
Examples:
  • She spoke so quickly! She sounded like an auctioneer.
  • He paints so well! I am sure he is going to become a famous artist.

USE with "That"

The above form can be combined with "that" to show extreme actions which lead to certain results. The "that" is usually optional.
Examples:
  • She spoke so quickly that I couldn't understand her.
  • She spoke so quickly I couldn't understand her.
  • He paints so well that they offered him a scholarship at an art school in Paris.
  • He paints so well they offered him a scholarship at an art school in Paris.

So + Many / Few + Plural Noun

USE

"So" can be combined with "many" or "few" plus a plural noun to show extremes in amount. This form is often used in exclamations.
Examples:
  • I never knew you had so many brothers!
  • She has so few friends! It's really quite sad.

USE with "That"

The above form can be combined with "that" to show extremes in amount which lead to certain results. The "that" is usually optional.
Examples:
  • I never knew you had so many brothers that you had to share a bedroom.
  • I never knew you had so many brothers you had to share a bedroom.
  • She has so few friends that she rarely gets out of the house.
  • She has so few friends she rarely gets out of the house.

So + Much / Little + Non-countable Noun

USE

"So" can be combined with "much" or "little" plus a non-countable noun to show extremes in amount. This form is often used in exclamations.
Examples:
  • Jake earns so much money! And he still has trouble paying the rent.
  • They have so little food! We need to do something to help them.

USE with "That"

The above form can be combined with "that" to show extremes in amount which lead to certain results. The "that" is usually optional.
Examples:
  • Jake earns so much money that he has lost all sense of what a dollar is worth.
  • Jake earns so much money he has lost all sense of what a dollar is worth.
  • They have so little food that they are starving to death.
  • They have so little food they are starving to death.

So + Much / Little / Often / Rarely

USE

"So" can be combined with words like "much," "little," "often," or "rarely" to describe how much or how often someone does an action. This form is often used in exclamations.
Examples:
  • Earl drinks so much! It's not good for his health.
  • My sister visits us so rarely! I really miss her.

USE with "That"

The above form can be combined with "that" to show the results of extreme actions. The "that" is usually optional.
Examples:
  • Earl drinks so much that it is starting to interfere with his work.
  • Earl drinks so much it is starting to interfere with his work.
  • My sister visits us so rarely that my kids wouldn't even recognize her.
  • My sister visits us so rarely my kids wouldn't even recognize her.

Such + Adjective + Noun

USE

"Such" can be combined with an adjective and a noun to show extremes. This form is often used in exclamations.
Examples:
  • Don has such a big house! I think it's a little ridiculous.
  • Shelly has such beautiful eyes! I have never seen that shade of blue before.

USE with "That"

The above form can be combined with "that" to show extremes which lead to certain results. The "that" is usually optional.
Examples:
  • Don has such a big house that I actually got lost on the way to the bathroom.
  • Don has such a big house I actually got lost on the way to the bathroom.
  • Shelly has such beautiful eyes that she got a job as a make-up model.
  • Shelly has such beautiful eyes she got a job as a make-up model.

NOTE

Remember that without the noun you need to use "so."
Examples:
  • such beautiful eyes that
  • so beautiful that

Such + Judgemental Noun

USE

"Such" can also be combined with judgemental nouns for emphasis. This form is often used in exclamations.
Examples:
  • He is such an idiot! He says the stupidest things.
  • She is such a genius! We could never do this work without her.

USE with "That"

The above form can be combined with "that" to show certain results. The "that" is usually optional.
Examples:
  • He is such an idiot that nobody would hire him.
  • He is such an idiot nobody would hire him.
  • She is such a genius that they immediately gave her a position at the university.
  • She is such a genius they immediately gave her a position at the university.

Such + Noun (This type of...)

USE

"Such" can also mean "this type of..." or "that type of..."
Examples:
  • The archeologist had never seen such writing before he discovered the tablet.
    this/that type of writing
  • She usually doesn't receive such criticism.
    this/that kind of criticism
  • Frank has never made such mistakes before.
    these/those kinds of mistakes

EXERCISES AND RELATED TOPICS:

Let / Make / Have / Get

The following is a mini-tutorial on the use of the causative verbs "let," "make," "have," and "get." After you have studied the tutorial, complete the associated exercises. If you already know how to use these verbs, you can skip the explanation and go directly to the exercises.

Let

FORM

[let + person + verb]

USE

This construction means "to allow someone to do something."
Examples:
  • John let me drive his new car.
  • Will your parents let you go to the party?
  • I don't know if my boss will let me take the day off.

Make

FORM

[make + person + verb]

USE

This construction means "to force someone to do something."
Examples:
  • My teacher made me apologize for what I had said.
  • Did somebody make you wear that ugly hat?
  • She made her children do their homework.

Have

FORM

[have + person + verb]

USE

This construction means "to give someone the responsibility to do something."
Examples:
  • Dr. Smith had his nurse take the patient's temperature.
  • Please have your secretary fax me the information.
  • I had the mechanic check the brakes.

Get

FORM

[get + person + to + verb]

USE

This construction usually means "to convince to do something" or "to trick someone into doing something."
Examples:
  • Susie got her son to take the medicine even though it tasted terrible.
  • How can parents get their children to read more?
  • The government TV commercials are trying to get people to stop smoking.

Get vs. Have

Sometimes "get someone to do something" is interchangeable with "have someone do something," but these expressions do not mean exactly the same thing.
Examples:
  • I got the mechanic to check my brakes.
    At first the mechanic didn't think it was necessary, but I convinced him to check the brakes.
  • I had the mechanic check my brakes.
    I asked the mechanic to check the brakes.
The past tense is sometimes used in English to refer to an 'unreal' situation. So, although the tense is the past, we are usually talking about the present, e.g. in a Type 2 conditional sentence:
If an elephant and a mouse fell in love, they would have many problems.
Although fell is in the past tense, we are talking about a hypothetical situation that might exist now or at any time, but we are not referring to the past. We call this use the unreal past.
Other situations where this occurs are:
  • after other words and expressions like 'if' (supposing, if only, what if);
  • after the verb 'to wish';
  • after the expression 'I'd rather..'

Expressions like 'if'

The following expressions can be used to introduce hypothetical situations:
- supposing, if only, what if. They are followed by a past tense to indicate that the condition they introduce is unreal:
  • Supposing an elephant and a mouse fell in love? (= but we know this is unlikely or impossible)
  • What if we painted the room purple? (= that would be very surprising)
  • If only I had more money. (= but I haven't).
These expressions can also introduce hypothetical situations in the past and then they are followed by the past perfect.

Examples

  • If only I hadn't kissed the frog (= I did and it was a mistake because he turned into a horrible prince, but I can't change it now.)
  • What if the elephant had trodden on the mouse? (She didn't, but we can imagine the result!)
  • Supposing I had given that man my money! (I didn't, so I've still got my money now.)

The verb to wish

The verb to wish is followed by an 'unreal' past tense when we want to talk about situations in the present that we are not happy about but cannot change:
  • I wish I had more money (=but I haven't)
  • She wishes she was beautiful (= but she's not)
  • We wish we could come to your party (but we can't)
When we want to talk about situations in the past that we are not happy about or actions that we regret, we use the verb to wish followed by the past perfect:
  • I wish I hadn't said that (= but I did)
  • He wishes he hadn't bought the car (= but he did buy it.)
  • I wish I had taken that job in New York (= but I didn't, so I'm stuck in Bristol)
NOTE: When we want to talk about situations we are not happy about and where we want someone else to change them, we use to wish followed by would + infinitive:
  • I wish he would stop smoking. (= I don't like it, I want him to change it)
  • I wish you would go away. (= I don't want you here, I want you to take some action)
  • I wish you wouldn't squeeze the toothpaste from the middle! (= I want you to change your habits.)

I'd rather and it's time...

These two expressions are also followed by an unreal past. The verb is in the past tense, but the situation is in the present.
When we want to talk about a course of action we would prefer someone else to take, we use I'd rather + past tense:
  • I'd rather you went
  • He'd rather you called the police
  • I'd rather you didn't hunt elephants.
NOTE: the stress can be important in these sentences, to show what our preference is:
  • I'd rather you went = not me,
  • I'd rather you went = don't stay
  • He'd rather you called the police = he doesn't want to
  • He'd rather you called the police = not the ambulance service
Similarly, when we want to say that now is a suitable moment to do something, either for ourselves or for someone else, we use it's time + past tense:
  • It's (high) time I went.
  • It's time you paid that bill.
  • Don't you think it's time you had a haircut?
It is possible for the two parts of a conditional sentence to refer to different times, and the resulting sentence is a "mixed conditional" sentence. There are two types of mixed conditional sentence:

A. Present result of past condition:

1. Form

The tense in the 'if' clause is the past perfect, and the tense in the main clause is the present conditional:
'IF' CLAUSE
MAIN CLAUSE
If + past perfect
If I had worked harder at school
If we had looked at the map
Present conditional
I would have a better job now.
we wouldn't be lost.

2. Function

In these sentences, the time is past in the 'if' clause, and present in the main clause. They refer to an unreal past condition and its probable result in the present. They express a situation which is contrary to reality both in the past and in the present:
'If I had worked harder at school' is contrary to past fact - I didn't work hard at school, and 'I would have a better job now' is contrary to present fact - I haven't got a good job.
If we had looked at the map (we didn't), we wouldn't be lost (we are lost).

Examples

  • I would be a millionaire now if I had taken that job.
  • If you'd caught that plane you'd be dead now.
  • If you hadn't spent all your money on CDs, you wouldn't be broke.

B. Past result of present or continuing condition.

1. Form

The tense in the If-clause is the simple past, and the tense in the main clause is the perfect conditional:
'IF' CLAUSE
MAIN CLAUSE
If + simple past
If I wasn't afraid of spiders
If we didn't trust him
Perfect conditional
I would have picked it up.
we would have sacked him months ago.

2. Function

In these sentences the time in the If-clause is now or always, and the time in the main clause is before now. They refer to an unreal present situation and its probable (but unreal) past result:
  • 'If I wasn't afraid of spiders' is contrary to present reality - I am afraid of spiders, and 'I would have picked it up' is contrary to past reality - I didn't pick it up.
  • 'If we didn't trust him' is contrary to present reality - we do trust him, and 'we would have sacked him' is contrary to past reality - we haven't sacked him.

Examples

a. If she wasn't afraid of flying she wouldn't have travelled by boat.
b. I'd have been able to translate the letter if my Italian was better.
c. If I was a good cook, I'd have invited them to lunch.
d. If the elephant wasn't in love with the mouse, she'd have trodden on him by now.

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