You're a Total Grammar Genius if You Can Ace This Adjectives and Adverbs Quiz

Zoe Samuel

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About This Quiz

You will remember from elementary school that while a noun is a naming word (eg cat, dog, tree), and a verb is a doing word (eg run, jump, fight), each is a part of speech that can be qualified or contextualized by other words. Adjectives and adverbs are two such options. Adjectives are describing words, whether simple physical descriptors like big, tall or red, or more nuanced and less tangible descriptors such as thoughtful, furtive, or salubrious. Adverbs are qualifying words that typically get linked to a verb to provide more information about it. These can be more common ones, like "He ran quickly" or more arcane ones such as, "She said sagaciously."

While littering your speech with excessive adjectives and adverbs will make you sound either insincere or excessively enthused, a well-placed describing word or qualifying word can go a long way to add precision, color and human interest to a story. Adjectives and adverbs are usually superfluous in some kinds of speech - for example political speech, where they seem flowery, or in a movie script where too many will tread on the director's toes. However, in prose, poetry and everyday speech, they are a great way to take your communication level from good to great. Let's see if you've mastered them!

What does it mean to be adamant?

To be adamant means to be impossible to persuade; to be firm; to be resolved.

What is the most common ending for adjectives?

Most adverbs end "ly," as in happily, sadly, etc.

What is NOT an example of a conjunctive adverb?

Conjunctive adverbs connect two main ideas in a sentence.

Can the word "my" ever be an adjective?

When you say, for example, "My cat," you are describing the cat using the possessive word "my". That word distinguishes the cat from other cats.

What is the adjective in the sentence, "The woman looked kindly at her friend"?

Technically, "her" is an adjective here, because it's qualifying the friend.

Which of these is NOT an adjective in the sentence, "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog?"

There are three adjectives in that sentence!

What is an example of a superlative adjective?

Superlatives mean the most of something: funniest, cleverest, prettiest, etc.

Which one is the odd one out?

All the others give off light: reflective is about giving it back.

What is a person like if they are "rhadamanthine"?

Stern and strict rules or people are "rhadamanthine."

What is the adverb in the sentence, "He did the difficult task very well"?

There's no -ly on this one, but "well" is an adverb.

Which is the odd one out?

If you're eloquent, that means you use words very well. If you are loquacious, talkative or chatty, you use a lot of words, but it doesn't mean you use them well.

Which is the adverb in the phrase, "Do not go gently into that good night"?

It's an unusual use of "gently," but it's correct.

Which word means the same as munificent?

All the others are about giving more than you have to: miserly is the opposite.

Which of these is an adjective that cannot also be used as an adverb?

Ugly may end in -ly, but it's not an adverb.

Which is the odd one out?

While something that is abnormal could indeed be deemed weird, wacky or quirky, "abnormal" has pejorative connotations that the other words don't have.

Which popular parlor game uses adverbs and mime along with guessing?

In the Manner of the Word is a miming game similar to charades in which an adverb is chosen by all but one player, who is out of the room at the time. This player assigns mimes to people, eg "Climb a tree in the manner of the word" and must guess what the word is. Whoever does a mime good enough to convey the word wins that round and is the next guesser.

Which of these is not modified by adverbs, but instead by adjectives?

Adjectives also modify nouns, as we have seen already.

Which of these is a synonym for salubrious?

If something is salubrious then it is wholesome and pleasant, like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Which means the same as "nefarious"?

A nefarious person might be notorious but they aren't necessarily (especially if they are good at their nefarious schemes!).

Which is the odd one out?

Being silly can also be playful etc, but it also means simply being ridiculous.

In English word order, where do adjectives typically appear?

We usually say "a big house," not "a house, big." This is different to other languages which often do it the other way around.

Which of these adjectives is least commonly used in everyday speech?

If you didn't know the word until you were over the age of 8, you can safely assume it's not in the most-used list.

Where should adverbs and adjectives never appear, according to grammar purists?

Technically, you shouldn't split infinitives eg "to boldly go." However poetic license says this is fine.

Which is the odd one out?

Just because you're hungry doesn't mean you are going to eat too much!

Which means the same as shrewdly?

To be shrewd is to be smart in a particular way, but it doesn't inherently mean you're dishonest, just that you're on the ball and a little bit manipulative.

Can an adjective mean something different depending on what it is describing?

An adjective can mean something different in both these ways. Eg black market vs black paint.

Which of these is NOT the same as pretty?

To be homely is to be plain. All the others mean pretty.

Which is the odd one out?

If you're dainty, you might also be judicious - but you aren't necessarily.

Which does NOT mean the same as eager?

If you're antsy then you are restless, but it doesn't mean you're eager about anything in particular, just that you aren't satisfied with your situation at that moment.

Who said "I am dead to adverbs; they cannot excite me"?

Twain was commenting on the excessive use of the adverb, which is indeed a very good way to slow down a story!

Which does NOT mean the same as tenacious?

To be irresolute is the very opposite of being tenacious!

Which is the odd one out?

If you do something hastily, sure, you might do it speedily - but you also might fulfill the saying, "More haste, less speed."

Which is the adverb in the sentence, "She addressed him in a friendly manner"?

Friendly looks like an adverb because of the -ly, but it's an adjective!

Which is the adjective in the sentence, "It's a hard-knock life"?

Yep, there are two, though clearly they go together in this instance!

Which is the odd one out?

All the others mean something like quiet or not prone to speak. Pensive means thoughtful.

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