ABE English Tutorials/simple sentences/Adding modifiers

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Adding modifiers

Tutorial.png Simple Sentences 

Intro to writing skills | Intro to a sentence | Helping verbs | Adding modifiers | Kinds of sentences | Writing simple sentences | Finding objects and phrases | Here and There | Spelling: Part 1 | Spelling List 1 | Writing with objects and phrases | Verbs that change with Number | Verbs that change with Time | Irregular Verbs | Verb Participles | Writing with verb tenses | Compound Subjects | Subject-Verb Agreeement | Understanding sentence lists | Sentence Fragments | Writing sentence lists | Review for Unit 1 |


You have learned that a basic sentence has a subject noun and a verb. In this very simple sentence,

The woman walks.

... "walks" is the verb and "the woman" is the subject noun.

The word walks is a verb because it is an action, somebody or thing doing something.

A noun is the name given to a person, a place, or a thing.

For example, you are a student. You are studying at a computer. and the computer is on a desk These are nouns. Your name is a noun.

This is a complete sentence, but it is a rather simple. We can add information:

The tall woman walks.

Or maybe...

The tall, blonde woman walks.

Words that describe a noun are called adjectives, There are thousands of adjectives to choose from. Here are just a few examples:

  • beautiful
  • ugly
  • short
  • long red
  • blue
  • magenta
  • aqua one
  • two
  • two hundred
  • six million good
  • righteous
  • small
  • gigantic

Of course, you can add adjectives to just about any noun, not just the subject. The adjectives have been bolded in these examples:

  • The little boy hated the rainy day.
  • Two black cats jumped up on the broken fence.
  • My oldest brother is a good gardener.

Find the adjectives in the following sentences:

  • That new house has five bathrooms.
  • Four heavy books were on the shelf.
  • Did you see the hilarious movie?
  • The beautiful, little town was hit by a fierce winter storm.

Here are the same sentences, with the adjectives shown in bold:

  • That new house has five bathrooms.
  • Four heavy books were on the shelf.
  • Did you see the hilarious movie?
  • The beautiful little town was hit by a fierce winter storm.

Let's look back at our original sentence:

The woman walks.

We added adjectives to make the noun (woman) more interesting. But we can also add words that will tell us more about the verb (walks):

The tall woman walks quickly. Or: The tall woman walks slowly but confidently.

Words that describe the verb are called adverbs. Adverbs tell when, where and how an action was done. Here are just a few adverbs that we use often:

  • now
  • yesterday
  • later
  • here outside
  • well
  • happily
  • there faithfully
  • barely
  • completely
  • sadly immediately
  • carefully
  • badly
  • cheerfully

As you can see, many adverbs end in -ly. In fact, you can make just about any adjective into an adverb, just by adding -ly: Adjective Adverb

  • beautiful
  • nice
  • kind
  • outrageous beautifully
  • nicely
  • kindly
  • outrageously

Find the adverbs in the following sentences:

  1. The injured animal fought fiercely.
  2. I put my car keys here on the table.
  3. Julian tended the garden well.
  4. Politely but firmly, Kira insisted on seeing the teacher.

Here are the answers:

  1. fiercely -- tells how the animal fought
  2. here -- tells where I left my keys
  3. well -- tells how Julian tended the garden
  4. politely and firmly -- tells how Kira insisted

Did you notice the two words, good and well? Good is an adjective: it describes what someone or something is like. Well is an adverb: it describes how something was done. Many people use good when they should be using well:

Incorrect: She did her work good. (good can only be used to describe someone or something. You can't use it to describe how something was done.) Correct: She did her work well. (well is describing how she did her work.)

Adjectives and Adverbs add information to a sentence. But they cannot take the place of the subject or verb!

If you're ready for the homework, click here.