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Can Adjectives Be Used As Adverbs

Students learn the basic rules that adjectives modify nouns and pronouns and that adverbs modify verbs and other adverbs.   But what would students answer if teachers asked them, ‘can adjectives be used as adverbs?’ We are going to explore the possible answers below.

Adjectives can be used as adverbs by following four spelling rules viz. add ‘ly,’ ‘ily,’ ‘ally’ to the adjective and it becomes an adverb.  In words ending in ‘le,’ the ‘e’ is replaced by the letter ‘y’.  Some words have the same form and are used for adjectives and adverbs.

In this article, you will find out how to use adjectives as adverbs, and we have included some fun activities for students to practice using these adverbs.

Can Adjectives Be Used As Adverbs?

Adjectives can be used as adverbs, but there are specific rules that students need to follow.       Before we discuss these rules, let’s begin by first recollecting the definition of an adverb and an adjective.


Adverbs modify (describe) a verb or other adverbs.   Adverbs tell; (how, when, where, why, to what extent, how often, how much). Some examples of adverbs are:

  • He sings loudly ( tells how)
  • He speaks very slowly (adverb very tells how slowly)
  • They arrived yesterday (tells when)
  • They will leave within an hour (this adverb phrase tells when)
  • We must go inside (tells where)
  • We looked in the kitchen (this adverb phrase tells where)
  • Sam went home to avoid trouble (the adverb phrase tells why)
  • Mary scrubs the carpet strenuously (tells to what extent)
  • Linda goes for a walk whenever she can (this adverb phrase tells to what extent)

You can access our Adverb worksheets here or on the link below.


An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun. Adjectives tell (what kind, how many, or which) about nouns or pronouns. Some examples of adjectives are:

  • Sam has black shoes (what kind)
  • They have five cats and ten dogs (how many)
  • She took the blue handbag (which)

Now that we are once again familiar with an adjective and a verb, we can look at the rules for using adjectives as adverbs.

How To Form Adjectives Into Adverbs

Adjectives can be formed into adverbs by following these rules:


Add the letters ‘ly’ to the adjective to form the adverb.

AdjectiveAdverbExample Sentence
quick (quick fox)
sudden (sudden wind) nice (nice house) polite (polite man)
quickly suddenly nicely politelyLook how quickly she jumps over the fence. The wind blew suddenly, and it started to rain. She combed his hair nicely. Sam politely excused himself from the table.

Note:  there are some exceptions to spelling where the ‘e’ in the adjective falls away when adding the letters ‘ly .’E.g. true = truly, due = duly

Rule 2

When an adjective ends with a ‘y’, add the letters ‘ily’ to form the adverb.

AdjectiveAdverbExample Sentence
happy (happy boy)
lazy (lazy dog)
hungry (hungry man)
amazing (amazing toy)
happily lazily hungrily amazinglyJohn happily helped Mary with her chores. The woman stretched out lazily on the couch. She ate her food hungrily. They did the job amazingly well.

Rule 3

In adjectives ending with ‘le’ replace the letter ‘e’ with’ y’.

AdjectiveAdverbExample Sentence
terrible (terrible wind) comfortable (comfortable shoes)
possible (possible disease)
incredible (incredible food)
terribly comfortably possibly incrediblyJustin cooks terribly salty food. I can wear these clothes comfortably. You are possibly going to fall. They must be incredibly busy packing for their trip.

Rule 4

Adjectives ending in ‘ic,’ add the letters ‘ally’ to form the adverb.

AdjectiveAdverbExample Sentence
realistic enthusiastic   economicrealistically enthusiastically   economicallyWe should think about it realistically. She was dancing enthusiastically to the music. It’s not economically viable to buy a property this year.

Same Form

Some adverbs have the same form as the adjective.

hard high
He runs very fast. He works hard. The bird flew very high.  This motorcycle is fast. This exam is very hard. The wind blew the kite high in the sky.

Activities For Using Adjectives As Adverbs

Once students have grasped the rules and can change adjectives into adverbs, they will need some repetition and practice. Here are a few activities and a game that students can use for their practice sessions.

We have a selection of links that lead to our FREE Adjective resources below.


Worksheet exercises are the most commonly used for practicing grammar, and students complete each worksheet individually. They can be in word puzzles or ‘fill in the missing word’ exercises. A few examples are:

Change adjectives into adverbs (Write the answer in the block) E.g.

  • Jake plays __________ in the garden (happy)
  • They ran out of the cinema ____________ (quick)

Is the underlined word an adjective or an adverb? E.g

  • They watched the film happily.
  • The scratch was long.

Which is the correct answer? Adjective or Adverb? E.g.

  • Jake is very hungry/hungrily today.
  • The band plays fantastic/fantastically.

Fill in the correct form? Well / Good. E.g

  • I always do ________ in my exam.
  • Janet is ________ at baking cake.
  • We also have Adjective activities and worksheets on the site here.

Adjective/Adverb ‘ly’ Game

This is a board game that three students can play. You can adjust the game to accommodate more students if you like. 

You will need:

  • Cardstock (A2/A1) white or colored
  • Three small plastic toy cars (different colors)
  • Pictures of trees, houses, shops, pedestrians, etc.
  • Colored marker pens (black and a few other bright colors)

How to Prepare the game

  • Draw 3 traffic lanes over the cardstock length, wide enough so that the toy car will fit in the road. Mark the middle of each lane with a white center line.
  • Draw or paste pictures along the sides of the lanes to resemble a roadway, E.g., trees, shops, houses, etc.
  • At the bottom end, write the word ‘START’ and at the top ‘FINISH.’
  • Along each lane, beginning at the start, clearly write a number 1 to 6 (or as many as you can fit) at intervals of about 2 of the toy car lengths. (*before you do this, read instruction no five below).
  • At the 3rd interval, mark it with a block, and in the block, write the word ‘Stop.’
  • Continue to write the next two intervals with a number followed by a block with the word ‘Stop’ until you reach the top of the page.
  • Print off the Flashcards (about 15) we have some here with Adjective/Adverb printed at the top and the words printed below, E.g.
  • Below adjective the word ‘happy’ and below Adverb the word ‘happily”
  • On the flip side of the flashcard, write two corresponding sentences (the boy plays ____ with the ball) and (the boy is ______ ).
  • The student reads the sentence and chooses the correct word to fill in the blank spaces.
  • You could use the other rules for changing adjectives into adverbs by writing the “ally’, ‘ily’ or well/good words on the flashcards with their corresponding sentences.

How to play:

  • Each student will place their car at the start of one of the traffic lanes.
  • They will each have a chance to throw the dice. They have to throw a ‘6’ to start the game. Whoever throws a ‘6’ first starts the game. Each student gets a chance to throw the dice. Students wait until the car moves on the board before throwing the dice so that they can follow the game in an orderly manner. 
  • The student starts the game by placing the car on the first center line in their lane.
  • They will continue to throw the no ‘6’ on the dice to proceed along the line until they reach their first ‘STOP’.
  • They will then select a card from the pack of flashcards and will answer the question. The student will read the sentence aloud so that the other students can hear. If the answer is correct, the student can throw the dice again and continue.
  • If the answer is wrong, they may not throw the dice, and their car will remain on the same spot until their turn comes to throw the ‘6’ again and choose another flashcard.
  • The game continues until a winner reaches the finish line first.

This game can be played by all students in the class, depending on the number of students; you can make a traffic board and a different set of flashcards for each group. The winners from each group could compete against each other until there is an overall winner.   Be sure to make extra flashcards for the group winners.

You could make each board different by using boats, trains, busses or planes and changing the traffic scene to a railway and a station or planes flying over the map of the world.

ly’ Rally is a fun activity that students will enjoy and practice their adjectives and adverbs at the same time. There is also an online version here.

We also have an Adjective game to try with a bit more movement called adjective adventurer here.

Another tricky aspect of adjective and adverbs is the order they should appear in in sentences. We often encourage our students to expand their writing by using adjectives but all too often we neglect how they write these correctly and in the correct order. We have information to help with this below.


An adjective is used as an adverb if the four spelling rules are applied to adjust the adjective. By applying these rules, students will be able to use the correct spelling, and by knowing the rules of when to use an adjective or an adverb, they will successfully be able to change adjectives into adverbs. 

By including activities and games into their lessons, learning and practicing these rules will be more fun, and students will be more eager to learn.







I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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