Broadly speaking, adverbs are words that describe how an action is performed, while adjectives describe the qualities of an object or person.\r\n\r\nBoth of these word types are crucial to writing descriptive, grammatical sentences, though, so it\u2019s vital to know how they work. In the following, we run through the basics.\r\nAdverbs (Actions)\r\nMost of the time, adverbs are used to modify verbs (i.e. action words). This is typically to show the manner in which an action was performed. For example:\r\nBoris danced happily when he heard the news.\r\nHere, the adverb \u2018happily\u2019 modifies the verb \u2018danced\u2019, giving us more information about how the person in the sentence is dancing.\r\n\r\nAdverbs can also be used to modify adjectives or other adverbs. With adjectives, this is usually to add further detail to a description:\r\nBeryl was extremely tired that evening.\r\nHere, the adverb \u2018extremely\u2019 shows the degree to which the adjective \u2018tired\u2019 applies.\r\n\r\nSimilarly, when used with another adverb, adverbs add more detail to a description:\r\nAfter starting to feel ill, Boris decided to eat more slowly.\r\nIn this sentence, the adverb \u2018slowly\u2019 is combined with the comparative adverb \u2018more\u2019, which provides additional information about how the verb \u2018eat\u2019 is performed.\r\nAdjectives (Things)\r\nAdjectives are mostly used to modify nouns and pronouns. This means that they describe the qualities or attributes of someone or something. The qualities described by adjectives include:\r\n\r\n \tTaste (e.g. \u2018a delicious biscuit\u2019)\r\n \tTouch (e.g. \u2018a soft pillow\u2019)\r\n \tColour (e.g. \u2018a red car\u2019)\r\n \tShape and size (e.g. \u2018a small, circular window\u2019)\r\n \tSound (e.g. \u2018a hushed whisper\u2019)\r\n \tAge and duration (e.g. \u2018the young woman gave a short speech\u2019)\r\n \tStates of being (e.g. \u2018a flaming torch\u2019)\r\n \tEmotions and character (e.g. \u2018a sad clown\u2019)\r\n\r\nUsing an adjective to give more information about a noun is crucial in descriptive writing. It can also help us identify the particular thing we\u2019re discussing (e.g. if we wanted to refer specifically to the \u2018sad clown\u2019, not the \u2018happy clown\u2019 employed by the same circus).\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_2836" align="aligncenter" width="377"] The sad clown and the happy clown were both scared of the creepy clown.[\/caption]\r\nMixing Up Adverbs and Adjectives\r\nOne common mistake is confusing adverbial and adjectival forms of the same basic word. For example, it\u2019s not unusual to see a sentence like the following:\r\nThe cheetah ran quick!\r\nBut \u2018quick\u2019 is an adjective, while the adverb is \u2018quickly\u2019. So the sentence should be:\r\nThe cheetah ran quickly!\r\n\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_2835" align="aligncenter" width="397"] It'd beat us in a race any day.(Photo: Malene Thyssen\/wikimedia)[\/caption]\r\n\r\nSince most adverbs end in \u2018-ly\u2019, you can usually tell adverbs and adjectives apart from the word ending. You can even form adverbs from adjectives by adding \u2018-ly\u2019 to the end sometimes (or switching the \u2018y\u2019 for an \u2018-ily\u2019 when a word already ends in a \u2018y\u2019).\r\n\r\nHowever, this isn\u2019t always the case, such as with adverbs like \u2018now\u2019 or \u2018almost\u2019.\r\n\r\nWhichever word you use, though, it\u2019s important to make sure you pick the right term, since mixing up adverbs and adjectives can detract from the fluency of your writing.