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Common Writing Mistakes: Adjectives & Adverbs

Common Writing Mistakes Quiz: Adjectives & Adverbs

What’s wrong with these sentences?

1. Frank feels well whenever he finishes a new blog post.

2. Craig speaks good in the audio presentations he does.

3. Most learners feel badly about low exam scores.

4. Craig never handles his teaching bad.

They misuse the adjectives “good” and “bad” as well as the adverbs “well” and “badly.” You’d be surprised how many native speakers of English are guilty of misusing these words.

As you probably know, adjectives such as “good” and “bad” modify nouns. On the other hand, the adverbs “well” and “badly” modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.

Let’s correct the sentences.

  • The first sentence should read “Frank feels good . . .” The word “feel” is a copulative verb, just like “am,” which is followed by an adjective. However, some people accept the expression, “I feel well,” when referring to health.
  • The second sentence should read, “Craig speaks well  . . .” The adverb “well” describes the way Craig speaks. His English is good, but he always does things well.
  • Just like the first sentence, the correct form is “Most learners feel bad . . .” We use the adjective “bad” rather than the adverb “badly” with the copulative verb “feel.” You could, however, say “I feel badly the need to know more about this subject.” In this case, “badly” modifies the verb and not the subject. English, just as any language, has its complexities.
  • The fourth sentence calls for the adverb “badly” modifying the verb “handles.” “Craig never handles his teaching badly.”

So, by following these simple guidelines you will write English well and feel good about yourself. You won’t make bad mistakes like those who are badly informed.

Now you try it. Complete each sentence with the best word: good, well, bad, badly.

1. Business English HQ will help you communicate __________.
2. __________ is an adverb that usually means poorly or inadequately.
3. Business English HQ has many __________ posts dealing with common writing problems.
4. If you think your English is __________, get the Business English HQ Guide to Writing.

Answers:

1. well, 2. badly, 3. good, 4. bad

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