Then why not use our learning videos, and practice for school with learning games.Try for 30 Days
Basics on the topic Modifying Words
Modifying Words – Definition
What are modifiers in English grammar? Let’s have a look at the definition:
Modifiers or modifying words are words that add additional meaning to words or describe them. Modifying means changing or providing more information. The most common types of modifiers in English grammar are adjectives and adverbs. They help us describe words and create pictures in our minds.
- Adjectives are describing words that come before nouns. They answer the question, “What is something like?”. For example: a pink sofa, a large box, a brave girl.
- Adverbs are describing words that come before or after verbs. They answer the question, “How do you do it?”. Some examples of adverbs are: moved slowly, worked hard, carefully opened.
Modifying Words – Examples
Let’s take a look at some examples of modifiers in grammar.
We will use the sentence ”A hamster runs in a wheel.” as an example.
First, we need to identify the noun or the verb we want to modify. Let’s start with the noun hamster. We can modify it by adding an adjective that will answer the question of what a hamster is like. Let’s add the adjective brown:
A brown hamster runs in a wheel.
Now we can imagine a brown hamster in our minds. If we change the adjective to big or funny, the picture in our minds changes.
- A big hamster runs in a wheel.
Now, let’s identify the verb. The verb in this sentence is runs and we can modify it by adding an adverb that will answer the question of how something is being done. Let’s add the adverb quickly:
A brown hamster quickly runs in a wheel.
We can now picture a hamster running fast in a wheel. If we change the adverb to happily or quietly, the image in our minds will change again.
A brown hamster happily runs in a wheel.
Modifying Words – Summary
Modifiers or modifying words are words that add additional meaning to words or describe them. We can modify nouns and verbs with adjectives and adverbs. Adjectives come before nouns and answer the question “What is something like?” Adverbs come before or after verbs and answer the question “How do you do it?”
|Come before nouns.
|Come before or after verbs.
|Answers “What is something like?”
|Answers “How do you do it?”
| Examples: yellow, amazing, huge,
| Examples: happily, surprisingly,
carefully, fast, emotionally
Apart from adjectives and adverbs, adjective phrases and adverbial phrases or clauses and prepositional phrases can also serve as modifiers in a sentence.
Now you know how to add meaning to sentences using modifying words. You can get more practice with the help of our video, activities and modifiers in grammar worksheets!
Frequently Asked Questions about Modifying Words
Transcript Modifying Words
Koko and Bertha have a stand at the farmer's market, but they don't seem to be getting any customers except for Pip, who is eating all of the free samples. "I don't know why no one is coming to your stand. Who doesn't like strawberry jam? It's so sweet and tasty!" "Do you think it's because the sign doesn't describe anything about our jam?" In order for Koko and Bertha's jam stand to be a success, they will need to learn about modifying words. We can give additional meaning to words by modifying nouns and verbs. Modifying means changing something or giving more information about it. We modify words by adding adjectives and adverbs to sentences. Adjectives and adverbs help create pictures in our minds. You might already know that adjectives are describing words that come before nouns. These words answer questions like 'what is something like?' Examples of adjectives include a friendly neighbour, a tiny mouse or a great book. An adverb is a describing word that can go before or after a verb and answers the question, "How do you do it?" Examples of adverbs are loudly talked or woke early. First, let’s see how modifying a noun adds meaning to a sentence. We’ll use 'the dog played outside’ as our example. First, we'll identify the noun which is dog. Now, we’ll modify the noun by adding an adjective that will answer the question of what the dog is like. Let's add the word "black" before dog. The black dog played outside. "Black" gives us information about the dog so we picture what it looks like in our minds. We have created an expanded noun phrase. We can change the adjective and modify "dog" again. Let’s replace "black" with "small." The small dog played outside. How did the picture in your mind change? "Small" gives us additional information about how the dog looks. Let’s see what happens to the meaning if we modify it one more time. We’ll replace "small" with "shy". The shy dog played outside. How did the picture in your mind change now? "Shy" makes us picture the dog having an unsure look on its face and is quietly playing with itself. Now we'll modify the verb by adding an adverb that will answer the question of how something is being done. We’ll use the sentence "Pip walked to the market" for our example. First, let’s identify the verb which is walked. Next, we will add a word that will describe how Pip walked. We will put the word, quickly, here. Pip quickly walked to the market. The adverb, "quickly" adds meaning to "walked." We can picture Pip being in a hurry to get to the market. What happens if we replace "quickly" with "slowly"? In this sentence, we would picture Pip taking his time to get to the market. Let's try one more adverb. This time we'll add "bravely" after the verb. Pip walked bravely to the market. How does "bravely" change what we picture? "Bravely" tells us that Pip would be walking with his head up high and his chest out. While Koko and Bertha hang up their new sign, let's review. Remember, we can give additional meaning to words by modifying nouns and verbs with adjectives and adverbs. Adjectives and adverbs describe words to help create pictures in our minds. Looks like business has picked up for Koko and Bertha!
Modifying Words exercise
Help Pip define adjectives and adverbs.Hints
Loudly is an example of an adverb. Loudly describes the word sing in the sentence:
To sing loudly.
Is sing a verb or a noun?
Quiet is an example of an adjective. It describes the mouse in the sentence:
The quiet mouse.
Is mouse a verb or a noun?
Remember: verbs are words that show actions like jump, frown and ask.
Nouns are people, places or things like chickens, Joe and house.Solution
- describe nouns
- describe what something is like
- describe verbs
- describe how something is done
What adjectives are on the new sign?Hints
Find the noun in the sentence.
Nouns can be people and animals, places or things.
For example, a dog, a boat and a banana are all nouns.
The noun is jam.
How is the jam described?Solution
Amazing and sweet are adjectives! They describe the noun, jam.
Complete the sentences.Hints
Find the verb and nouns in each sentence.
Large, yellow and small are adjectives. Place these near the nouns in the sentences.
Quickly and joyfully are adverbs. Place these near the verb in the sentences.
Although you could swim quickly and run joyfully, look carefully at the pictures and see how the characters are feeling.
Think about the colour of the flowers and the sizes of the animals.Solution
Bertha joyfully swims in the pool.
- Joyfully is an adverb that modifies the verb swim.
The penguin runs quickly.
- Quickly is an adverb that modifies the verb runs.
Kala picks yellow flowers.
- Yellow is an adjective that modifies the noun flowers.
The small hamster sits on the large cow.
- Small and large are adjectives that describe the animals in the image.
How would you describe these pictures?Hints
The adjectives in the word bank are: cross, scared and happy.
The adverbs are: fearfully, angrily and excitedly.
Can you match them to the correct sentence?
Adverbs can be either before or after verbs.
Adjectives describe nouns. Koko is a noun.
Excitedly is an adverb that expresses happiness or joy.
Which image best fits this definition?Solution
Koko is happy as she excitedly shops for toys.
- Happy is an adjective that describes Koko's mood.
- Excitedly is an adverb that describes how Koko shops.
Koko is cross as she glares angrily at the mess.
- Cross is an adjective that describes Koko's mood.
- Angrily is an adverb that describes how Koko looks at the mess.
Koko is scared as she fearfully rides the jet ski.
- Scared is an adjective that describes Koko's mood.
- Fearfully is an adverb that describes how Koko rides the jet ski.
Can you find the adverb in the sentence?Hints
First, find the verb in the sentence.
The verb is plays.
Adverbs are found before or after verbs. They describe how you do something.
How is the cat playing?Solution
The adverb is happily.
Happily describes how the cat plays with the ball. It is found next to the verb plays, so it must be an adverb.
Read the story about Bertha's birthday adventure.Hints
Remember what you know about adverbs:
- adverbs describe verbs
- they tell you how you do something
Remember what you know about adjectives:
- adjectives describe nouns
- they tell you what something is like or how someone is feeling
There are five adjectives and three adverbs in the story.
Can you find them all?
Watch out for words that are neither adjectives or adverbs. Not every word in the story should be highlighted.Solution
The adjectives are: loyal, worried, kind, clever and silly.
All these adjectives describe the characters in the story.
The adverbs are: quickly, politely and loudly.
The adverbs describe the verbs or actions in the story.