Adjective or Adverb? Exercise (235)

Decide if the words in boldface type are adjectives or adverbs.

  • The entire family was at the track meet to see Junior run fast enough to win the race.

  • Living in the woods, Thoreau was never lonely because his friends dropped in frequently.

  • Don’t even think of being late; I want you all there at nine o’clock sharp.

  • Proust is famous for having written about things past.

  • My work requires me to travel to Cleveland, but I hope to be back soon.

Answers and Explanations

1. The entire family was at the track meet to see Junior run fast enough to win the race.

Correct: adverb
Fast is an adverb in this context because it tells how Junior ran.

2. Living in the woods, Thoreau was never lonely because his friends dropped in frequently.

Correct: adjective
Although the suffix -ly is often the sign of an adverb, lonely is an adjective. In this sentence lonely is a predicate adjective, qualifying "Thoreau."

3. Don’t even think of being late; I want you all there at nine o’clock sharp.

Correct: adverb
The word sharp can be an adjective, as in "The sharp knife cut her," but in this context it is an adverb meaning "precisely" or "punctually."

4. Proust is famous for having written about things past.

Correct: adjective
The function of the word past is often confused. In this sentence it is an adjective qualifying the noun things. In the following sentence, it is an adverb modifying walked: "I thought he would stop at the gate, but he walked past." A third function of past is as a preposition: "He walked past the gate."

5. My work requires me to travel to Cleveland, but I hope to be back soon.

Correct: adverb
Soon tells when the speaker hopes to return.

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