There are multiple worksheets that cover modifiers. When you complete this one, be sure to move on to the next.
A modifier is a word or phrase that explains or describes other words in a sentence.†† There are two kinds of modifiers:† adjectives and adverbs.† Phrases and clauses can also be modifiers.† Modifiers make writing more colorful.
While nouns and verbs give the sentence their main structure by telling what the sentence is about and what is happening, modifiers add interest by describing the nouns and verbs.
Some Common Problems with Adverbs and Adjectives
Well or Good; Badly or Bad
Well and badly are adverbs.† They modify verbs.† Good and bad are adjectives.† They modify nouns.† Be careful to use them correctly.
Adjectives Adverbs Take a good look at this example. She plays well. Do you think this is a bad idea? The toast is badly burnt.
Remember:† Always use an adjective when there is a linking verb that connects a subject to its modifier.
This book is good.† Those rotten apples smell bad.
There is an important exception to this rule.† When the modifier after a linking verb refers to health, always use well instead of good.
Are you feeling well?† I have not been feeling very well for several weeks.
Real or really; real or very
Real is an adjective meaning genuine.† Really and very are adverbs.
Incorrect:† The new vegetable platter sells real well.
Correct:††† The new vegetable platter sells really well.
Correct:††† The platter is so pretty it does not look real.† (genuine)
Incorrect: The new vegetable platter is real fresh.† (fresh is an adjective in this sentence because it modifies vegetable platter; an adverb is needed to modify fresh)
Correct:††† The new vegetable platter is very fresh.
Farther or further; many or much
Use farther (or farthest) to describe actual physical distance.† Use further (or furthest) to describe any distance that is not physical.
We have to drive 300 miles farther to get home.
We will think about it further before we make a decision.
Use many with plural nouns and pronouns.† Use much with singular nouns and pronouns.
Many jobs must be filled.
There is much work to be done.
Try a few:
1. The group sang †at last nightís concert.
2.† We have to move the tables †back.
3.† You will have †problems if you concentrate.
4.† Do you feel †this morning?
5.† The children donít play with †toys.
6.† Irene wanted a new jacket .
7.† My boss said that I do my job .
Answers: 1.† badly; 2.† farther; 3.† fewer; 4.† well; 5.† many; 6.† badly; 7.† well (back to top)
Some Other Confusing Modifiers
1. Use only and merely as near as possible to the word they modify.
Incorrect:† Julio only spent five dollars.† (Was Julio the only person to spend five dollars?)
Correct:† Julio spent only five dollars.
2. Use fewer to describe number; use less to describe quantity.
I have less money, so we must buy fewer things.
3. Use this and that to modify sort and kind; use these and those to modify sorts and kinds.
This sort of advertisement is misleading. (singular)
We like these kinds of cereal. (plural)
4. Use many or much rather than lots of.
Incorrect:† Lots of letters came in the mail.
Correct:† Many letters came in the mail.
5. Use any other rather than any after than.
Incorrect:† He is taller than any person in the room.
Correct:† He is taller than any other person in the room.
6. Avoid unnecessary use of a and of.
Incorrect:† This kind of a sale takes 10% off of the price.
Correct:† This kind of sale takes 10% off the price.
Rewrite each sentence correctly.
1. I only buy these things.
2. Annie thinks of lots of ways to spend her money.
3. Itís confusing when someone says that one product is better than any product in the market.
4. Farther investigation usually helps me find the right product.
5. When her trips are planned good, she receives at least 20% off of the price.
Answers: 1.† I buy only these things.; 2.† Annie thinks of many ways to spend her money.; 3.† Itís confusing when someone says that one product is better than any other product in the market.; 4.† Further investigation usually helps me find the right product.; 5.† When her trips are planned well, she receives at least 20% off the price. (back to top)
If you need more help with modifiers, check out the following websites
Pre-GED Writing Skills, (1995), NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group, Inc., Lincolnwood, Illinois
GED Test 1: Writing Skills, (1994), Contemporary Books, Inc. Chicago, Illinois
Exercising Your English, Language Skills for Developing Writers, Book 1, (1991), Contemporary Books, Inc., Chicago, Illinois
Applied Communication Skills/Grammar Skills, (1996), Cambridge Adult Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey
Language Exercises, Book F (1990) Steck-Vaughn Company, Austin, Texas
Cambridge GED Program Writing Skills, ( 1993), Cambridge Adult Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey
Cambridge Exercise Books, Parts of Speech, English Skills Practice, (1998) Cambridge Adult Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey