Sunday, June 19, 2011

Modifiers in English - Forms and uses of Modifier with Example

Forms of Modifiers

A modifier is a word that limits the meaning of another word. The two kinds of modifiers are the adjective and the adverb.

Uses of Modifiers

Use an adjective to modify the subject of a linking verb:

The most common linking verbs are the forms of be: am, is, are, was, were, be , been and being. A linking verb is often followed by a predicate adjective – a word that modifies the subject.

Our new computer system is efficient.
The Governor’s comments on the controversial issue were candid.

Use an adverb to modify an action verb:

Action verbs are often modified by adverbs – words that tell how, when, where, or to what extent an action is performed.

Our new computer system is operating efficiently.
The Governor candidly expressed her view on the controversial issue.
Some verbs may be used as linking verbs or as action verbs.

Geetha looked frantic. (Looked is a linking verb.
The modifier following it is an adjective, frantic.)
Geetha looked frantically for her gold ring. (Looked is an action verb. The modifier following it is an adverb, frantically.)

To help you determine whether a verb is a linking verb or an action verb, replace the verb with a form of ‘seem’. If the substitution sounds reasonable, the original verb is a linking verb. If the substitution sounds absurd, the original verb is an action verb.

Geetha looked frantic. (Since ‘Geetha seemed frantic’ sounds reasonable, looked is a linking verb.)
Geetha looked frantically for her gold ring. (Since
‘Geetha seemed frantically for her gold ring’ sounds absurd, looked is an action verb.)

Like main verbs, verbals may be modified by adverbs:
Barking loudly, the dog frightened the burglar. (The adverb ‘loudly’ modifies the participle ‘barking’.)
Not fastening the bracket tightly will enable you to adjust it later. (The adverbs ‘not’ and ‘tightly’ modify the gerund ‘fastening’. The adverb ‘later’ modifies the infinitive to ‘adjust’.)

Task: Selecting modifiers to complete sentences - Select the correct modifier in parentheses for each of the following sentences.

Example:When you look (careful, carefully) at these pots, you can see the tiny figures etched on them. carefully

1. The woman in the picture is Rosemary Apple BlossomLonewolf, an artist whose style remains (unique, uniquely) among Native American potters.
2. Lonewolf combines (traditional, traditionally) and modern techniques to create her miniature pottery.
3. In crafting her pots, Lonewolf uses dark red clay that is (ready, readily) available around the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico, where she lives.
4. These miniatures have a detailed and (delicate, delicately) etched surface called graffito.
5. Because of the (extreme, extremely) intricate detail on its surface, a single pot may take many months to finish.
6. The subjects for most of Lonewolf’s pots combine ancientPueblo myths and traditions with (current, currently) ideas or events.

Six Troublesome Modifiers

Bad and Badly:

‘Bad’ is an adjective. ‘Badly’ is an adverb. In standard English, only
the adjective form should follow a sense verb or other linking verb.
Non-standard If the meat smells badly, don’t eat it.
Standard If the meat smells bad, don’t eat it.

Note:Although the expression ‘feel badly’ has become acceptable in informal situations, use ‘feel bad’ in formal speech and writing.

Good and Well:
‘Good’ is an adjective. ‘Well’ may be used as an adjective or as an adverb. Avoid using ‘good’ to modify an action verb. Instead, use ‘well’, an adverb meaning ‘capably’ or ‘satisfactorily’.
Non-standard The school orchestra played good.
Standard The school orchestra played well.
Non-standard Although she was nervous, Arathi performed quite good.
Standard Although she was nervous, Arathi performed quite well.

Used as an adjective, ‘well’ means ‘in good health’ or ‘satisfactory in appearance or condition’.

He says that he feels well.
She looks well in that band uniform.
It’s midnight, and all is well.

Slow and Slowly:
‘Slow’ is an adjective. ‘Slowly’ is an adverb. Avoid the common error of using ‘slow’ to modify an action verb.
Non-standard Do sloths always move that slow?
Standard Do sloths always move that slowly?

Note: The expressions ‘drive slow’ and ‘go slow’ have become acceptable in informal situations. In formal speaking and writing, however, use ‘drive slowly’ and ‘go slowly’.

Task: Determining the correct use of ‘bad’ and ‘badly’, ‘well’ and ‘good’, and ‘slow’ and ‘slowly’. Each of the following sentences contains an italicised modifier. If the modifier is incorrect, give the correct form. If the modifier is correct, write C.

Example: When I painted the house, I fell off the ladder and hurt my right arm bad.

1. The renowned conductor Leonard Bernstein led the New YorkPhilharmonic Orchestra well for many years.
2. Despite the immense size and tremendous power of this airplane, the engines start up slow.
3. I can hit the ball good if I keep my eye on it.
4. Before Uncle Chand’s hip-replacement surgery, his gait was painful and slow.
5. After studying French for the past three years in high school, we were pleased to discover how good we spoke and understood it on our trip to Quebec.
6. Some of the experiments that the chemistry class has conducted have made the corridors smell badly.
7. During the Han dynasty in China, candidates who did bad on civil service tests did not become government officials.
8. Whenever I watch the clock, the time seems to go slow.
9. When my parents correct my little sister, they tell her not to behave bad.
10. After hearing how her grandmother overcame many problems, Anne felt well.

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