You might think words that end in LY are all adverbs. But there are LY adverbs and adjectives.
Not only can LY words be either, but they can also be both.
Knowing your parts of speech is the only way to understand when an LY word is an adverb or an adjective.
Then there are some when the adjective and adverb are the same words.
All writers know that you should avoid overusing adverbs. It is especially true with adverbs in dialogue tags.
Here are some poor examples.
She groaned angrily and threateningly.
He said excitedly.
She shouted loudly.
But you can’t avoid using all adverbs in any form of writing because they perform the necessary function of describing a verb.
Brian performed badly in his science exam.
Felix did slightly better in his literature exam.
Mary easily passed all her exams.
But many LY words are adjectives. So just thinking that you should go easy on LY words is not the answer to writing better.
What a silly idea it was.
Oh, that’s a lovely dress. Where did you buy it?
Matt is a friendly guy once you get to know him.
However, some words can perform both functions.
I’m only going to the wedding service.
Sam is an only child.
We hold our meeting bimonthly.
I attend our bimonthly meetings.
When you can identify the right words, it’s easy.
But here’s a quick puzzle to make it fun to test your parts of speech grammar knowledge.
The LY Adverbs And Adjectives Puzzle
Look at the image below, and see if you can place all the words in the correct column.
The first three words have been entered for you as an example.
Now look at each word at the bottom of the graphic and place each one in its correct place.
Think carefully and decide if a word is an adverb only, an adjective only, or both an adverb and an adjective.
Are you ready to start solving the puzzle?
If you would prefer a PDF version to view or print, click here to download a pdf copy.
Give yourself about five minutes to complete the puzzle. But if it takes a bit longer, that’s okay.
The LY puzzle answers
I’m sure there were a couple of words that had you scratching your head for a minute or two.
But most of the words were easy to place.
Do you want the answers?
Okay, here they are. Just click here to view the answers in PDF.
The last word in the list, poorly, might be a toss-up, depending on if you use US or British English.
But the rest are pretty much straightforward.
For all writers, learning and improving your grammar knowledge is always work in progress.
I am always discovering new aspects of grammar and syntax and enjoy it when I have to do a little research.
Hopefully, this little puzzle will make it fun for you to think about your grammar and how to use it.
I know I had lots of fun creating it.
Related reading: Do Usually And Normally Share The Same Meaning?