Now Dr. Verb," said Judge Grammar, next day, "I am ready to hear what is your great complaint against Pronoun."

"Why, my lord, when he is in the Objective Case..."

"I object, I object!" exclaimed the Judge, while a general murmur of disapproval ran through the court. "No, no, we have had enough with the Nominative Case; we will not have another case brought in. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, sir, to keep us listening to your nonsense about an Objective case, while your devoted friend Adverb is waiting to be heard. Sit down, and let Adverb speak."

"Devoted friend!" muttered Dr. Verb, as he obeyed. "I am sure I often wish he would leave me alone. He sticks on to me so tight sometimes, that we look like one instead of two, and he is a good weight to carry. Besides, he is always teasing by asking why, and when, and how everything is done. Friend, indeed!"

But Adverb did not hear what Dr. Verb was muttering. He came forward, bowing politely, and rubbing his hands together, as if he were washing them.

"Very much obliged, indeed," he said, smoothly; "very kind of my friend Dr. Verb to give way to me! So like him!"

"You seem to be fonder of him than he is of you," remarked the Judge. "Pray, why do you follow him so closely?"

"I like to hear what he says, and to point out to others how exceedingly well he speaks," answered Adverb.

"He is always exaggerating my words," grumbled Dr. Verb. "If I say I like anything, Adverb puts in very much indeed, or extremely well, or some such silly words; or, if he is in a bad temper, then he flatly contradicts me, and says, no, or not, or never. If I say will, he adds not, and makes it will not; if I say can, he makes it cannot, even sticking his word on to mine as if it were part of it. Sometimes he does worse. He actually dares to alter my word after he has stuck his tail on to it, and so he makes will not into won' t, cannot into can't, shall not into sha'n't, and so on. The wo', and ca', and sha', is all he has left me, and the n't is his."

"Has he always treated you in this way?" asked the Judge.

"As long as I can remember, my lord," answered Dr. Verb. "That is why, when we were at school together, the boys called him Adverb, because he was always adding his words on to mine. And he has kept the name ever since."

"Your lordship must remember," remarked Adverb, in a mild tone, still rubbing his hands very smoothly together, "that Dr. Verb is rather out of temper this morning, and is, perhaps, not quite just. For indeed it is a fact that I make his words much more useful than they otherwise would be. Besides, I treat Mr. Adjective in much the same way, and he does not complain."

"It is quite true," remarked Adjective, coming forward, delighted to get a chance of using his tongue; "it is quite true that Adverb has his word to say about me, just as much as about Dr. Verb. He is always putting very, quite, more, most, and words of that sort, before my adjectives, and exaggerating them: as, very beautiful, quite charming, more obstinate, most provoking, and I do not complain of him for that. But one thing I do complain of, my lord, and that is, that Adverb will take my words, right good adjectives, stick a ly on to them, and call them his adverbs. For instance, he takes bright, puts ly to it, and makes it brightly; he takes bad, and makes it badly; nice, and makes it nicely; beautiful, and makes it beautifully."

Judge Grammar at this held up his forefinger, and solemnly shook his head, till he nearly shook his wig off.

"Mr. Adjective, Mr. Adjective!" he said, "I am surprised at you. You complain of Adverb for doing the very thing that you do yourself. We all know that you keep your pockets full of tails ready to stick on to your neighbors' words: ful, ous, able, like, ly, and plenty more, and you use them as often as you can with other people's words. But when Adverb uses his one little ly with your words, then you are up in arms directly. And yet you know very well that according to the laws of Grammar-land every Part-of-Speech may make as many new words out of old ones as he likes, and is to be praised, not blamed, for it. Adverb may put his ly on to as many of your words as he can, and you have no right to find fault. I wonder at both you and Dr. Verb. You ought to agree with Adverb better."

"We none of us agree with him," remarked Pronoun, "nor he with us."

"He certainly has no number, or person, or case," replied the Judge; "but he is none the worse for that. He gives Serjeant Parsing less trouble than some of you. What did you say about asking questions, Adverb?"

"I teach the game of how, when, and where," replied Adverb; "how, when, and where, are all my words, and so are the answers to them.

How do you like it? pray you tell?

Not too much, extremely well.

When do you like it, tell me when?

Today, tomorrow, now, and then.

Where do you like it, answer fair?

Here and there and everywhere.

All these words that answer how, when, and where, are mine," continued Adverb, "and so are the forfeit words yes, no, or nay."

"Ah! but black, white, and grey are mine," said Adjective, interrupting; "and please, your lordship, you were mistaken in saying that Adverb has only one tail, ly, to put on to other people's words. What do you think of upwards, downwards, homeward, forward?"

"Yes, they are certainly adverbs," said the Judge, "and you might say that wards and ward are the tails he has added on to up, down, home, for; but these words are not yours, Mr. Adjective, so you have no right to interfere."

"Well, my lord," replied Adjective, "at any rate I have a right to speak about once, twice, thrice, for Adverb has stolen them from my one, two, three."

"Once, twice, thrice" repeated the Judge; "is that all?"

"He has not got a word for four times," answered Adjective; "once, twice, thrice, and away, is all that he can say."

"Then I think," said the Judge, "that you ought to be ashamed to grudge them to him, when you have one, two, three, and as many more as you can count; besides first, second, third, fourth, and all that list. I do not like such greedy ways, and as a punishment, I order you to hand up a list of adjectives to be turned into adverbs. Our friends may take them to Schoolroom-shire and put a ly to each of them; then they will be adverbs, and will answer to one of Adverb's questions, how, when, or where."

The list Mr. Adjective made out may be found in the Lesson Guide.


Over the two weeks:

  • Read or review the lesson each week.
  • Complete the assigned enrichment activities for each week.


Meet polite Adverb, who is fond of the self-important Dr. Verb. Unfortunately, Dr. Verb feels a bit smothered by Adverb. An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, other adverbs, or various other types of words, phrases, or clauses. Adverbs answer how, when, and where. Examples of adverbs include often, very, and many 'ly' words (slowly, warmly, sadly, quickly, poorly, swiftly, happily, etc.)


Activity - Week 1: Turn the Adjectives in to Adverbs

  • Turn the following list of adjectives into adverbs by adding an 'ly' or 'ily' to each.
  • Identify whether each answers how, when, or where.

Activity - Week 2: Identify the Erroneous Sentences

In each sentence, convert the erroneous adjectives into adverbs by adding an 'ly' or 'ily' to each.


  • She quick ran up the steps.
  • He slow meandered down the path.
  • They sudden jumped up from under the blanket.
  • We joyful danced the night away.
  • She neat printed the letters.
  • The mouse dainty ate the cheese.
  • I'll free share the secret document with you.
  • He arrives punctual every day.
  • They distinct heard you.
  • Her slippered feet soft pattered down the hallway.
  • She greeted her best friend warm.