Adverb and Adjective Modifiers: Definition with Examples

Adjective modifiers always modify a specific noun or pronoun in a sentence. On the other hand, an adverb modifier provides additional information about a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

What are Adverb and Adjective Modifiers?

A modifier is a word or phrase that helps refine and add descriptions to another word or phrase. Whether they are adjective or adverbs, modifiers can be placed before or after the word they modify.

An adjective modifier is a word or phrase that modifies a noun or pronoun. An adjective modifier doesn’t change the sentence’s meaning; it only makes it more precise.

It is commonly used to intensify words to emphasize the speaker’s opinion.

An adjective modifier may appear before or after the word it modifies. It is a pre-modifier when placed before the word, and a post-modifier when placed after the word it modifies. Some examples of adjective modifiers are gorgeous, brilliant, exhausted,small, proud, tasty, cheerful, and long.

An adverb modifier is an adverb that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb. Adverb modifiers can be placed before or after the word they modify. They typically modify a verb to make a sentence more specific. Some examples of adverb modifiers are well,right, and properly.


Modifiers give further details and show us how we should think about the word they modify. They are essential in sentences. A modifier should not be placed far away from the word it modifies so that it doesn’t seem like it’s modifying another word.

Common modifier phrases are: quickly, slowly, silently, successfully, lightly, and happily.

A review of some examples will help you better understand adverb and adjective modifiers and how to use them effectively in writing.

Adjective Modifying Noun

  • Nathan is handsome (post-modifier).
  • Sam is genuine in his friendship (post-modifier).
  • It was a dark and scary night (pre-modifier).

Adjective Modifying Pronoun

  • I am happy you got the promotion. (post-modifier).
  • She was exhausted after the meeting. (post-modifier).
  • They sang cheerfully. (post-modifier).

Adverb Modifying Verb

  • She sang beautifully.
  • Moses snores heavily.
  • Jerry rarely plays football.

Adverb Modifying Adverb

  • He walked really fast to catch the bus (The adverb really modifies the adverb fast).
  • She finished her food very quickly (The adverb very modifies another adverb ‘quickly’).

Adjective Vs. Adverb Modifiers

Despite the similar names, adjectival modifiers and adverb modifiers are not the same.

An adjective modifier is a specific word or phrase that modifies a noun or pronoun. For example, “fast messenger.” The adjective modifier ‘fast’ gives more information about the noun ‘messenger.’

However, an adverb modifier is a specific word or phrase that provides a detailed description of a verb, adjective, or another adverb.

Bottom line

Adjective modifiers are primarily adjectives that describe nouns or pronouns. On the other hand, adverb modifiers are adverbs that describe verbs, other adverbs, or adjectives.

When used correctly, these modifiers can convey a more precise meaning and give more information about the words they modify. 

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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