Chapter 6-1-2: Using Adjectives with Linking Verbs

Grammar > Modifiers > Adverbs & Adjectives > Adjectives with Linking Verbs

In the same vein, remember that adjectives modify nouns and pronouns. Do not mistakenly use an adverb to modify these parts of speech.

For example, after a linking verb you may be tempted to use an adverb instead of an adjective. You will recall that the linking verb is a special kind of verb because it links its subject to a subject complement. A subject complement can be either a noun (renaming the subject) or a modifier (describing the subject). When it is a modifier it must be an adjective because it describes the subject (always a noun or pronoun). It does not modify the linking verb itself and should therefore not be an adverb:

[WRONG] We felt badly about having caused the accident

[RIGHT] We felt bad about having caused the accident.

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