Lesson: Tidbit - Hopefully and Other Adverbs

Comment on Tidbit - Hopefully and Other Adverbs

Can you explain broadly difference between "adjective+adjective" and "adverb+adjective" relations? Why the first sentence doesn't allow to adverb while the other one does
gmat-admin's picture

Sorry, I'm not sure what you're asking. Can you tell me which sentence(s) you're referring to?

"Zack is Dan's suspicious older brother" and "Helen saw a seemingly intoxicated man in her backyard". Why in the first sentence you used "suspicious" without "ly"? And why you used in the next one? It is because of linking verb and action verb or something else?
gmat-admin's picture

Ahh, good question. It all comes down to what word we are modifying. And intent.

In "Helen saw a seemingly intoxicated man in her backyard", the word "seemingly" is modifying the adjective "intoxicated." Since we have a word modifying an adjective then we need an adverb. "seemingly" is the adverb we need.

In "Zack is Dan's suspicious older brother," we need to ask what the word "suspicious" is modifying. My intent was to modify the noun "brother." That is, the brother is both suspicious and older. So, I used the two adjectives "suspicious" and "older."

If want to say that it's suspicious that the brother is older, then we're modifying an adjective, and we need suspiciously. I guess it's possible that it might be suspicious that one's brother is older. So, if that were the case, then "suspiciously" would be appropriate.

Is seeming a linking verb or an adjective? I find it difficult to identify the parts of speech correctly. Any shortcuts to identify them correctly?
gmat-admin's picture

Yes, "seeming" can be a linking verb as in, "Joe can drive for 24 hours without seeming tired."

Likewise, "seem" and "seems" typically behave as linking verbs.

Just keep in mind what a linking verb is. It's a verb that's followed by an adjective that describes a "state of being." For example, in the sentence, "Joe is great," the word "is" is a linking verb, and "great" describes Joe's state of being.

In the sentence 'I hope my plane arrives on time.' I is noun and hope adjective?
gmat-admin's picture

This sentence has two verb and two subjects.

The first verb is HOPE, and I is the subject (who is performing the action of hoping? I is performing that action, so I is the subject.

The second verb is ARRIVES, and PLANE is the subject (who/what is performing the action of arriving? The PLANE is performing that action, so PLANE is the subject.

For more on subjects and verbs, watch: https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gmat-sentence-correction/video/1153

Also, you'll find info on adjectives here: https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gmat-sentence-correction/video/1150 (starting at 4:40)


Hi Brent! How do I know what the sentence really is meant to convey if usually no much context is given? For instance "Lucy saw a seeming intoxicated man..." This is weird, but seems correct from a grammar standpoint. How do I know if seeming should be modifying man, or if it should be "seemingly" and it should modify intoxicated?
gmat-admin's picture

That's a tough question.
In most cases, the context should indicate the intended meaning.

Case a) If SEEMING is meant to modify the adjective INTOXICATED (i.e., the man SEEMS intoxicated) then we need the adverb SEEMINGLY.

Case b) If SEEMING is meant to modify the noun MAN (i.e., the person SEEMS like a man) then we need the adjective SEEMING.

In this case, case a makes more sense.

Rest assured that the GMAT test-makers try their hardest to minimize any confusion regarding the intended meaning of a sentence.


Thank you so much Brent! I will not be writing a "thank you" message to each post to avoid pollute the chat. But please just know I am very grateful! Thanks.

Is the below sentence correct?

Hopefully, my plane should arrive on time.

Would the verb should be able to occur hopefully?

gmat-admin's picture

There are very few verbs that can be performed in a HOPEFUL manner.

In your example (Hopefully, my plane should arrive on time), the addition of SHOULD does not make the sentence correct.

It helps if we ask the question about the verb in a given sentence.

Consider this sentence: "Joe looked at Sue hopefully"
Tell me more about the way in which Joe performed the act of LOOKING.
He did so in a HOPEFUL manner.
In other words, he did so HOPEFULLY.

Now compare this to your sentence: Hopefully, my plane should arrive on time
Tell me more about the way in which the plane SHOULD ARRIVE.
The plane should do so in a HOPEFUL manner.
Hmmmm. No good. A plane cannot do anything in a HOPEFUL manner.

Does that help?


How do I decide my adverb modifies which word in the sentence? There are verbs and adjectives also. My Adverb can correctly describe the adjective next to it but doesn't make sense with the verb in the sentence. In those cases, how do I decided the adverb used is correct or not?
gmat-admin's picture

It all comes down to word location and context.

Let's look at some examples:

1) Joe bought a beautiful hat: BEAUTIFUL is an adjective modifying HAT
2) Joe bought a very beautiful hat: VERY is an adverb modifying BEAUTIFUL (Q: How beautiful? A: Very)
In this example, even though VERY is an adverb, it's pretty clear that is not modify the verb BOUGHT.

Another example:
3) Joe displayed his painted figurines: PAINTED is an adjective modifying FIGURINES (Q: What kind of figurines? A: Painted ones)
4) Joe displayed his carefully painted figurines: CAREFULLY is an adverb modifying the adjective PAINTED (Q: How were the figurines painted? A: Carefully)
5) Joe carefully displayed his painted figurines: CAREFULLY is an adverb modifying the verb DISPLAYED (Q: How were the figurines displayed? A: Carefully)

Notice that the difference between sentence 4 and 5 is the location of the adjective CAREFULLY.

Does that help?


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