2 How words work together
Adverbs are quite a small word class when we consider just how many nouns, verbs and adjectives there are (and how many we could potentially invent in the future), but there are some word classes in English that are even smaller than the adverbs. To show why these smaller word classes are important, we can start by taking a look at what English would be like without them. What would it be like if we only had nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs to play with?
Activity 3 Little words that make a lot of sense
Listen to the first recording which contains part of a short everyday conversation between two speakers. In this first version you will only hear nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs – the other words have been removed. Listen to this version of the conversation a few times to see how far you can understand the situation and what is being talked about. What do you think is going on?
Transcript: Audio 1 Grammarless
When you’re ready, you can now hear the full version of the clip to check if you were right.
How much of the conversation did you understand from the first version? What did you miss?
Transcript: Audio 2 A full conversation
After a couple of listens, you could probably work out most of what was being said and you probably got the gist of the conversation. You may also have been helped by the relative familiarity of the context (an accident during some domestic DIY, followed by a visit to hospital). But it probably took quite a bit of work for you to decide exactly what words were missing. Nevertheless, these little words that tie nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs together are crucial for allowing us to convey our meaning clearly.