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In this lesson, you’ll learn what the positive form is and how to use the positive form to make your writing more interesting. Take a look at some examples, and then test your knowledge with a quiz.

Definition of Positive Form

We describe people, places or things every day. We describe actions every day. We describe people by saying things like, ‘Eva is smart’ or ‘Brian is tall.’ We describe places, by saying things like, ‘Chicago is a cold and windy city,’ and things by saying, ‘I like ice cream because it is so rich and creamy.’ We describe actions by saying things like, ‘Sally runs fast’ or ‘Nancy speaks slowly.

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‘ We use the positive form every day.The positive form is used to describe nouns (people, places or things) or to describe verbs (actions). Some adjectives and adverbs form the positive with entirely different words. These are the irregular positive forms.

Examples

Let’s take a look at some examples. Adjectives in the positive form are used to describe people, places or things.

So, for example:

  • In the sentence, ‘John is smart,’ the positive adjective form of ‘smart’ is used to describe a particular person named John.
  • In the sentence, ‘Los Angeles is a huge city,’ the positive adjective form of ‘huge’ is used to describe a particular city, the city of Los Angeles.
  • In the sentence, The Amazon rainforest is lush and green, the positive adjective forms of lush and green are used to describe a particular rainforest, the ‘Amazon rainforest.’

Adverbs in the positive form are used to describe actions. So for example:

  • In the sentence, ‘Karen works efficiently,’ the positive adverb form of ‘efficiently’ is used to describe the particular action in the sentence, or how Karen ‘works.’
  • In the sentence, ‘Jason runs fast,’ the positive adverb form of ‘fast’ describes the particular action of how ‘Jason runs.

  • In the sentence, ‘Shelley walked long and far,’ the positive adverb forms of ‘long’ and ‘far’ describe the particular action of how ‘Shelley walked.’

There are some important exceptions to these rules. Some adjectives and adverbs form the positive with entirely different words. These are called the irregular positive forms and consist of: good/well, bad/badly, much, many, some, little, late and far. For example:

  • In the sentence, ‘Barbara has traveled to many places in the world,’ the irregular positive adjective form of ‘many’ describes the noun, ‘places.’
  • Likewise, in the sentence, ‘Irene reads well,’ the irregular positive adverb form of ‘well’ describes the action of how ‘Irene reads.’

In order to distinguish between the positive irregular adjective form and the positive irregular adverb form, we must determine whether the descriptive word or words is describing a person, place or thing (noun) or an action (verb).

For example,

  • In the sentence, ‘It was a late meeting,’ the irregular positive form of ‘late’ describes the ‘meeting.’ Because ‘meeting’ is a thing – a noun – the irregular positive form of ‘late’ is in the irregular positive adjective form.
  • Likewise, in the sentence, ‘He arrived late,’ the irregular positive form of ‘late’ describes the action of how ‘He arrived.’ Because ‘arrived’ is an action – a verb – the irregular positive form of ‘late’ is in the irregular positive adverb form.

Lesson Summary

Remember, the positive form is used to describe nouns (people, places or things) or to describe verbs (actions). Adjectives in the positive form describe people, places or things.

Adverbs in the positive form describe actions. Some adjectives and adverbs form the positive with entirely different words and are called the irregular positive forms.

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