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Summary

Andrew plays detective as he tracks down Leah's missing hair bow, giving her a much-needed lesson on adverbs along the way.

Transcript

(Andrew is sitting in the kitchen with his face buried in a book. His voice narrates)

Andrew (voice over): We were three days into a brutal heatwave with no end in sight. The air felt stickier than a melted gummy worm. I was killing time in my office, waiting for a job. It was one way to keep out of the sun.

(Leah walks into the kitchen as Andrew looks up from his book)

Andrew (voice over): Then, like an answer to my prayers, in walks this curious young woman. She tells me that she's missing her prized dark blue hair bow. I tell her I'll help her look, but we need to giver viewers a grammar lesson while we're at it. So, here we go.

Caption: Today's Lesson: Adverbs

Narrator: Today, Andrew and Leah are going to explain how to use adverbs.

Andrew: Adverbs usually describe, or modify, adjectives and verbs, but they can also modify clauses and other adverbs.

Andrew (voice over): I talk a good game, but I'm just stalling for time. These grammar lessons are always tough. Then it hits me.

Andrew: A better way to define adverbs is by what they do in a sentence. Adverbs answer questions like "How?" "When?" "Where?" and "To what degree?"

Leah: Um, aren't you supposed to help me look for my hair bow?

Andrew: Oh, right. Well, let's put it this way: To what degree is this bow of yours important?

Leah: It's really important.

Andrew: Really important, huh? Would you say that the bow is very important? Incredibly important?

Leah: Andrew, what are you talking about?

Andrew (voice over): I tell her that those are all adverbs modifying the adjective "important". Leah says "Great", but I'm sure she's being sarcastic. So I ask her when she last saw this bow of hers. She says "I saw it before breakfast." I ask, "Are you sure it wasn't after breakfast? What about during breakfast?" Leah tells me she's sure it was before. I explain that "before breakfast", "after breakfast", and "during breakfast" are all adverbial phrases modifying the word "saw". She says she doesn't care, and she's getting a little tired of me. I tell her we can't rush. We have to investigate carefully. I add that we should also work patiently and slowly. Leah gets distracted. She asks if any word ending in "l-y" is an adverb. So I give her this:

Andrew: No, but lots of adverbs do end that way. In many cases, all you have to do is add an "l-y" to an adjective to turn it into an adverb. But don't make the costly mistake of assuming that every "l-y" word is an adverb. To figure out if a word is an adverb, you have to look at what it's doing in the sentence.

Andrew (voice over): I can see I'm losing my client, so I steer the conversation back to the case. "Where were you when you last had the bow?" I ask. "I was here in the kitchen," she says. She doesn't realize that I've tricked her into using a location verb. Just to rub it in, I say, "We have to look around very closely." "How cool is that?" I think. The adverbs "around" and "closely" show where and how we have to look, and the third adverb, "very", modifies "closely". And to top it all off, that dopey woman didn't even notice! Anyway, we search the kitchen for a good half hour. No dice. I hate to break it to her, but, what are you gonna do?

Andrew: Unfortunately, it seems that your hair bow is lost.

Leah: Aw, man.

Andrew: Look on the bright side: At least you got to see how adverb work!

(Leah gets angry)

Andrew (voice over): That's when Leah snaps. She approaches me menacingly. I try to explain that adverbs make writing more interesting and precise, but it's no good. The murderous woman has flipped out.

(Scene cuts to Andrew hanging by his underwear off a telephone pole)

Andrew (voice over): She was right. My underwear was awfully high.

Quiz