Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Searching for Adjectives and Adverbs.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 20, 2016)
The English language is made up of many different types of words. There are nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and so on, each filling a specific purpose in the grammar of a sentence. (Some say that English is a hard language to learn. I always answer that it didn't seem too hard to me—in fact, I learned it as a child. :>))
In analyzing a document, you may want to find out how many of a particular type of word is used within a sentence. For instance, you might want to determine how many adjectives and adverbs there are in your document. Unfortunately, Word does not provide a built-in means to locate such words.
Adjectives, of course, are words that modify or describe nouns. For instance, in "the tall tree," the word "tall" (an adjective) describes the word "tree" (a noun). Many, many words can function as adjectives, and whether a particular word is an adjective in a particular sentence depends on the context in which that word is used. Because of this, it is virtually impossible to come up with a macro that will determine if a word is an adjective and then somehow highlight it.
Adverbs are a different story. Most adverbs end in the letters "ly," and most words that end in "ly" are adverbs. This rule, although not 100% accurate, at least gives you some sort of guideline around which you can build a macro. Consider the following macro:
Sub FindAdverbs() Dim i As Integer Dim CurrentString As String For i = 1 To ActiveDocument.Words.Count CurrentString = Trim(ActiveDocument.Words(i).Text) If Right(CurrentString, 2) = "ly" Then With ActiveDocument.Words(i) .Italic = Not .Italic .Bold = Not .Bold End With End If Next i End Sub
This macro searches the entire document for any word that ends in ly. If it finds one, the word is made bold and italics. This makes it easy to spot probable adverbs within a document. If you run the macro a second time, those same words are converted back to regular text.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11486) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Searching for Adjectives and Adverbs.
Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!
The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are very powerful, allowing you to accomplish more than one task at a time. This ...Discover More
The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are very powerful, particularly if you are using wildcards in your search. Here's ...Discover More
The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are quite powerful. Knowing how to find and replace highlighted text can be a bit ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.