14 English Words with 4 Forms

Many English words have multiple forms – a noun form, verb form, adjective form, and adverb form. Not all words have ALL the forms, but here are 14 words that do.

Make sure to read the example sentences below the table, because there are some slight differences in meaning!

NOUN VERB ADJECTIVE ADVERB
beauty beautify beautiful beautifully
benefit
beneficiary
benefit beneficial beneficially
creation
creator
create creative creatively
decision decide decisive decisively
difference differentiate different differently
distraction distract distracted
distracting
distractedly
justification justify justifiable justifiably
protection protect protective protectively
reliability rely reliable reliably
sadness sadden sad sadly
significance signify significant significantly
strength strengthen strong strongly
success succeed successful successfully
understanding understand understandable understandably

Example sentences & explanation:

BEAUTY

  • Noun: I stopped to admire the beauty of the sunset.
  • Verb: She painted some flowers on the wall to beautify the room.
  • Adjective: I bought a beautiful new dress.
  • Adverb: He sings beautifully.

BENEFIT

  • Noun 1: There are many benefits of quitting smoking.
  • Noun 2: The beneficiary of the donation is a small non-profit organization.
    (beneficiary = person or organization that receives a benefit)
  • Verb: This new cultural center will benefit the entire community.
  • Adjective: Your suggestions were quite beneficial; they really helped us improve.
  • Adverb: I had a number of teachers who beneficially influenced my life.

CREATION

  • Noun 1: There’s an interesting story behind the creation of this product.
  • Noun 2: The creator of this product got the idea in a dream.
    (creation = the event/process of creating; creator = the person who creates)
  • Verb: These changes are going to create problems in the long run.
  • Adjective: She has some creative ideas for decorating the room.
  • Adverb: My boss is incapable of thinking creatively – he just likes to follow the rules.

DECISION

  • Noun: Choosing whether or not to have children is a big decision.
  • Verb: I can’t decide which of these two universities I want to attend.
  • Adjective 1: Barbara is a great leader because she’s very decisive.
    (a decisive person means someone who makes decisions easily and firmly)
  • Adjective 2: That was the decisive battle which made them lose the war.
    (a decisive event is one that is essential to the outcome)
  • Adverb: “My mind is made up,” he said decisively.

DIFFERENCE

  • Noun: There are many differences between the Brazilian and Japanese cultures.
  • Verb: The law shouldn’t differentiate between rich and poor people; it should apply equally to everyone.
  • Adjective: The second book in the series was very different from the first one. I liked the first one better.
  • Adverb: Everyone learns differently, so it’s important for teachers to use a variety of methods.

DISTRACTION

  • Noun: Cell phones are a big distraction for drivers.
  • Verb: I was in the middle of writing an e-mail when my husband distracted me by asking a question.
  • Adjective 1: I can’t study while listening to music; I find it distracting.
  • Adjective 2: She seemed distracted – like she was thinking about something else.
    (distracting describes the thing; distracted describes the person)
  • Adverb: My roommate was playing a video game; I told him I was going out and he nodded distractedly.
    (distractedly = not really paying much attention)

JUSTIFICATION

  • Noun: At first I was skeptical of his argument, but he gave several very convincing justifications.
  • Verb: Having financial problems doesn’t justify stealing.
  • Adjective: I believe using violence is only justifiable in the case of self-defense.
  • Adverb: She was justifiably angry when I arrived an hour late for an important event.

PROTECTION

  • Noun: This bug spray offers protection from mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and other biting insects.
  • Verb: The military protects the country from invasion by enemies.
  • Adjective: Pamela is very protective of her books; she doesn’t like to lend them out.
  • Adverb: The mother hugged her child protectively.

RELIABILITY

  • Noun: I have my doubts about the reliability of this internet connection.
  • Verb:  My boss relies on me to keep him informed about the project.
  • Adjective: Peter is very reliable. When he says he’ll do something, you can be sure it’ll get done.
  • Adverb: We can’t reliably guess the results of these changes.

SADNESS

  • Noun: Depression is characterized by deep sadness.
  • Verb: The bad news saddened me.
  • Adjective: Three people died in the tragedy. It was so sad.
  • Adverb: She explained sadly that she didn’t get the job.

SIGNIFICANCE

  • Noun: I don’t understand the significance of these statistics.
  • Verb: Dark, heavy clouds often signify a coming storm.
  • Adjective: This discovery represents a significant breakthrough in cancer treatment.
  • Adverb: His English improved significantly after he studied in New York.

STRENGTH

  • Noun: She was so sick that she didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.
  • Verb: I exercise every day to strengthen my muscles.
  • Adjective: You need to be very strong to lift up this couch.
  • Adverb: I strongly disagree with his statement.

SUCCESS

  • Noun: The new TV show has been a big success; millions of people are watching it.
  • Verb: You need to work hard if you want to succeed.
  • Adjective: She retired after a long, successful career in marketing.
  • Adverb: I successfully fixed the broken computer.

UNDERSTANDING

  • Noun: After years of dispute, the two companies finally reached an understanding.
    (an understanding = an informal agreement)
  • Verb: I don’t understand why you’re quitting such a great job.
  • Adjective: She has five kids, so it’s understandable that she’s busy.
  • Adverb: He was understandably upset when his new car broke down after only a week.

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