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Adverbs


What are adverbs?

An adverb is a word that modifies verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.

Adverbs vs Adjectives adverbs

The difference between an adverb and an adjective is the following:

  • An adjective modifies a noun.
    Example:
    "John is tall." (The adjective tall modifies the noun John)
  • An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb.
    Examples:
    "That idea is simply ridiculous." (The adverb simply modifies the adjective ridiculous)
    "She sings nicely." (The adverb nicely modifies the verb sing)
    "She did it really well." (the adverb really modifies the adverb well)

Read the passage:

Mrs Smith immediately called the police when she saw the criminals assaulting the poor boy aggressively. It was the most horrible scene that she had ever witnessed in her life. She had always lived peacefully in that neighborhood. No one had ever disturbed her quiet nights there.

The words " immediately, aggressively, peacefully, ever, always, there" are adverbs.

What are the different types of adverbs?

Basically, most adverbs tell you how, in what way, when, where, and to what extent something is done. In other words, they describe the manner, place, or time of an action. Here are some examples:

  • He speaks quietly. ( quietly is an adverb of manner.)
  • I live here. (here is an adverb of place.)
  • We'll leave tomorrow . (tomorrow is an adverb of time.)
  • She never sleeps late . (never is an adverb of frequency.)

Adverb rules:

1. Regular adverbs:

Adverbs in English often end in -ly.

These adverbs are formed by adding -ly to the end of an adjective:

Adjective + ly

Examples:

Adjective Adverb
slow
slowly
beautiful
beautifully
careful
carefully
violent
violently

Spelling rules:

  • true truly (the silent e is dropped and add ly)
  • happyhappily ( y becomes i and add ly.)
  • possiblepossibly (e after a consonant is dropped and ly is added.)
  • fullfully (after ll and add y is added.)
  • fanaticfanatically (after adjectives ending in -ic add -ally - there is an exception: public-publicly)

2. Exceptions:

However, this is not the only way to form an adverb. Many adverbs do not end in -ly.

This is a list of adverbs that don't follow the rule:

Adjective Adverb
fast
fast
hard
hard
late
late
early
early
daily
daily

Some adjectives change their form when they become adverbs:

adjective
adverb
good
well

3. Things to remember:

Many words are not adverbs although they end in -ly. Here are examples of adjectives that end in -ly.

Examples:

  • a kindly teacher
  • a lonely girl
  • an elderly person
  • a friendly policeman

To decide whether a word is an adverb ask questions with how, where and when.

  • How does James speak Spanish? He speaks Spanish fluently.
  • Where do the kids play soccer? They play soccer here.
  • When did she write the email to her husband? She wrote the email immediately.

You may also be interested in:

Position of adverbs

Related material:

Listen to a related song by Supertramp.
Exercise on adverbs.
Exercise on adverbs and adjectives
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