Adverbs can tell you where, when, how, why and to what extent something happens.
There are several different classes of adverb (see above).
They are often formed from adjectives or nouns by adding the suffix -ly.
For example: Quick becomes quickly, sudden becomes suddenly, intelligent becomes intelligently.
To form an adverb from adjectives ending in -y change the y to i before adding the –ly.
For example: angry becomes angrily, busy becomes busily.
To form an adverb from adjectives ending in -e drop the –e before adding the –ly.
For example: feeble becomes feebly, true becomes truly.
Some adjectives ending in -ly need no changes.
For example: heavenly.
However there are exceptions.
For example: sly becomes slyly, shy becomes shyly.
Some adverbs do not end in -ly.
For example: fast, hard, straight.
|Example||She was a pretty girl.||He was a serious boy.||It was a fast car.||They were quiet children.|
|Example||The bird sang prettily.||The policeman spoke seriously.||Schumacher drives fast.||The woman spoke quietly.|
Adverbs can modify adjectives
An adjective can be modified by an adverb, which precedes the adjective.
That’s really nice.
Adverbs can modify adverbs
Some adverbs can modify others. As with adjectives, the adverb precedes the one it is modifying.
She did it really well.
Adverbs can modify nouns
Adverbs can modify nouns to indicate time or place.
The concert tomorrow.
The room upstairs.
Adverbs can modify noun phrases
Some adverbs of degree such as quite, rather, so, such … can modify noun phrases.
We had quite a good time.
They’re such good friends.
Adverbs can modify determiners, numerals and pronouns
Adverbs such as almost, nearly, hardly, about, etc., can be used:
Nearly everyone, who was invited, came to the party.
Adverbs can modify sentences
Some adverbs modify a whole sentence, not just a part of one.
Luckily the car stopped in time. In this sentence luckily modifies the whole sentence, it shows that it was good luck that the car stopped in time.
Adverbs of Degree
Adverbs of degree tell us the strength or intensity of something that happens. Many adverbs are gradable, that is, we can intensify them. Basically they answer the sort of question that asks How much …? or How little…?
Adverbs of degree include; adequately, almost, entirely, extremely, greatly, highly, hugely, immensely, moderately, partially, perfectly, practically, profoundly, strongly, totally, tremendously, very, virtually etc.
The man drove badly. = The man drove really badly. – In this sentence really shows us just how badly he drove.
They enjoyed the film. = They enjoyed the film immensely. – In this sentence immensely shows us how much they enjoyed the film.
These intensifiers are not gradable though, you cannot say The man drove extremely very badly.
Adverbs of Duration
Adverbs of duration tell us how long something happened.
They include; briefly, forever, long, shortly, permanantly, temporarily etc.
“They were occupied.” = “They were briefly occupied.” – In this sentence briefly shows us the duration.
“The phone was out of order.” = “The phone was temporarily out of order.” – In this sentence temporarily shows us the duration.
Adverbs of Frequency
Adverbs of frequency tell us how often something is done.
Adverbs of frequency include; always, constantly, continually, frequently, infrequently, intermittently, normally, occasionally, often, periodically, rarely, regularly, seldom, sometimes etc.
I always do my homework on time. – In this sentence always shows us the frequency (how often) I do my homework on time.
She goes out occasionally. – In this sentence occasionally shows us the frequency (how often) she goes out.
|now and then|
|once in a while|
Adverbs of frequency appear between the subject and the verb in a sentence:-
I always update the calendar at the beginning of the month.
Poetria often takes notes during the Skype sessions.
Adverbs of frequency appear after a form of the to be – am, are, is (was, were) in a sentence:-
I am never late.
Skype is occasionally frustrating.
They were always noisy.
Adverbs of frequency go between an auxiliary verb and the main verb:-
Anne doesn’t usually smoke.
If there are two auxiliary verbs, the adverb of frequency goes between them:-
I have never been to Asia.
The adverbs of frequency often, usually, sometimes and occasionally can go at the beginning of a sentence:-
Usually I don’t give personal advice. = I don’t usually give personal advice.
Occasionally we go for a drive on a Sunday. = We occasionally go for a drive on a Sunday.
Adverbs of frequency go before the verbs used to or have to:-
I always used to celebrate bonfire night.
I usually have to get up early to walk Laika.
When something happens regularly at a fixed time we can use the following as adverbs:-
|Ever fortnight (two weeks)||=||Fortnightly|
I get a newspaper every day. = I get the newspaper daily.
I pay my rent every month. = I pay my rent monthly.
Adverbs of Manner
Some adverbs tell us how an action is or should be performed.
Often these adverbs are formed by adding -ly to the end of an adjective.
Adjectives ending -l add -ly ; careful-carefully.
Adjectives ending -y change to -ily ; lucky-luckily
Adjectives ending -ble change to -bly ; responsible-responsibly
The little girl ran quickly. In this sentence quickly modifies the verb ran (to run).
Adverbs of Place
Adverbs of place indicate where something happens.
These include; abroad, anywhere, here, outside, somewhere, there, underground, upstairs etc.
My passport is here in my bag.
|Upstairs||The children were playing upstairs.|
|In London||The people demonstrated in London.|
|Outside||The children were playing outside.|
Adverbs of Probability
Adverbs of probability tell us the likelihood of something happening.
If you imagine playing dice, what’s the likelihood (probability) of rolling a six?
You know it’s possible, but it’s not certain.
The only certainty is that you’ll throw something between one and six. However, your less likely to throw two sixes.
Adverbs of probability include; certainly, definitely, doubtless, maybe, perhaps, possibly, probably etc.
We will win the game. = We will certainly win the game. – In this sentence certainly shows us the probability.
Adverbs of Time
Some adverbs tell us when something happened or will happen.
These include:afterwards, later, now, soon, yesterday etc.
Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. – In this sentence yesterday shows us when the singers troubles seemed so far away..
Other adverbs of time include:-
|Saturday, Sunday …||I am going to the shops on Monday.|
|Today||I’ve been to the shops today.|
|Yesterday||I went yesterday.|
|Next week/month/year||I am going next week.|
|Last week/month/year||I went last year.|
|Finally||I finally went.|
|Eventually||I eventually went to the shops.|
|Already||I’ve already been to the shops.|
|Soon||I’m going to the shops soon.|
|Just||I’m just going to the shops.|
|Still||I’m still at the shops.|
Adverbs of Comparison
When we compare what two things or people do we look at what makes one different from the other.
Adverbs of comparison are used to show what one thing does better or worse than the other.
When an adverb ends in -ly, more is put in front of the adverb.
- “After her poor test results, Jill did her homework more frequently.”
The rule for forming the comparative of an adverb is if it has the same form as an adjective add the suffix -er to the end.
- “Jack did his homework faster.”
The following irregular adverbs are exceptions to this rule:
- ‘well’ becomes ‘better’
- ‘badly’ becomes ‘worse’
- ‘little’ becomes ‘less’
- “Jill’s test results were better.”
- “Jack’s test results were worse.”
- “To lose weight you need to eat less.”
!Note – When comparing things you need to put than between the adverb and what is being compared.
- “Jack did his homework faster than Jill.”
- “Jill did her homework more frequently than Jack.”
Superlative form of Adverbs
The superlative form of an adverb is used to say what thing or person does something to the greater degree within a group or of its kind. Superlatives can be preceded by ‘the‘. In general the superlative forms of adverbs are the same as for superlative forms of adjectives.
The rule for forming the superlative of an adverb is if it has the same form as an adjective add the suffix -est to the end.
- fast – “Jill ran the fastest.”
When an adverb ends in -ly, most is put in front of the adverb.
- Frequently – “Jill did her homework most frequently.”
The following irregular adverbs are exceptions:-
- ‘well’ becomes ‘the best’
- ‘badly’ becomes ‘the worst’
- “Jill did the best in the test.”
- “Jack did the worst in the test.”