An adverb is a word that describes or gives more information about a verb, an adjectiv another adverb, or even the entire sentence. Adverbs usually answer the following questions:
Table of Contents
Where? Home. (“I went home.”)
When? Yesterday. (“We met yesterday.”)
How? Slowly. (“The turtle moves slowly .”)
How often? Sometimes. (“Sometimes it stops responding.”)
How long? Temporarily. (“She is staying with us temporarily.”)
How likely? Surely. (“Our team will surely win!”)
To what degree? Very . (“She was very pleased.”)
An adverb can describe a verb:
She runs quickly.
An adverb can describe an adjective:
She is so beautiful.
An adverb can describe another adverb:
She smokes very rarely.
An adverb can describe an entire sentence:
Naturally, you don’t have to come.
The word “adverb” comes for the Latin ad- (in addition) and verbum (word).
In many cases (but not always!) adverbs have the following form:
Adjective + “-ly”
Quick + ly = quickly
Strange + ly = strangely
Dead + ly = deadly
Sudden + ly = suddenly
Clever + ly = cleverly
Brave + ly = bravely
Real + ly = really
When an adjective ends with “y” replace the “y” with an “i”:
Heavy + ly = heavi + ly = heavily
Happy + ly = happi + ly = happily
When the adjective ends with an “e” drop the “e”:
True + ly = tru + ly = truly
However, there are many adverbs that do not end in “-ly”: Fast, very, hard, home, just, too, well, never, sometimes, and so forth. We can divide English adverbs into several categories:
Adverbs of degree , adverbs of manner, adverbs of place , adverbs of time , adverbs of frequency, adverbs of duration , adverbs of probability , comparative adverbs and superlative adverbs.
Adverbs of degree
Adverbs of degree show us the strength or degree of the action or state. They answer the following questions: How much? To what degree?
Very, highly, totally, perfectly, partially, almost.
He is very concerned with you.
You are totally right.
We almost made it to the train.
Adverbs of manner
Adverbs of manner show us the way the action is done. They answer the following question: How?
Examples: Well, badly, nicely, slowly, loudly, quietly, happily, sadly, secretly, weakly.
He handled the situation well .
She listened secretly to their conversation.
The children ran happily to their father.
Adverbs of place
Adverbs of place show us the location of the action or state. They answer the following question: Where?
Examples: Home, here, there, outside, inside, away, around, anywhere, abroad, up, down, out.
We are here .
He went home .
We found him outside.
She looked up .
Adverbs of time
Adverbs of time show us the time of the action or state. They answer the following question: When?
Now, soon, later, yesterday, tomorrow, early, before, lately, recently.
Let’s talk now.
I will do it later .
He promised to write back soon .
What are you doing tomorrow ?
We haven’t met before .
Adverbs of frequency
Adverbs of frequency show us the frequency of the action or state. They answer the following question: How often?
Always, never, sometimes, often, rarely, usually, occasionally.
I always brush my teeth after a meal.
We often meet and chat.
He is usually here on time.
Adverbs of duration
Adverbs of duration show us the length of the action or state. They answer the following question: For how long?
Examples: Forever, constantly, temporarily, briefly.
He is working there temporarily.
We spoke briefly.
I will be forever grateful.
Adverbs of probability
Adverbs of probability show us the chances for the action or state to happen. They answer the following question: How likely?
Examples: Certainly, maybe, probably, possibly, surely.
She will certainly forget about it.
Maybe we’ll come after all.
It will probably not work.
Surely you are not serious!
“Comparative” means “comparing something to something else.” Comparative adverbs show us which action or state is better, worse, stronger, weaker, and so forth.
Examples: more, less, better, worse, faster, slower, farther, closer.
Maggie works out more seriously than Donna.
She eats less than her friends.
You are better than this.
We couldn’t go slower even if we wanted to.
Let’s get closer.
“Superlative” means “of the highest degree.” Superlative adverbs show us which action or state is the best, the strongest, and so forth.
Examples: Best, most, least, worst, strongest, fastest, slowest.
He knows best .
It was the most boring experience.
He shouted the loudest so he won.
He ran the slowest so he lost