English Grammar: Adverbs
A word that modifies the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb is called an Adverb.
- James walked quickly towards the door.
- The redwood tree was impressively tall.
- She spoke extremely confidently.
- She reads the newspaper silently.
Form: adjective + ly
- loud + ly = loudly
- slow + ly = slowly
- beautiful + ly = beautifully
- neat + ly = neatly
- nice + ly = nicely
- soft + ly = softly
- clear + ly = clearly
- elegant + ly = elegantly
- careful + ly = carefully
- regular + ly = regularly
- graceful + ly = gracefully
There are also irregular adverbs. Examples: well, fast, very, never, always, often, still
All words ending in "ly" are not adverbs. For example, words like lonely and friendly are not adverbs. They are adjectives.
Most adverbs answer one of the following questions: HOW? WHEN? WHERE? TO WHAT EXTENT?
An adverb is a word that modifies a verb.
- The Pirates played brilliantly.
- The team performed well.
- They are playing tomorrow.
- They will play here.
- He speaks loudly.
- She dresses up beautifully.
An adverb is a word that modifies an adjective.
- A very odd thing happened.
- The cobra is a highly poisonous snake.
- A window was partly open.
An adverb is a word that modifies another adverb.
- The fight began quite unexpectedly.
- I very quietly closed the door.
- Both teams played extremely well.
Classification of Adverbs
Adverbs may be divided into the following classes, according to their meaning:
- Adverbs of Time (which show when)
- Adverbs of Frequency (which show how often)
- Adverbs of Place (which show where)
- Adverbs of Manner (which show how or in what manner)
- Adverbs of Degree or Quantity (which show how much, or in what degree or to what extent)
- Adverbs of Affirmation and Negation
- Adverbs of Reason
Forming Adverbs from Adjectives
Most adverbs are formed by adding ly to an adjective.
- skillful + ly = skillfully
- brave + ly = bravely
If an adjective ends in ic, add al before adding ly.
- basic + al + ly = basically
- terrific + al + ly = terrifically
If an adjective ends in y, change the y to i and then add ly.
- easy → [easi] + ly = easily
- noisy → [noisi] + ly = noisily
If an adjective ends in le, do not add ly; simply change le to ly.
- able → ably
- gentle → gently
Adjectives and Adverbs
Adjectives (quick/careful, etc.) tell us about a noun (somebody or something). We use adjectives before nouns:
- Sameer is a careful driver. (not a carefully driver)
- We didn't go out because of the heavy rain.
- She speaks perfect English.
Adverbs (quickly/carefully, etc.) tell us about a verb (how somebody does something or how something happens)
- Sameer drove carefully along the narrow road. (not drove careful)
- We didn't go out because it was raining heavily. (not raining heavy)
- She speaks English perfectly.
Good is an adjective. The adverb is well.
- Your English is good. but You speak English well.
- Shivam is a good pianist. but Shivam plays the piano well.
We use well (not good) with past participles (dressed/known etc.): well-dressed, well-known, well-educated, well-paid
- Harry's father is a well-known writer.
But well is also an adjective with the meaning 'in good health'
- 'How are you today?' 'I'm very well, thanks.'
These words are both adjectives and adverbs
- Danny is a very fast runner. Danny can run very fast.
- Katrina is a hard worker. Katrina works hard. (not works hardly)
- I was late. I got up late this morning.
lately = recently
- Have you seen him lately?
Hardly = very little, almost not
- Sarah wasn't very friendly at the party. She hardly spoke to me. (= she spoke to me very little, almost not at all)
- We've only met once or twice. We hardly know each other.
Hard and hardly are different
- He tried hard to find a job, but he had no luck. (= he tried a lot, with a lot of effort)
- I'm not surprised he didn't find a job. He hardly tried. (= he tried very little)
I can hardly do something = it's very difficult for me, almost impossible
- Your writing is terrible. I can hardly read it. (= it is almost impossible to read it)
- My leg was hurting. I could hardly walk.
Hardly ever = almost never
- I'm nearly always at home in the evenings. I hardly ever go out.
Hardly also means 'certainly not'.
- It's hardly surprising that you're tired. You haven't slept for three days. (= it's certainly not surprising)
- The situation is serious, but it's hardly a crisis. (= it's certainly not a crisis)
So and Such
We use so + adjective/adverb
- I didn't like the book. The story was so stupid.
- I like Lara and Jimmy. They are so nice.
We use such + noun or such + adjective + noun
- I didn't like the book. lt was such a stupid story. (not a so stupid story)
- I like Lara and Jimmy. They are such nice people. (not so nice people)
So and such make the meaning stronger
- lt's a beautiful day, isn't it? lt's so warm. (= really warm)
- lt's difficult to understand him because he talks so quietly.