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Adverbs in English

Adverbs in English

What are adverbs in English?

In English, adverbs are words that are used to modify adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs as well as sentences – see adverbs of sentence. Furthermore, adverbs form part of the six parts of speech in English (nouns, adjectives, verbs, prepositions, conjunctions and adverbs). 

There are several types of adverbs: frequency, place, time, manner, degree, sentence, relative and interrogative.

How do we use adverbs in English? 

As stated before, adverbs can modify adjectives, verbs, other adverbs and also entire sentences. Let’s take a closer look: 

The adjective is being modifiedYou seem very excitedVery is modifying the adjective “excited”. 
The verb is being modifiedHe read the book slowlySlowly is modifying the verb “read”. 
The adverb is being modifiedYou spoke somewhat angrilySomewhat is modifying the adverb “angrily”. 
The entire sentence is being modifiedThankfully, you won’t need meThankfully is modifying the entire sentence “you won’t need me”. 

Very, slowly, somewhat and thankfully are all adverbs.

How are adverbs made? 

Some adverbs have fixed forms and cannot be changed or altered such as “somewhat” or “very”, however, many adverbs are made by inserting the suffix -ly to the ends of adjectives.

This is a very simple rule and not hard to follow:

  • He is careful and drove carefully
  • My test was easy and I passed it easily
  • You’re a happy person and you act happily

As you can see, by adding the suffix -ly to the above adjectives careful, easy and happy these adjectives are converted to adverbs and will function as such. 

So, when you need to use an adverb in your next sentence, for the most part, you can simply add the suffix -ly to the adjectives.

Bear in mind, though, that for adverbs with fixed or irregular forms, this will not work. See above for a full list with descriptions of all types of adverbs in English.