What is an adverb? Additional information

What is an adverb? – see: lesson 17  on this blog




What is an Adverb?

Adverbs are words which modify other words.  They give information about other words (verbs, adjectives or adverbs)  such as: when, where, how or how often something was done.

One effective way of looking at adverbs is to define different categories of adverb:


Different kinds of Adverb:

manner: well, quickly, fast, carefully, slowly, joyfully, violently, madly, lavishly, crossly, indignantly, quickly, hard, warily, convincingly, carefully /  frequency: always, often, usually, sometimes, generally, occasionally, hardly ever, seldom, rarely, never  /  time and place: up, now, then, here, there, yesterday, today, outside, underneath, above, upstairs, soon, recently, afterwards  /  length of time: already, recently, soon, just, never, always, just, long, afterwards, currently, presently  /  degree: so, too, extremely, rather, very, very much, really, fairly, quite, badly, really soon, totally, awfully, terribly, angrily, just  /  quantity: a lot, a little, much  /   adding and limiting: especially, even, also, only, particularly, specifically, merely, only, purely, either, neither, too  /   attitude  markers: apparently, fortunately, blindly, clearly,  hopefully, frankly, naturally, obviously,  ostensibly, really, stupidly, surprisingly, unfortunately  /  linking:  however, therefore,  nevertheless, firstly  /   stance: perhaps, actually, surely, oddly, wisely  /  viewpoint:  strictly, mentally, officially, morally  /   special adverbs: already, still, yet


manner:  our new neighbour greeted us politelyplace: ‘how long have you lived here?‘ she asked  /  time: ‘we arrived only yesterdaywe replied  /  degree: ‘well, I hope you’ll be really happy’  /  Frequency: After that we met her quite frequently linking: However, we learned very little about her  /  stance: strangely, she never talked about herself  /  adding and limiting: she talked only about us and the weather  /  length of time: have you ever met anyone like that?  viewpoint: Personally, I found that annoying



Looking at adverbs


Position of adverbs in a sentence:

there are three main positions for adverbs: front, middle, end:

front position: before the subject, example: occasionally John missed lessons  (adverb + subject + verb phrase)

middle position: after the first auxiliary, example: John has occasionally missed lessons (subject + first auxiliary + adverb + rest of verb phrase)

middle position: after be as a finite verb, example: John is occasionally absent from lessons (subject + be + adverb)

middle position: if there is no auxiliary, example: John occasionally missed lessons (subject + adverb + finite verb)

end position: at the end of the clause, example: John missed lessons occasionally  (subject + verb phrase + ……. + adverb)



Adverbs as modifiers almost always come before the word they modify.  These adverbs are generally adverbs of degree.  Examples:

very broad (adverb + adjective)  /  too soon (adverb + adverb)  /  just after (adverb + preposition)  /  too much (adverb + determiner)  /  so few (adverb + pronoun)  /  right until  (adverb + conjunction)

Adding: ly to adjectives:

we can create a lot of adverbs by adding ly to an adjective.  Examples:

ably / busily  / calmly / oddly / probably / usually / slowly / thoroughly


In most cases the meaning of the adjectives and adverbs are very close:

adjective: he’s a careful driver  /  adverb: he drives carefully


adjective   –   adverb:

cheap – cheaply  /  tragic – tragically  /  quick – quickly  /  economic – economically  /  slow – slowly  /  easy –  easily  /  angry – angrily  /  happy – happily  /  lucky – luckily  /  probable – probably  /  terrible – terribly  /  gentle – gently  /  basic – basically


A number of adverbs have the same form as adjectives.  The most important are: just, well, right, far, forward, early, hard, straight, pretty, little, fast, late, left, backward, north, east, south, west, direct, opposite, near, high, straight, wrong

examples: there were many high buildings  /  he drives very fast  /  this is a hard exercise

The adverb: well and the adjective: good have similar meaning.   For example: he is a good person  /  he studies well  /  he is a good athlete  /  he plays the guitar well  /  they work well together

However, some of the most common adverbs are not related to adjectives.  For example: in, about, so, now, very, there, here, as, quite



What is an adverb?  Additional information

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