The word adverb (ad-verb) suggest the idea of adding to the verb. This is what many adverbs do. They can tell us something about the action in the sentence by modifying a verb, for example by telling us how, when, where etc something happens or is done:
He played the piano very beautifully.
However, adverbs can also modify (give more information about something):
-adjectives: very good, awfully hungry
-other adverbs: very soon, awfully quickly
-prepositional phrases: You are entirely in the wrong.
-complete sentences: Strangely enough, I won the competition.
-nouns: The man over there is a doctor.
( adverb over there is related with noun the man –Which man? The man over there.- that’s how adverb modifies this noun)
Adverbs can be single words (slowly) or phrases (in the garden).
Adverbs are rarely necessary in the sentence structure but when they appear in the sentence they often change the meaning. Compare:
Doris has left. Doris has just left
I have finished work. I have nearly finished work.
They are just few cases when adverbs are obligatory (we must use them):
1. after intransitive verbs such as: lie, live, sit etc
Lie down. Sit over there. I live in Paris.
2. After some transitive verbs as: lay, place, put + object
He put his car in the garage.
( put + object (his car); after this construction He put his car we have to tell where otherwise the sentence is incomplete)
Types of adverbs
- adverbs of manner (they answer the question How?)
- adverbs of place ( Where? )
- adverbs of time ( When? )
- adverbs of frequency ( How often? )
- adverbs of degree ( To what extent? )
If you are not sure how to recognize an adverb in a sentence here is a little help for you. A great number of adverbs, particularly those of manner, areformed from adjectives by the addition of suffix –ly – patient-patiently, happy- happily, nice-nicelyetc.
Some adverbs of frequency are also formed in this way (usual, usually) as are a few adverbs of degree ( near, nearly).
Other adverbs that have no –ly ending, we have to learn by heart. Those adverbs are like fast (adverb of manner), there (adverb of place), then (adverb of time), often (adverb of frequency) etc.
Adverbs of manner
1. Most adverbs of manner are formed by adding –ly to adjectives: mad-madly, plain-plainly, sudden- suddenly. This applies also to adjectives ending in –l so that letter l is doubled: beautiful-beautifully, musical-musically. But note: full/fully.
2. If an adjective ends in –y then it becomes –ily when –ly is added: happy- happily, busy-busily, funny- funnily. Sometimes two formations are possible: dry-drily-dryly but for example sly-slyly only –yly is the acceptable form.
3. If an adjective ends in –le then we delete –e and add –ly: able-ably, noble-nobly, possible-possibly, whole-wholly. But if an adjective ends in –e without letter l preceding it then we just add –ly: nice-nicely, extreme-extremely, tame tamely. But note exceptions: true-truly, due-duly.
4. Adjectives ending in –ic take –ally as adverbs: fantastic-fantastically, basic-basically, systematic-systematically. But note: public-publicly.
Some adverbs have same form as adjectives. That’s because there are many adjectives ending in –ly: brotherly/sisterly, cowardly, elderly, friendly/unfriendly, heavenly, likely/unlikely, lively, lovely, manly/womanly, motherly/fatherly, sickly, silly and ugly. We use most of these adjectiveeesh to describe people’s qualities. But we must know the difference:
Adjective : Susan is a friendly girl.
Adverb : Susan always greets me in a friendly way.
*Susan always greets me friendly. (this is incorrect!)
Some words can be used as adjectives or as adverbs of manner without adding –ly like: fast, hard etc.
A fast (adjective) train is one that goes fast. (adverb)
I work hard (adverb) because I enjoy hard (adjective) work.
You see, adjective is always in front of a noun and modifies it, while adverb of manner comes after a verb and modifies it.
Considering the position of adverbs of manner, the most usual position is after the object or after the verb:
-after the object: Sue watched the TV curiously. Look at this photo carefully.
-after the verb: It snowed heavily last January.
The important thing is not to put the adverb between the verb and its object. (Not *He speaks well English*). It is possible only if an object is too long:
We could see very clearly a strange light ahead of us.
We have to know that the adverb well corresponds the adjective good, and some adverbs have same form like adjectives: fast, hard, early, far etc.
He’s a good driver. –He drives well.
Your car is very fast. – It runs fast.
I don’t like early trains. – I don’t like getting up early.
He’s very hard working student. – He works hard.
Adverbs of place
The idea of place covers:
-locations: Larry is in Jamaica.
-directions: (to, away from): Larry flew to Jamaica.
We have to be aware of the difference between locations and direction:
1. Locations adverbs answer the question Where? And go with “position verbs” like be, live, stay, work. They can begin a sentence: In London Mary stayed at the Grand Hotel.
2. Direction adverbs answer the question Where to? And Where from?. They often go with “movement verbs” like go and cannot usually begin the sentence: Mary went by plane to London.
The most common adverbs for place are: abroad, ahead, anywhere/everywhere/somewhere/
Nowhere, ashore, away/back, backwards/forwards, here/there, left/right, north/south, upstairs/downstairs, above, behind, beneath, underneath, down below, down/up there, far ahead, far away, over here/there and also phrases like at my mother’s, from New York, on the left etc.
Considering their position, adverbs of place never go between subject and verb.
*I in London was.
The usual position of adverbs of place is after adverb of manner (if we have it in a sentence) and before adverb of time:
manner place time
Barbara read quietly in the library all afternoon.
However, adverbs of direction do not follow this rule so they often come after verb (movement verbs like come, drive, go) and before other adverbs:
I went to London (adverb of place-direction) by train (adverb of manner) yesterday. (adverb of time.
Adverbs of time
Adverbs of time:
-can refer to definite time answering questions like When (exactly)?
I’ll see you tomorrow/on Monday.
-can refer to duration, answering Since when? For how long?
I haven’t seen her since Monday/for a year .
-can refer to indefinite time (they do not answer the question precisely):
He doesn’t live here now/anymore.
-and can even act like nouns:
Tomorrow is Tuesday, right?
Adverbs of definite time answer the question When? and are generally used with past tenses, or refer to the future:
I started my job last Monday. I’ll ring tomorrow .
The most usual position of these adverbs is at the very end of a sentence (e.g. We checked in at the hotel on Monday.) but they can also be found in the beginning of the sentence (e.g. This morning I saw our postman delivering mail.)
The most common adverbs of indefinite time are: afterwards, already, at last, at once, early, another day, another time, eventually, formerly, immediately, just, late, lately, now , nowadays, once, one day, presently, recently, some day, soon, still, suddenly, these days, then, ultimately and yet.
They also usually come at the end of the sentence, although they can also come before the verb and at the beginning of the sentence.
I went to London recently. I recently went to London. Recently, I went to London.
Adverbs of frequency
These adverbs answer the question How often? and we can divide them into two main groups: adverbs of definite frequency and adverbs of indefinite frequency.
Adverbs of definite frequency include words and phrases like:
-once, twice, three/several times (a day/ night/ week/ month/ year etc.),
- hourly/ daily/ weekly/ fortnightly/ monthly/ yearly/ annually,
-every + day/ morning/ week/ afternoon/ night/ evening/ month/ year etc, and in combinations like every other day, every 3 years etc.
- on + Mondays/ Tuesdays/ Fridays/ weekdays etc.
Adverbs of indefinite frequency give answer to question How often?. Here are some of the most common adverbs in this group:
always, nearly always, almost always, generally, normally, regularly, usually, frequently, often, sometimes, occasionally, almost never, hardly ever, rarely, scarcely ever, seldom, not..ever, never.
Considering the position of adverbs of frequency we have to know that they have mid-position in affirmative and negative sentences (I was never very good at maths and Public transport isn’t always very reliable.) but they can also haveend-position (I get paid on Friday usually.) and they can start the sentence ( Sometimes I go to school on my own.)
Adverbs of degree
Adverbs of degree answer the question To what extent?. Some of the most common are: almost, altogether, barely, a bit, enough, fairly, hardly, nearly, quite, rather, somewhat and too. Most of these goes before the words they modify:
-adjectives quite good
-adverbs quite quickly
-verbs I quite like it.
-nouns : quite an experience
Comparison of adverbs
Comparison of adverbs is done by the same rule as comparison of adjectives.
One-syllable adverbs and two-syllable adverb early make their comparative with the suffix –er and superlative with the suffix –est:
fast - faster – fastest
hard – harder – hardest
near – nearer- nearest
early - earlier – earliest
All adverbs with –ly endings have two or more syllables, so they make comparative with more and superlative with most:
slowly – more slowly – most slowly
bravely – more bravely - most bravely
politely – more politely – most politely
The only difference between the comparisons of adverbs and comparison of adjectives is that you will never put definite article the in front of superlative of adverb: *the most slowly.
Irregular comparison of adverbs
Some adverbs have irregular comparison:
well - better - best
badly - worse - worst
little - less - least
much - more - most
far - farther/ further - farthest/ furthest
Enough can be both as adjective and as adverb. As an adverb it stands behind the adjective or adverbs which it modifies:
He’s not strong enough for this job. – behind the adjective strong
He knows the town well enough to find his way. – behind the other adverb well
As an adjective it stands in front of a noun:
She never puts enough sugar in my coffee.
I have not enough time to read this novel.
- Verbs tenses
- Present Tenses
- Present Simple Tense
- Present Continous Tense
- Present Perfect Tense
- Present Perfect Continuous Tense
- Past Tenses
- Past Simple Tense
- Past Continuous (Progressive) Tense
- Past Perfect Tense
- Future Tenses
- The Simple Future Tense
- Future Continuous Tense
- Future Perfect Tense
- Future Perfect Continous Tense
- Stative and dynamic verbs
- Transitive and intransitive verbs
- Reflexive verbs
- Full verbs and auxiliary verbs
- Modal verbs
- Indirect speech