Adverbs Meaning

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Most adverbs in English are formed by adding -ly to an Adjective. An adverb is a word that modifies the meaning of a Verb; an Adjective; another adverb; a Noun or Noun Phrase; Determiner; a Numeral; a Pronoun; or a Prepositional Phrase and can sometimes be used as a Complement of a Preposition.

Spelling Notes

  1. Adjectives ending -l still take -ly; careful-carefully
  2. Adjectives ending -y change to -ily; lucky-luckily
  3. Adjectives ending -ble change to -bly; responsible-responsibly

If the adjective ends consonant + le

Normally, the e is changed to y to make the adverb:

  • Responsible - responsibly
  • Simple - simply

If the adjective ends vowel + le

Normally, ly is added the adjective:

  • Sole - solely
  • Vile - vilely

NB: Whole - wholly

Adverb of Manner

Adverbs of manner modify a verb to describe the way the action is done.

EG: She did the work carefully.

('Carefully' modifies the verb to describe the way the work was done, as opposed to quickly, carelessly, etc..)

Adverb of Place or Location

Adverbs of place show where the action is done.

EG: They live locally.

Adverb of Time

Adverbs of time show when an action is done, or the duration or frequency.

EG: He did it yesterday. (When)

They are permanently busy. (Duration)

She never does it. (Frequency)

Adverb of Degree

Adverbs of degree increase or decrease the effect of the verb.

EG: I completely agree with you. (This increases the effect of the verb, whereas 'partially' would decrease it.)

Adverbs Modifying Adjectives

An adjective can be modified by an adverb, which precedes the adjective, except 'enough' which comes after.

EG: That's really good.

It was a terribly difficult time for all of us.

It wasn't good enough. ('Enough' comes after the adjective.)

Adverbs Modifying Adverbs

An adverb can modify another. As with adjectives, the adverb precedes the one it is modifying with 'enough' being the exception again.

EG: She did it really well.

He didn't come last night, funnily enough.

Adverbs Modifying Nouns

Adverbs can modify nouns to indicate time or place.

EG: The concert tomorrow

EG: The room upstairs

Adverbs Modifying Noun Phrases

Some adverbs of degree can modify noun phrases.

EG: We had quite a good time.

They're such good friends.

Quite; rather; such; what (What a day!) can be used in this way.

Adverbs Modifying Determiners, Numerals & Pronouns

Adverbs such as almost; nearly; hardly; about, etc., can be used:

EG: Almost everybody came in the end.

See Also:

Parts of Speech


Adjectives and Adverbs

Related to 'Adverbs'