What are Adverbs in English Grammar?
An Adverb is a word that mainly describes (or modifies) a verb. It is a Part of Speech that also describes (modifies) adjectives, adverbs and sentences.
Adverbs also cover various aspects of the actions (verbs) such as,
- How much?
- How often?
- When? Etc.
Now, let us consider a few example sentences of Adverbs. So, the blue coloured words are adverbs in the below sentences.
- You are running quickly.
- They arrived early for the meeting.
- He donated a lot to the charity.
- This work is difficult to complete.
- She only reads fictional books.
First example: “quickly” is the adverb used for describing the verb (running). So, it is describing how the action took place.
Second example: the word “early” is used to describe the action (arrival). So, it is describing when the action is taking place.
Third example: the adverb “lot” is used to describe the action (donation). So, it is the measurement of how much he donated.
Fourth example: the adverb “difficult” is used to measure the noun (completion). So, it is describing how the work is.
Fifth example: the adverb “only” is used to describe the adjective (fictional) as well as the action (reads). So, it is describing the whole sentence on which type of books she is reading.
Reference Topic: What is a Verb in English Grammar? | (types & examples 2021)
Types of Adverbs
Till now, we have understood that adverbs cover different aspects of adjectives, adverbs and sentences like how, how much, when, etc.
Now here we are going to recall and group those aspects according to the usage. So, we are going to learn all the aspects separately in detail.
Basically, there are 6 types of Adverbs. Those are,
- Adverbs of Time (When?)
- Adverbs of Frequency (How often?)
- Adverbs of Place/Direction (Where?)
- Adverbs of Degree (How Much?)
- Adverbs of Manner (How?)
- Conjunctive Adverbs
- Sentence Adverbs
Adverbs of Time (When?)
Adverbs of time show the time of action in the sentence. So, it usually tells us when the action was performed.
Below are the few words used at the time (with examples).
- Now: They are now preparing rice for lunch.
- Yesterday: Ram had a rest yesterday.
- Today: He went to school today.
- Sunday: Arjun watched a movie on Sunday.
- 9 AM: They need to attend a seminar at 9 am.
- Later: Michael wants to read the book later.
- Already: We already visited this place.
- Tonight: Mary wants to prepare a special dish tonight.
Adverbs of Frequency (How often?)
Adverbs of frequency show the frequency of action in the sentence. So, it usually tells us how often the action performs (happens/occurs).
Below are the few words used for the frequency (with examples).
- Always: He always arrives on time.
- Sometimes: He sometimes plays sports in the evening.
- Usually: They usually attend parties every weekend.
- Never: She never shows up her talent.
- Often: They often play football.
- Occasionally: Raju occasionally hangs out with his friends.
- Once: Sneha once failed in her maths test.
- Frequently: They frequently visit here.
- Generally: I generally drink coffee in the morning.
Adverbs of Place/Direction (Where?)
Adverbs of place/direction indicate the place or direction of action in the sentence. So, it tells us where the action was performed.
Below are the few words used for the adverbs of place/direction (with examples).
- Near: The teacher went near the student to check the homework.
- On: He is sitting on the sofa.
- Outside: I will meet you outside.
- Under: The cat is sleeping under the tree.
- Above: The eagle is flying above the clouds.
- In: The children are playing in the garden.
- Everywhere: She was searching for her wallet everywhere in the house.
- Along: I have carried my camera along with its lens.
- Towards: I am heading towards the north of London.
Adverbs of Degree (How Much?)
Adverbs of place/direction show the degree/importance/level of activity in the sentence. So, it tells us how much action is performed.
Below are the few words used for the adverbs of degree (with examples).
- Completely: He completely forgot about his homework.
- Thoroughly: She thoroughly checked her luggage before she started leaving home.
- Easily: He easily solves maths problems.
- Warmly: He warmly welcomed his guests at home.
- Perfectly: They are making the cake perfectly.
- Fully: Raju is not fully prepared for the exam.
- Stressfully: He managed all the situations stressfully.
Adverbs of Manner (How?)
Adverbs of Manner indicate the process/manner of the action of the sentence. So, it explains how the action is going to happen.
Below are the few words used for the adverbs of Manner (with examples).
- Beautifully: She beautifully made the dress.
- Equally: Rosie divided the cake equally for her son and daughter.
- Slowly: Why are you speaking slowly?
- Carefully: She is driving the car carefully.
- Bravely: The soldiers fought bravely.
Conjunctive Adverbs are those adverbs that are used to connect (join) phrases or independent clauses. These are also called Connectors.
It basically combines and shows the relationship (idea) between them.
- Besides: I don’t want to go to school; besides, I am not well.
- Accordingly: The company worked accordingly as planned and made more profits.
- Therefore: Rahul made good investments. Therefore, he is having a lot of money.
- Otherwise: You need to study now, otherwise you will get a bad grade.
- Meanwhile: Madhu was preparing food meanwhile her husband was packing the luggage
Sentence Adverbs are those adverbs that are used at the beginning of the sentence and change the whole (sentence) meaning.
These type of Adverbs are used with a comma and mostly ends with “-ly”.
- Actually: Actually, he didn’t attend the meeting.
- Thankfully: Thankfully, he finished all his projects.
- Hopefully: Hopefully, he recovers from his injury soon.
- Curiously: Curiously, he started doing research on animals.
- Surprisingly: Surprisingly, he succeeded in his first business.
Till now, we have understood that adverbs modify the verb. Now, we are going to cover in detail how adverbs modify adjectives and adverbs.
Reference Topic: What is a Verb in English Grammar? | (types & examples 2021)
Do Adverbs modify Adjectives?
We already discussed that adverbs can modify the adjective because the main purpose of an adverb is to add the degree of intensity to the adjective.
Now, we are going to learn this concept with a few examples. (Note: Red coloured words are Adjectives and Blue coloured words are Adverbs)
- The book is very interesting.
Here, the adjective is interesting, which is referring to the noun (book). So, the adverb (very) is describing the adjective.
- This flower is very beautiful.
Here, the adjective is beautiful, which is referring to the noun (flower). So, the adverb (very) is describing the adjective.
- This dish is so delicious.
Here, the adjective is delicious, which is referring to the noun (dish). So the adverb is describing the adjective.
Do Adverbs modify Adverbs?
Yes, an adverb can modify another adverb. It works the same as an adverb modifying adjective.
Now, let us learn with a few examples.
- They are always very busy.
Adverb 1: always
Adverb 2: very
Here we can observe that there are two adverbs in which Adverb 1 (always) is modifying Adverb 2 (very).
- Rohan is writing very slowly.
Adverb 1: very
Adverb 2: slowly
Here, Adverb 1 (very) is modifying Adverb 2 (slowly).
- Henry is jumping very high.
Adverb 1: very
Adverb 2: high
Here, Adverb 1 (very) is modifying Adverb 2 (high).
Note: (About Adverbs)
1) Most of the Adverbs end with -ly, but few words ending with -ly are not Adverbs. So, the words can be adverbs or adjectives, depending on their activity in the sentence.
2) Usually, most writers recommend avoiding using adverbs in the sentences because it becomes unprofessional, lengthy and complex sentences.
It maybe seems impossible, but we can avoid at least unnecessary Adverbs. Instead, use a strong verb if you don’t have a precise verb or adjective.
Quiz Time! (Test your knowledge here!)
#1. "Raju is playing car games meanwhile his sister is playing with toys". Identify the correct type of Adverb.
#2. "Radhika is preparing food in the kitchen". Which type of Adverb is used for the given sentence?
Answer: The answer is Adverb of Place because the adverb used is in. So, it is referring to the place of the action.
#3. "She never share her toys with anyone". Identify the type of Adverb used.
Answer: The answer is Adverb of Frequence because the adverb (never) refers to the frequency of the action/verb (share).
#4. "He is speaking very calmly". Which type of word "calmly" is?
Answer: Here, the word “calmly” is an adverb.
#5. An Adverb is a word that usually modifies ___________.
#6. Adverbs also modifies Adjectives, Adverbs and Sentences. Is it true or false?
#7. "John didn't eat the food completely". Which type of adverb is used?
Answer: The answer is Adverb of Degree because the adverb (completely) refers to the level/degree of the action.
#8. Identify the Adverb of the given sentence, "You are walking slowly".
Answer: Here, “slowly” is the Adverb which is referring the verb (walking).
#9. "Suddenly, she was surprised to see her brother after a long time". Identify the type of Adverb used?
Answer: The answer is Sentence Adverbs because the Adverb (suddenly) is used at the beginning and changes the whole meaning of the sentence.
#10. Which type of Adverb is the given sentence, "I had Pizza for lunch yesterday".
Answer: The answer is Adverb of time because it is referring to the time of action that took place (i.e yesterday).
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Summary: (What are Adverbs in English Grammar?)
So, here is an overview of the topic which we have discussed till now.
- To describe a verb, Adverbs are used.
- It is also used to describe adverbs, adjectives and sentences.
- It covers the aspects like when the action happened, how the action happened, where the action happened, etc.
- Not all words ending with -ly are adverbs.
- There are also many adverbs that don’t contain -ly like already, almost, back, better, best, even, far, etc.
If you are interested to learn more, then you can refer to Wikipedia here.
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