Adverbs: the universal modifiers

adverbs

I don’t why, but I’ve always had some difficulty getting my head around adverbs.

I mean, verbs are always ‘doing words’ (I’m going back to primary school-speak here!) so adverbs should merely be regarded as ‘ad (-ditional) verb’ information, shouldn’t they? 

Erm…not quite, adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs, and since there are so many different forms of the little blighters that it can be hard to keep track of what is an adverb and what isn’t. 

The following list might be of some help:

1. Adverbs of manner  

Adverbs of manner are (almost) always formed from adjectives by adding -ly:

“She sang beautifully.”

HOWEVER, note that:
i) Some adjectives can also end in ‘ly’; e.g. “the lonely man”.

ii) If the adjective already ends in ‘-ly’ it is clumsy to add another ‘-ly’ to form the adverb (even though this is technically correct):

  • e.g. friendly – friendlily!
  • kindly / leisurely / lonely /lovely…etc

iii) Flat adverbs are when the adverb can take the same form as the adjective; e.g. “Work hard.”
• far/ fast / hard / slow/ quick / straight / clean/ close / deep / fine

2. Adverbs of time

“He went to London yesterday.”

  • tomorrow / soon / now / then

3. Adverbs of place

“The fog swirled around everywhere”

  • there / here/ abroad

4. Interrogative adverbs

  • Where / how / why / when

5. Adverbs of number or degree

“He scored once” – twice / thrice…etc.
“I quite like it” – completely / enough / very / exceedingly / fairly.

6. Uncategorised adverbs – Agreement

  • Yes / no / not / assuredly / maybe / perhaps / probably

 

Related articles

For more on adverbs: Grammar: All about ‘A’ 

 

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