Adverbs in English

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Grammar rules

Nature and use

Each language has a grammatical category “Adverbs.” An adverb describes verbs (actions). An adverb is a part of speech that provides a more detailed description of a verb, adjective, other adverb, phrase, phrase, or sentence.


What is the dialect

First of all, it is important to understand the words with which adverbs work in close cooperation, starting with verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. A verb is a word that expresses an action or state, ie. jump, run, swim, ski, fish, talk.

An adjective is a word that describes or clarifies a noun, ie. Pretty, happy, silly, sunny. The noun is a person, place or something – in its simplest definition, ie. girl, dog, mom.

After looking at a few examples, it will be easy to see how adverbs work in a sentence. In short, they explain the action.

Here are some examples of adverbs that change the meaning of verbs / actions /:


  • He runs quickly.
  • She walks slowly.
  • He’s happily chattering over there in the corner.


A great way to guess the adverb in a sentence is to look for the word ending in -ly. These main parts of speech in English are usually placed just before or after the verb in the sentence.


Types of dialects

  • Frequency adverbs: always, never, once a week, sometimes etc.
  • Adverbs of manner: carefully, loudly, slowly.
  • Adverbs of time: here, there, everywhere, above.
  • Adverbs for place: here, there, everywhere, above.


Adverbs can also change adjectives or other adverbs. They provide more information about these other descriptive words.


Example: He runs very quickly.

In this sentence, the adverb “very” describes the adverb “quickly” (“very quickly” can be used as a phrase).


Example: An incredibly pretty girl sat down next to me.

In this sentence, the adverb “incredibly” describes the adjective “pretty.”


How to discover and form dialects. Examples

We can determine whether a word is an adverb by defining its function in the sentence. In case it describes a verb, adjective or other adverb, then it is an adverb.

The other way to find adverbs, is through the ending -ly. Most of the dialects end in this ending.


  • Adverbs of manner: boldly, bravely, brightly, cheerfully, deftly, devotedly, eagerly, elegantly, faithfully, fortunately, happily, honestly, kindly, perfectly, politely, safely, badly, jealously, lazily, obnoxiously, poorly, rudely etc.
  •  Adverbs of time: eventually, finally, frequently, hourly, never, occasionally, often, rarely, regularly, seldom, sometimes, usually, weekly, yearly etc.
  • Adverbs of manner / speed /: promptly, quickly, rapidly, slowly, speedily, tediously etc.
  • Other adverbs: accidentally, awkwardly, blindly, coyly, crazily, defiantly, deliberately, doubtfully, dramatically, dutifully, enormously, evenly, exactly, hastily, madly, mysteriously, nervously, only, seriously, sharply, silently, solemnly etc.


Main forms and exceptions – formation

While the main way to form an adverb is from the adjective by adding the ending -ly, it is important to remember that this is not the universal rule and there are exceptions, such as “always”, “often”, “sometimes”, “seldom “and” never “, which are adverbs of time and frequency.

There are also so-called conjunctions such as “also,” “besides,” “meanwhile,” and “likewise.”

Common words play the role of adverbs. For example, “very,” “much,” “more,” and “many” can also be adverbs:

  • The puppy’s behavior was very
  • The much smarter boy won the spelling bee.
  • I so want to go to that concert tonight.


Common mistakes with adverbs and adjectives

Because adverbs and adjectives  change other words, people often misuse an adjective when they have to use an adverb and vice versa. For example, the following sentence is incorrect: He behaved very bad on the field trip.

This is incorrect because “bad” is an adjective  used to describe a type of “behavior” represented by a verb.

It is correct to say: He behaved very badly on the field trip.

On the other hand, the following sentence with the use of an adjective would also be correct: His behavior was bad on the field trip.

Here the adjective ‘bad’ correctly describes the noun ‘behavior’.

That is why we need to be careful with the use of adverbs.


A special case with Good and Well

The words good and well can lead to confusion between an adverb and an adjective. It is important to remember the following:

Good is an adjective that defines nouns.

For example:

That good boy (noun) just gave his little sister a hug.

Well is an adverb that changes and complements verbs or even adjectives.

For example:

He listens (verb) well.That well educated (adjective) woman went on to marry a celebrity.