Adverbs

     

 

Introduction

When I arrived at their house, the big dog, which was called Rover, was barking loudly because it was lonely.

Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs or prepositions.

They tell you how, why, when, where, etc.

You can often form an adverb by adding "ly" to an adjective:

loud

loudly

recent

recently

quick

quickly

happy

happily

Which other word does each of the adverbs in the next sentences modify? Click on the adverbs to see the answer.

  • ... they travelled slowly ...
  • A crocodile can be very gentle.
  • We had an amazingly good time.
  • It’s just above the horizon.
  • We meet quite often.

Click here to see more adverbs.

 


Changing the position of adverbs in a sentence

When adverbs modify verbs they can often move about in the sentence, varying its rhythm and emphasis.

In this sentence, the adverb originally can be inserted at any of the points marked ^.

^ The book ^ must ^ have ^ been ^ bought ^ in this shop ^.

Click on the ^ points to see how the rhythm and emphasis of the sentence is changed.


Adverbs of manner, place and time, reason and degree

Adverbs are defined by the question they answer.

  • manner adverbs - answer the question ‘How?’

slowly quickly carefully fast well anxiously heavily

Q. ‘How did he run?’

A. ‘Slowly

The boy nibbled carefully at his apple.

  • place adverbs - answer the question ‘Where?’
  • outside inside home away here there everywhere

    Q. Where was the traffic bad?

    A. Everywhere

    Outside the temperature was freezing.

  • time adverbs - answer the question ‘When / how often?’
  • now, then, next, soon, always, often, frequently

    Q When is it my turn?

    A. Next.

    Q. How often do you see your father?

    A. Frequently.

    It seldom rains in the desert.

    I’m going now.

     

  • reason adverbs - answer the question ‘Why?’
  • therefore, consequently, so (Is so an adverb or conjunction?)

    He misread the map and consequently became very lost.

    The dog barked so I ran for it.

  • degree adverbs - answer the question ‘How much?’

    very, a bit, sufficiently, enough

    Q. How difficult was the exam?

    A. Very (difficult).

    It was windy enough for them to fly their kite.

 

 


Self-assessment on adverbs

1. Find the adverbs in the sentence below. As usual, beware of the decoy underlining.

She had indeed driven ambulances during the war, and was either blown up or narrowly escaped death when a bomb exploded nearby. (Alan Bennett, The Lady in the Van)

Now find the verbs that these adverbs modify.

She had indeed driven ambulances during the war, and was either blown up or narrowly escaped death when a bomb exploded nearby.

2. In this passage from a KS3 pupil's writing, there are four adverbs (which are underlined). Decide which word each one modifies, and the click on the adverb to check your answer.

We have been camping before and it has been really good fun. So far in 3 days we have lost all of our food, and clean water.

 

 


More adverbs:

sideways

northward

clockwise

outwards

soon

often

very

quite

rather

extremely

easily

well

badly

energetically

basically

publicly


"So" – adverb or conjunction?

So is on the borderline between adverbs and conjunctions.

Like the co-ordinating conjunctions and and or, it often links two clauses.

In this sentence so could be described as either an adverb or a conjunction:

The dog barked so I ran for it.

But in the next sentence so is more clearly an adverb because there is already a conjunction (and) linking the clauses. Here, so is an adverb expressing reason:

The dog barked and so I ran for it.