You use adverbs to express more detailed information about time, place, manner, frequency or cause. Adverbs usually refer to verbs. They describe how, when, where, how often or why something has happened.
In the table below you find a few examples of sentences with different kinds of adverbs. On the right side of the table, you can see how to ask a question about the adverb. If you want to find out what kind of an adverb you are dealing with, just ask the appropriate question and take a look at the question word.
Tina walked to school happily.
How did she walk to school? Happily.
Do you want to stay here?
Where do you want to stay? Here.
Jason often goes to the mall.
How often does Jason go to the mall? Often.
There are three different forms of adverbs.
1. Adverbs that are derived from an adjective
An example of an adjective looks like this: nervous. Adjectives describe nouns. If you want to describe a verb, you need an adverb. Therefore you have to add -ly nervous + ly = nervously
Some more examples:
- a free lesson speaking freely
- a nice child she sings nicely
- a generous person he spends money generously
- a loud noise he speaks loudly
- a quiet place she sleeps quietly
There are a few things you have to be careful with:
"y" at the end of the word becomes "i":
The ending -le is replaced by -ly:
To adjectives that end on -ic you have to add -ally:
There are a couple of irregular cases:
full fully; whole wholly; true truly; good well
2. Adverbs that look like an adjective
Some adverbs look just like their corresponding adjectives. Unfortunately, the only way to remember them is to learn them by heart.
The most important ones are:
This is the wrong place.
You pronounced that wrong.
It's my daily routine.
He rings him daily.
That's a very deep hole!
She went deep into the forest.
Is this the right number?
She wants to make it right.
We left the early morning.
I came here early.
He took a long walk.
I waited very long.
This was a fair game.
She played fair.
Toby is late.
It's late in the evening.
He's a far cousin.
He threw the ball far away.
This exercise is hard.
He pushed him hard.
This was a fast game.
She can run very fast.
3. Original adverbs
Some adverbs do not have an equivalent adjective. They only exist as adverbs. For example:
always, now, still, often, then, sometimes, today, up, soon, there, perhaps, down, …
How to choose between adjective and adverb
If you want to know whether you have to use an adjective or an adverb, you have to ask yourself whether the word you want to use is going to describe a noun our a verb.
- First example: Peter has a new car. He knows very well how to drive, and you feel comfortable sitting next to him in the car. "You are a good driver, Peter." Here, you determine what kind of a driver Peter is; "driver" is a noun. The adjective "good" specifies the noun "driver".
- Second example: Peter and you are driving through the city. You think: "You drive well, Peter." Here, you specify the way Peter drives. The adverb (of manner) "well" specifies the verb "to drive".
As always, there are exceptions to this rule:
Be careful with the verbs to be, to look, to seem, to taste, to feel! Even though these are verbs, you may never use adverbs to specify these verbs! You always have to use an adjective!
You look nice.
He is sad.
This tastes good.
The pipe smells bad.
This seems weird.
Now do the exercise below and choose whether you have to use an adjective or an adverb! Good luck!