What is it?
Adverbs are used to modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb. Many of these end in –ly but many do not. If you can add –ly to the end of an adjective, you can use it to form an adverb e.g. happy (adj)/happily (adv).
Adverbs tell you how, when, where, why and to what extent e.g. how often/how much.
-Mary sings beautifully. (how)
-David arrived today. (when)
-This car goes incredibly fast. (to what extent)
- Adverbs of manner describe how something happens – they modify a verb and usually come after the verb e.g. The news spread quickly around the office.
- Adverbs of frequency / probability describe how often something happens or how probable it is and usually comes before the main verb e.g. Newspapers rarely report on these important issues.
- Adverbs of degree modify an adjective or a verb. They make it stronger or weaker e.g. It was totally unexpected
- Attitude adverbs describe the speaker’s attitude/opinion towards the information in the clause e.g. Luckily, the money was still there when I returned.
Match the adverbs below with their uses.
Basically, fortunately, hopefully, obviously, personally, surprisingly
- when something good or lucky happens
- when something is not as you would expect
- when you say what you hope will happen
- when you give your opinion
- to emphasise the most important fact about something
- when describing something you can understand easily
In the following pairs of sentences, indicate whether the highlighted word is an adverb or adjective.
- a) My train arrived late, as usual. Adverb / Adjective
- b) I’m watching the late Adverb / Adjective
- a) My brother loves fast Adverb / Adjective
- b) He drives too fast. Adverb / Adjective
When in doubt, you can always experiment with the language. If you say something out loud, you can say it in different ways – see what sounds right!