An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb and answers one of the following questions:

  1. When?
  2. Where?
  3. Why?
  4. How? (most common question answered by an adverb)
  5. How much? (or to what degree?)

How Are Adverbs Formed?

  1. Many adverbs are formed by adding “-ly” onto the end of an adjective.
    (e.g., careless => carelessly; quick => quickly).
  2. Adjectives ending in “-le” change to “-ly”.
    (possible => possibly; probable => probably)
  3. Adjectives ending in “-y” change to “-ily”.
    (lucky => luckily; happy => happily)
  4. Adjectives ending in “-ic” change to “-ically”.
    (basic => basically; ironic => ironically)

Let’s look at some examples:

  • She arrived late. (“late” describes when she arrived)
  • They all went there for the party. (“there” is where they went for the party)
  • The swim team practices every morning to develop good habits.
    (“to develop good habits” is an adverb phrase that explains why they practice)
  • She sang beautifully. (“beautifully” describes how she sang)
  • He loves her very much. (“Very” describes how much he loves her)
  • He searched frantically. (“frantically” described how he searched)

Types of Adverbs

  1. Adverbs of Manner (how)(slowly, cheerfully, fast)
  2. Adverbs of Place (where) (here, everywhere, outside)
  3. Adverbs of Time (when) (yesterday, now, daily, sometimes)
  4. Adverbs of Degree (how much; to what degree) (entirely, very, quite)
  5. Adverbs of Frequency (how often/when/how much)(almost, always, never, seldom)

Placement of Adverbs

  1. Adverbs of manner are placed after the verb or at the end of the sentence.
    (Their teacher speaks quickly.)
  2. Adverbs of place are placed after the verb or at the end of a sentence.
    (I’ll wait for you downstairs.)
  3. Adverbs of time are placed after the verb or at the end of the sentence.
    (She visited her friends last year.)
  4. Adverbs of degree are are placed after the verb or at the end of the sentence.
    (She’ll attend the meeting as well.)
  5. Adverbs of frequency are placed before the main verb (not the auxiliary verb).
    (He often goes to bed late. Do you sometimes get up early?)

    They are placed after the verb “to be” when used as the main verb of the sentence.
    (Jack is often late for work.)

  6. Some adverbs can be placed at the beginning of the sentence for more emphasis.
    (Now you tell me you can’t come!) (Sometimes I visit my friends in London.) (Luckily, I was able to go.)

Confusing Words

  1. Which is correct? I feel bad. or I feel badly.
    (“bad” is an adjective and describes “I”; “badly” is an adverb and describes “feel”. To feel badly means that one cannot feel something very well with his fingers. Perhaps his hands were damaged in a fire.) (“bad” is correct)
  2. Which is correct? He did good. or He did well.
    (“good” is an adjective and has no noun to modify. “Well” is an adverb and describes how he did.) (“well” is correct)


Instructions: Identify the adverbs in the following sentences and list what word they modify and what question they answer.

  1. She rarely goes to parties.
  2. Peter walked upstairs.
  3. He drove quickly to the hospital.
  4. Yesterday school was closed.
  5. I’ve already bought my concert tickets.
  6. She loves him very much.
  7. He writes very precisely.
  8. He was quite tired when he came home.
  9. My wife and I play tennis daily.
  10. John was extremely happy that he performed well on his exams.
  11. He is very friendly.

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