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What are adverbs?

An adverb is a word that modifies verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.

Adverbs vs Adjectives

The difference between an adverb and an adjective is the following:

 An adjective modifies a noun.

"John is tall." (The adjective tall modifies the noun John)
 An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb.
"That idea is simply ridiculous." (The adverb simply modifies the
adjective ridiculous)
"She sings nicely." (The adverb nicely modifies the verb sing)
"She did it really well." (the adverb really modifies the adverb well)

Read the passage:

Mrs. Smith immediately called the police when she

saw the criminals assaulting the poor boy
aggressively. It was the most horrible scene that she
had ever witnessed in her life. She had always lived
peacefully in that neighborhood. No one had ever
disturbed her quiet nights there.

The words " immediately, aggressively, peacefully, ever, always, there" are adverbs.

What are the different types of adverbs?

Basically, most adverbs tell you how, in what way, when, where, and to what extent something is done. In
other words, they often describe the manner, place, or time of an action. Here are some examples:

 He speaks quietly. ( quietly is an adverb of manner.)

 I live here. (here is an adverb of place.)
 We'll leave tomorrow . (tomorrow is an adverb of time.)
 She never sleeps late . (never is an adverb of frequency.)

Adverb rules:

1. Regular adverbs:

Adverbs in English often end in -ly. These adverbs are formed by adding -ly to the end of an adjective:
Adjective + ly

Adjective Adverb
slow slowly
beautiful beautifully

careful carefully
violent violently

Spelling rules:

 true → truly (the silent e is dropped and add ly)

 happy → happily ( y becomes i and add ly.)
 possible → possibly (e after a consonant is dropped and ly is added.)
 full → fully (after ll and add y is added.)
 fanatic → fanatically (after adjectives ending in -ic add -ally - there is an exception: public-

2. Exceptions:

However, this is not the only way to form an adverb. Many adverbs do not end in -ly.

This is a list of adverbs that don't follow the rule:

Adjective Adverb
fast fast
hard hard
late late
early early
daily daily

Some adjectives change their form when they become adverbs:

adjective adverb
good well

3. Things to remember:

Many words are not adverbs although they end in -ly. Here are examples of adjectives that end in -ly.


 a kindly teacher
 a lonely girl
 an elderly person
 a friendly policeman

To decide whether a word is an adverb ask questions with how, where and when.

 How does James speak Spanish? He speaks Spanish fluently.

 Where do the kids play soccer? They play soccer here.
 When did she write the email to her husband? She wrote the email immediately.

The 5 Types of Adverbs
As with all adverbs, they tell us more about the verb. There are 5 different types of adverbs.

For example, adverbs can describe when (adverbs of time) or where (adverbs of place) something

Adverbs of manner express how something happens by simply adding -ly (in most cases).

Instead of a list of adverbs with examples, let’s examine the 5 different types of adverbs including adverbs
of degree, frequency, manner, place and time.

1 Adverbs of Degree

For adverbs that answer “how much” or to “what extent”, the are adverbs of degree. For example, they
usually modify other verbs, adjectives or adverbs making them stronger or weaker.

These types of adverbs modify adjectives but not the other way around. In other words, adverbs can
combine with other adverbs to put more emphasis on the verb. When you use ‘more’, ‘most’ and ‘least’,
they can show degree when describing a verb.


 He’s very good at playing the piano.
 She’s almost always late arriving at school.
 It’s pretty interesting to see the history of China.
 The English test was extremely difficult.
 When he wears his running shoes, he moves more quickly among everyone.

2 Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency express “how often” something takes place. In other words, it explains the intensity of
occurrence that an event happens. Adverbs of frequency are usually in this form: Subject + Adverb + Verb

Adverb of Frequency How Often

Never 0%
Hardly Ever 10%
Rarely 20%
Seldom 30%
Occasionally 40%
Sometimes 50%
Often 60%
Frequently 70%
Usually 90%
Always 100%

In addition, adverbs like “daily”, “weekly”, “monthly” and “yearly” describe frequency. But these adverbs of
frequency answer “how often” in a more specific way.

 I usually go to the gym on weekends.
 She always wake up at 7:00 am.
 The family rarely eat brown rice for dinner.
 I never take sick days.

3 Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner express how something happens. In most cases for adverbs of manner, you can take
an adjective and simply add -ly to form an adverb. For example, if you take take the sentence – “The cat is
quick (adjective).”

Instead of describing a noun, an adverb describes or modifies a verb. In this case, the noun is the word
‘cat’. Because adverbs describe verbs, you need to add a verb in the sentence. For example, you can use
the verb “to run” in this form – “The cat runs quickly.”

Adverbs of manner tell us the way or how to do something. However, not all adverbs end with -ly. For
example, the words ‘fast’ and ‘well’ describe verbs but do not end in -ly.


 The cat runs quickly.
 She plays the violin terribly.
 The horse moved fast.
 She plays the piano well.

4 Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of Place describe “where” an action takes place. In addition, we usually find adverbs of place after
the main verb.

For example, “indoors”, “next week” and “still” all describe where something happens. Again, we often find
these adverbs of place after a verb in a sentence.


 If you want to see the hot air balloon, you will have to go outside.
 When she entered the classroom, she sat down.
 I searched everywhere but I couldn’t find him.
 He walks downstairs to meet his father.

5 Adverbs of Time

As with all adverbs, they tell us more about the verb. For adverbs of time, they tell us when the verb
happened or will happen. For example, “afterwards”, “every day” and “recently’ are adverbs of time and
describe “when”.

On the other hand, adverbs of time can describe the duration of an event occurs. Also, it can show when an
action is complete.


 We’ll go to the festival tomorrow.
 Yesterday, we played in the basketball tournament.
 She’ll eventually finish studying and go to university.
 They ate popcorn and watched movies all day.

Adverb Practice Exercises
Exercise A: Underline the adverbs in the following sentences and state their kind.

1. I went to the market in the morning. adverbial of place adverbial of time

2. The dog sat lazily in the shade of the tree.

3. The man grumbled loudly while cleaning the table.

4. I often visit my grandparents.

5. It is extremely hot today.

6. Please wait patiently.

7. The technician fixed the problem easily.

8. They serve hot pan cakes there.

9. I am waiting here for my daughter.

10. He laughed merrily.

11. We will leave today.

12. She is standing outside.

Exercise B: Identify the adverbs in each sentence as well as the words they modify. After identifying the
adverbs in the entire exercise, click on the “Are You Prepared?” button at the bottom of this page to see the

1. Marcella, deposit the money safely in the most powerful vault. 1. SAFELY: adverb of manner

modifying the verb DEPOSIT. 2. MOST: adverb of degree modifying the adjective


2. The recently found journal said Wallace was so lost that he just wandered aimlessly in circles.

3. Running quickly for the end zone, the widely recruited full back (=defensive player) tripped.

4. Lynne pushed the most talented students so they would finish the assignment quickly.

5. The author was quite annoyed when she determined that the publisher was very dishonest.

6. Wendy threw the garbage out, but the flies would not leave.

7. After she looked carefully in both directions, Amitabha sprinted across.

8. Now that Royce has arrived safely, the group can settle down.

9. Their most talented competitor still will not defeat our top contender.

10. Always think positively when you are presented an opportunity to succeed.

11. The CEO feels unusually tense today.

12. Ginger spoke glowingly of Kyoko’s extraordinary acting skills.

13. The children’s teacher announced that their class was the most highly rated in the district.

14. Greg’s mule accepted every task willingly.

15. You should put that hibiscus inside.

16. In the winter, New York is much colder than Florida.

17. Hank waved enthusiastically at Steve.

18. Speak softly into the microphone or we will suffer greatly.

19. When Thomas pounded firmly on the door, he woke the sleeping baby.

20. “Grammar is so difficult and quite boring,” the overworked student complained bitterly.

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