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Adverbs of degree

Adverbs of degree tell us about the intensity or degree of an action, an adjective

or another adverb.

Common adverbs of degree

Adverb Meaning Example
almost nearly too much/too late etc Karl had to run for the bus and almost
missed it.
nearly almost too much/too late etc I was very tired in the car, and I nearly
fell asleep.
quite some but not very much She's quite intelligent, and should do
okay in her exams.
just almost too much/too late etc I was just in time for the start of the
too more than possible ete was too late and wasn't allowed into
the lesson.
enough less than needed There isn't enough room in the class for
another student.
hardly 5% There is hardly any sugar in my coffee.
Can I have some more?
completely 100% Jack was completely wet after the storm,
and had to change his clothes.
very a lot She's very good at maths, and will
probably study it at university.
extremely very very I was extremely sad when my girlfriend
left me.

Adverbs are usually placed:

before the adjective or adverb they are modifying:

The weather was extremely cold.
Mike ran very fast.
Jack was quite cold, so he put on a thin sweater
I am too tired to go out tonight.
before the main verb:
Paul was just leaving.
She almost died
I completely understand your frustration
He hardly ate anything for dinner
Enough goes after adjectives and adverbs:
Is your tea hot enough? (adjective)
He didn't study hard enough, and failed his exam. (adverb)
It also goes before nouns, and means 'as much as is necessary'. In this case it
is not an adverb, but a determiner:
We've got enough time.
They don't have enough to eat.
Too as an adverb meaning 'more than is necessary' goes before adjectives and
This exercise is too difficult (adjective)
She drove too quickly, and I couldn't stay with her. (adverb)
Enough and too with adjectives can be followed by 'for someone/something':
It was cold enough outside to freeze the water in the pool.
She's not experienced enough for this job.
The button was too high for him to reach.
These shoes are too small for me.
We can also use 'to + infinitive' after enough and too with adjectives/adverb:
It was too hot to be outside.
He didn't work hard enough to pass the test.
She's not old enough to get into a club.
You're too young to get married
Very goes before an adverb or adjective to make it stronger:
The girl was very clever. (adjective)
He worked very slowly. (adverb)
If we want to make a negative form of an adjective or adverb, we can use a word
of opposite meaning, or not very:
The girl was short OR The girl was not very tall.
He ate slowly OR He didn't eat very quickly.
There is a big difference
between very and too. Very means possible; too means impossible:
It would be very difficult to swim from Britain to France: difficult but
It would be too difficult to swim from Britain to the United
States: impossible.
She runs very fast: It's difficult for me to keep the same speed as her.
She runs too fast: It's impossible for me to keep the same speed as her.

Adverbs are words that give more information about verbs or adjectives:

He walked slowly down the stairs. (how did he walk down the stairs?)

I rarely go to the shops. (how often do I go to the shops?)

Adverbs of manner are normally adjectives that end in ly:
She's a beautiful dancer. (beautiful is the adjective)

She dances beautifully. (beautifully is the adverb)

There are two irregular adverbs of manner, that look more like adjectives than
adverbs. They are adjectives and also adverbs: fast, hard. To find out
whether they are adjectives or adverbs, look at the context (the words on either
side of them):
The wall was hard: (adjective, describing a noun)

We ran hard: (adverb of manner, describing how we ran)

The adverb of good is not goodly. It is well:

The football team played well and won 3-0.

Here is a list of adverbs of manner that you should learn at pre-intermediate level:

angrily attractively badly beautifully bravely carefully

cheaply cleverly comfortably correctly deeply differently
easily expensively fast funnily happily hard
horribly impossibly interestingly kindly loudly luckily
nicely quickly quietly sadly slowly softly
strangely strongly sweetly terribly tiredly unhappily
unusually weakly

Where does the adverb go?

The following adverbs can go after the subject and before the main verb in a
Angrily: I angrily told her* I wanted to leave.

Bravely: Jason bravely fought the lion*.

Carefully: I carefully wrapped the present* for him.

Cleverly: My mother cleverly hid the presents* before Christmas Day.

Correctly: He correctly guessed the answer*.

Easily: She easily beat me* at football.

Happily: I happily agreed to help Dominic with his homework.

Kindly: The old man kindly gave me all his money before he died.

Luckily: I luckily avoided the hole in the middle of the road.

Quickly: She quickly learnt/learnt quickly that she had to say one thing
and do the other to succeed.

Quietly: He quietly went/went quietly into his room* and sat down.

Sadly: I sadly opened the windows* and breathed in the cold air.

Slowly: Karl slowly pulled out his gun* and shot the snake.

Softly: I softly washed the baby's head*.

Sweetly: He sweetly sang/sang sweetly to his girlfriend*.

Tiredly: I tiredly took off my clothes* and went to bed.

Unhappily: She unhappily thought about the consequences of her


In sentences marked with a *, the adverb can also go where the star is.

The following adverbs can go after the subject and after, not before, the main verb
in a sentence:

Attractively: She walked attractively into the room.

Beautifully: My sister draws and paints beautifully.

Cheaply: I dress cheaply because I don't care about my appearance.

Comfortably: Horace settled comfortably in his favourite chair and went

to sleep.

Deeply: I thought deeply about this problem and tried to come up with a

Expensively: I dressed expensively to make a good impression.

Fast: Kathy drove fast but carefully.

Hard: She worked hard during the week and played sport all weekend.

Heavily: It rained heavily all weekend.

Horribly: She died horribly, in pain and discomfort.

Interestingly: The lecturer talked interestingly about the subject.

Loudly: I shouted loudly, but he didn't hear me.

Nicely: Mrs Knight writes very nicely.

Strangely: I looked strangely at him when he said he was an alien.

Strongly: She smelt strongly of whisky.

Terribly: I suffer terribly from back pain.

Weakly: I fought weakly and he was too strong for me.

Well: You have worked well, so you deserve to pass the exam.

Wrongly: I answered wrongly and failed the test.