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The adverbs in English Grammar Summary

1. The adverbs and the adjectives in English


Adjectives tell us something about a person or a thing. Adjectives can modify nouns (here: girl) or
pronouns (here: she).
Adverbs tell us in what way someone does something. Adverbs can modify verbs (here: drive), adjectives
or other adverbs.
adjective
Mandy is a careful girl.
She is very careful.

adverb
Mandy drives carefully.
She drives carefully.

Mandy is a careful driver. This sentence is about Mandy, the driver, so use the adjective.
Mandy drives carefully. This sentence is about her way of driving, so use the adverb.

2. Form
Adjective + -ly
adjective
dangerous
careful
nice
horrible
easy
electronic

adverb
dangerously
carefully
nicely
horribly
easily
electronically

Irregular forms:
adjective
good
fast
hard
If the adjective ends in -y, change -y to -i. Then add -ly:

happy happily

but:

shy shyly

If the adjective ends in -le, the adverb ends in -ly:

adverb
well
fast
hard

terrible terribly

If the adjective ends in -e, then add -ly:

safe safely

Not all words ending in -ly are adverbs:

adjectives ending in -ly: friendly, silly, lonely, ugly

nouns, ending in -ly: ally, bully, Italy, melancholy

verbs, ending in -ly: apply, rely, supply

There is no adverb for an adjective ending in -ly.

3. Use of adverbs
3.1. to modify verbs
The handball team played badly last Saturday.

3.2. to modify adjectives


It was an extremely bad match.

3.3. to modify adverbs


The handball team played extremely badly last Wednesday.

3.4. to modify quantities


There are quite a lot of people here.

3.5. to modify sentences


Unfortunately, the flight to Dallas had been cancelled.

4. Types of adverbs
4.1. Adverbs of manner

quickly

kindly

4.2. Adverbs of degree

very

rather

4.3. Adverbs of frequency

often

sometimes

4.4. Adverbs of time

now

today

4.5. Adverbs of place

here

nowhere

5. How do know whether to use an adjective or an adverb?


John is a careful driver. In this sentences we say how John is careful. If we want to say that the careful
John did not drive the usual way yesterday we have to use the adverb:

John did not drive carefully yesterday.

Here is another example:

I am a slow walker. (How am I? slow adjective)

I walk slowly. (Ho do I walk? slowly adverb)

6. Adjective or Adverb after special verbs


Both adjectives and adverbs may be used after look, smell and taste. Mind the change in meaning.
Here are two examples:
adjective
The pizza tastes good.
(How is the pizza?)
Peter's feet smell bad.
(How are his feet?)

adverb
Jamie Oliver can taste well.
(How can Jamie Oliver taste?)
Peter can smell badly.
(How can Peter smell?)

Do not get confused with good/well.

Linda looks good. (What type of person is she?)

Linda looks well. (How is Linda? She may have been ill, but now she is fit again.)

How are you? I'm well, thank you.

One can assume that in the second/third sentence the adverb well is used, but this is wrong well can be an
adjective (meaning fit/healthy), or an adverb of the adjective good.

Conclusion:

Use the adjective when you say something about the person itself.

Use the adverb, when you want to say about the action.

Adverbs and adjectives that have the same form


Are there adjectives and adverbs that look the same?

The following adjectives and adverbs have the same form.


Adjective

Adverb

close

close

daily

daily

early

early

fair

fair

far

far

fast

fast

free

free

hard

hard

high

high

late

late

like

like

lilkely

likely

live

live

long

long

low

low

right

right

wide

wide

wrong

wrong

Adverbs of frequency in English


Where do adverbs of frequency go?
Adverbs of frequency show you how often something happens. This can be always = 100%, or never = 0%.

always

usually

regularly

normally

often

sometimes

occasionally

rarely

seldom

never

These adverbs can go before the main verb.


Subject
I
Peter
Mandy

Auxiliary
can
has

Adverb of frequency
always
usually
sometimes

Verb
get up
play
got

Rest
at 6.45.
football on Sundays.
lots of homework.

or after a form of to be (am, are, is) - (was, were).


Subject
Susan

Auxiliary
is

Adverb of frequency
never

The adverbs often, usually, sometimes and occasionally can go at the beginning of a sentence.

Sometimes I go swimming.

Often we surf the internet.

Somtimes these adverbs can go at the end of a sentence.

We read books occasionally.

Rest
late.

Adverbs that have two forms in English


Are there adverbs that have two forms?

These adverbs have two forms:


without -ly

with -ly

fair

fairly

free

freely

high

highly

late

lately

most

mostly

near

nearly

pretty

prettily

right

rightly

wrong

wrongly

Comparison of adverbs in English


Grammatical constructions used for comparing adverbs
There are three forms of comparison:

positive

comparative

superlative

1. Comparison with -er/-est


hard harder (the) hardest
We use -er/-est with the following adverbs:

1.1. all adverbs with one syllable


positive

comparative

fast
high

faster
higher

superlative
fastest
highest

1.2. the adverb early


positive
early

comparative
earlier

superlative
earliest

2. Comparison with more most


adverbs ending on -ly (except: early)
positive
carefully

comparative
more carefully

superlative
(the) most carefully

3. Irregular adverbs
positive
well
badly
much
little
far

comparative
better
worse
more
less
farther
further

superlative
best
worst
most
least
farthest
furthest

ATTENTION!
In informal English some adverbs are used without -ly (e.g. cheap, loud, quick).

There are two forms of comparison possible, depending on the form of the adverb:

cheaply more cheaply most cheaply

cheap cheaper cheapest