Adverb

Adverb

Definition: Most adverbs in English are formed by adding -ly to an Adjective. An adverb is a word that modifies the meaning of a Verb; an Adjective; another adverb; a Noun or Noun Phrase; Determiner; a Numeral; a Pronoun; or a Prepositional Phrase and can sometimes be used as a Complement of a Preposition.

ADVERB SPELLING NOTES

  1. Adjectives ending -l still take -ly; careful-carefully.
  2. Adjectives ending -y change to -ily; lucky-luckily
  3. Adjectives ending -ble change to -bly; responsible-responsibly

ADVERB OF MANNER

Adverbs of manner modify a verb to describe the way the action is done.

Example: She did the work carefully.

('Carefully' modifies the verb to describe the way the work was done, as opposed to quickly, carelessly, etc..)

ADVERB OF PLACE or LOCATION

Adverbs of place show where the action is done.

Example: They live locally.

ADVERB OF TIME

Adverbs of time show when an action is done, or the duration or frequency.

Example: He did it yesterday. (When)

They are permanently busy. (Duration)

She never does it. (Frequency)

ADVERB OF DEGREE

Adverbs of degree increase or decrease the effect of the verb.

Example: I completely agree with you. (This increases the effect of the verb, whereas 'partially' would decrease it.)

ADVERBS MODIFYING ADJECTIVES

An adjective can be modified by an adverb, which precedes the adjective, except 'enough' which comes after.

Example: That's really good.

It was a terribly difficult time for all of us.

It wasn't good enough. ('Enough' comes after the adjective.)

ADVERBS MODIFYING ADVERBS

An adverb can modify another. As with adjectives, the adverb precedes the one it is modifying with 'enough' being the exception again.

Example: She did it really well.

He didn't come last night, funnily enough.

ADVERBS MODIFYING NOUNS

Adverbs can modify nouns to indicate time or place.

Example: The concert tomorrow

Example: The room upstairs

ADVERBS MODIFYING NOUN PHRASES

Some adverbs of degree can modify noun phrases.

Example: We had quite a good time.

They're such good friends.

Quite; rather; such; what (What a day!) can be used in this way.

ADVERBS MODIFYING DETERMINERS, NUMERALS & PRONOUNS

Adverbs such as almost; nearly; hardly; about, etc., can be used:

Example: Almost everybody came in the end.

Why do we use adverbials?

We use adverbs to give more information about the verb.
We use adverbials of manner to say how something happens or how something is done:
The children were playing happily.
He was driving as fast as possible.
We use adverbials of place to say where something happens:
I saw him there.
We met in London.
We use adverbials of time to say when or how often something happens:
They start work at six thirty.
They usually go to work by bus.
We use adverbials of probability to show how certain we are about something.
  • Perhaps the weather will be fine.
  • He is certainly coming to the party.
·         how we make adverbials
·         An adverbial can be an adverb:
·         He spoke angrily.
They live here.
We will be back soon.
·         or an adverb with a quantifier:
·         He spoke really angrily.
They live just here.
We will go quite soon.
We will go as soon as possible.
·         or a phrase with a preposition:
·         He spoke in an angry voice.
They live in London.
We will go in a few minutes.

where they go in a sentence

Where do adverbials go in a sentence?

We normally put adverbials after the verb:
He spoke angrily.
They live just here.
We will go in a few minutes.
or after the object or complement:
He opened the door quietly.
She left the money on the table.
We saw our friends last night.
You are looking tired tonight.
But adverbials of frequency (how often) usually come in front of the main verb:
We usually spent our holidays with our grandparents.
I have never seen William at work.
But if we want to emphasise an adverbial we can put it at the beginning of a clause:
Last night we saw our friends.
In a few minutes we will go.
Very quietly he opened the door.
If we want to emphasise an adverb of manner we can put it in front of the main verb:
He quietly opened the door.
She had carefully put the glass on the shelf.

adverbs of manner

Adverbs of manner are usually formed from adjectives by adding –ly:
bad > badly; quiet > quietly; recent > recently; sudden > suddenly
but there are sometimes changes in spelling:
easy > easily; gentle > gently
If an adjective ends in –ly we use the phrase in a …. way to express manner:
Silly > He behaved in a silly way.
Friendly > She spoke in a friendly way.
A few adverbs of manner have the same form as the adjective:
They all worked hard.
She usually arrives late.
I hate driving fast.
Note: hardly and lately have different meanings:
He could hardly walk = It was difficult for him to walk.
I haven’t seen John lately = I haven’t seen John recently.
We often use phrases with like as adverbials of manner:
She slept like a baby.
He ran like a rabbit.

Adverbs of manner and link verbs
We very often use adverbials with like after link verbs:
Her hands felt like ice.
It smells like fresh bread.
But we do not use other adverbials of manner after link verbs. We use adjectives instead:
They looked happily happy.
That bread smells deliciously delicious.

adverbials of place

We use adverbials of place to describe:

Location

We use prepositions to talk about where someone or something is.
 Examples:
  • He was standing by the table.
  • You’ll find it in the cupboard.
  • Sign your name here – at the bottom of the page.

Direction

We use adverbials to to talk about the direction where someone or something is moving.
Examples:
  • Walk past the bank and keep going to the end of the street.
  • The car door is very small so it’s difficult to get into.

Distance

We use adverbials to show how far things are:
Examples:
  • Birmingham is 250 kilometres from London.
  • We were in London. Birmingham was 250 kilometres away.

adverbials of location

Location

We use prepositions to talk about where someone or something is:
above
among
at
behind
below
beneath
beside
between
by
in
in between
inside
near
next to
on
opposite
outside
over
round
through
under
underneath

He was standing by the table.
She lives in a village near Glasgow.
You’ll find it in the cupboard.

We use phrases with of as prepositions:
at the back of
at the top of
at the bottom of
at the end of
on top of
at the front of
in front of
in the middle of

There were some flowers in the middle of the table.
Sign your name here – at the bottom of the page.
I can’t see. You’re standing in front of me.
We can use right as an intensifier with some of these prepositions:
He was standing right next to the table.
There were some flowers right in the middle of the table.
There’s a wood right behind our house.

adverbials of direction

Direction

We also use prepositional phrases to talk about direction:
across
along
back
 back to
down
into
onto
out of
 past
through
to
towards
She ran out of the house.
Walk past the bank and keep going to the end of the street.
We also use adverbs and adverb phrases for place and direction:
abroad
away
anywhere
downstairs
downwards
everywhere
here
indoors
inside
nowhere
outdoors
outside
somewhere
there
upstairs
I would love to see Paris. I’ve never been there.
The bedroom is upstairs.
It was so cold that we stayed indoors.
We often have a preposition at the end of a clause:
This is the room we have our meals in.
The car door is very small so it’s difficult to get into.
I lifted the carpet and looked underneath.

adverbials of distance

Distance

We use adverbials to show how far things are:
Birmingham is 250 kilometres from London.
Birmingham is 250 kilometres away from London.
It is 250 kilometres from Birmingham to London.
Sometimes we use a preposition at the end of a clause:
We were in London. Birmingham was 250 kilometres away.
Birmingham was 250 kilometres off.

adverbials of time

Adverbials of time

We use adverbials of time to say:
when something happened:
I saw Mary yesterday.
She was born in 1978.
I will see you later.
There was a storm during the night.
• for how long :
We waited all day.
They have lived here since 2004.
We will be on holiday from July 1st until August 3rd.
how often (frequency):
They usually watched television in the evening.
We sometimes went to work by car.
We often use a noun phrase as a time adverbial:
yesterday
last week/month/year
one day/week/month
last Saturday
tomorrow
next week/month/year
the day after tomorrow
next Friday
today
this week/month/year
the day before yesterday
the other day/week/month
time and dates
We use phrases with prepositions as time adverbials:
• We use at with:
clock times: at seven o’clock - at nine thirty - at fifteen hundred hours
mealtimes: at breakfast - at lunchtime - at teatime
… and in these phrases:
at night - at the weekend - at Christmas - at Easter
• We use in with:
seasons of the year: in spring/summer/autumn/winter - in the spring /summer/autumn/winter
years and centuries: in 2009 -in 1998 - in the twentieth century
months: in January/February/March etc.
parts of the day: in the morning - in the afternoon - in the evening.
• We use on with:
days: on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday etc - on Christmas day - on my birthday.
dates: on the thirty first of July - on June 15th
Note: We say at night when we are talking about all of the night:
When there is no moon it is very dark at night.
He sleeps during the day and works at night.
but we say in the night when we are talking about a short time during the night:
He woke up twice in the night.
I heard a funny noise in the night.
We use the adverb ago with the past simple to say how long before the time of speaking something happened:
I saw Jim about three weeks ago.
We arrived a few minutes ago.
We can put time phrases together:
We will meet next week at six o’clock on Monday.
I heard a funny noise at about eleven o’clock last night.
It happened last week at seven o’clock on Monday night.
how long
We use for to say how long:
We have been waiting for twenty minutes.
They lived in Manchester for fifteen years.
We use since with the present perfect or the past perfect to say when something started:
I have worked here since December.
They had been watching since seven o’clock in the morning.
We use from …to/until to say when something starts and finishes:
They stayed with us from Monday to Friday.
We will be on holiday from the sixteenth until the twentieth.
how often
The commonest adverbials of frequency are:
always
never
normally
occasionally
often
rarely
seldom
sometimes
usually
We usually put adverbials of frequency in front of the main verb:
We often spend Christmas with friends.
I have never enjoyed myself so much.
but they usually come after the verb be:
He was always tired in the evening.
We are never late for work.
We use the adverbial a lot to mean often or frequently. It comes at the end of the clause:
We go to the cinema a lot.
but before another time adverbial:
We go to the cinema a lot at the weekend.
We use much with a negative to mean not often:
 We don’t go out much. (= We don’t go out often)
We use how often or ever to ask questions about frequency. How often comes at the beginning of the clause:
How often do you go to the cinema?
How often have you been here?
ever comes before the main verb:
Do you ever go to the cinema at the weekend?
Have you ever been there?
Longer frequency phrases, like every year or three times a day usually come at the end of the clause:
I have an English lesson twice a week.
She goes to see her mother every day.
already, still, yet and no longer
We use still to show that something continues up to a time in the past present or future. It goes in front of the main verb:
The children still enjoyed playing games.
They are still living next door.
We will still be on holiday.
… or after the present simple or the past simple of be:
Her grandfather is still alive.
They were still unhappy.
We use already to show that something has happened sooner than it was expected to happen. Like still, it comes before the main verb:
The car is OK. I’ve already fixed it.
It was early but they were already sleeping.
… or after the present simple or past simple of the verb be:
It was early but we were already tired.
We are already late.
We use yet in a negative or interrogative clause, usually with perfective aspect (especially in British English), to show that something has not happened by a particular time. yet comes at the end of the sentence:
It was late, but they hadn’t arrived yet.
Have you fixed the car yet?
She won’t have sent the email yet.

adverbials of probability

Adverbials of probability

We use adverbials of probability to show how certain we are about something. The most frequent adverbials of probability are:
certainly - definitely - maybe - possibly
clearly - obviously - perhaps - probably

maybe and perhaps usually come at the beginning of the clause:
Perhaps the weather will be fine.
Maybe it won’t rain.
Other adverbs of possibility usually come in front of the main verb:
He is certainly coming to the party.
Will they definitely be there?
We will possibly come to England next year.
but in after am, is, are, was, were:
They are definitely at home.
She was obviously very surprised.

comparative adverbs

We can use comparative adverbs to show change or to make comparisons:
I forget things more often nowadays.
She began to speak more quickly.
They are working harder now.
We often use than with comparative adverbs
I forget things more often than I used to.
Girls usually work harder than boys.

Intensifiers:

We use these words and phrases as intensifiers with these patterns:
much - far - a lot - quite a lot - a great deal - a good deal - a good bit - a fair bit
I forget things much more often nowadays.

Mitigators:

We use these words and phrases as mitigators:
a bit - just a bit - a little - a little bit - just a little bit - slightly
She began to speak a bit more quickly
 

superlative adverbs

We can use superlative adverbs to make comparisons:
His ankles hurt badly, but his knees hurt worst.
It rains most often at the beginning of the year.

Intensifiers:

When we intensify a superlative adverb we often use the in front of the adverb, and we use these words and phrases as intensifiers:
easily - much - far - by far

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