What are Adverbs?

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Adverbs Definition, Uses and Exercises

Adverbs are an important part of speech in our day to day conversations. To perfect your English and grammar, it is integral that you understand how to use them. So, this blog brings to you a comprehensive guide on what adverbs are, their usage and examples, types and practice exercises.

What are Adverbs?

Source: YouTube – Mind Blooming

Simply put, adverbs are a part of speech used to add to the meaning of a verb. They are words or phrases that are used to describe or modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb. They provide context expressing the manner, place, time, frequency, degree, level of certainty and describe how, where, and when, in what manner and to what extent. Some of them are easy to identify as they end in -ly.

Examples of Adverbs:

  • I thought the movie ended too abruptly.
  • The beautifully painted landscape is a wonderful addition to my living room decor.
  • Sara is very pretty.
  • Phillip sings loudly in the shower.
  • Fortunately, Lucy recorded Tom’s win.

In the above sentences, the bold underlined words are adverbs as they describe a verb (painted, sings), an adjective (pretty), another adverb (too abruptly) or even a whole sentence.

Stephen King on Adverbs

Types

Diving deeper, we see that advers are divided into certain classifications. Let’s take a look at each of its types and understand it with the help of examples.

Adverbs of Degree

Adverbs of degree tell us about the degree of a word, i.e. they describe the intensity or how strong or weak the verb or adjective is in a sentence. Popular ones include almost, enough, hardly, just, nearly, quite,simply, so, too, etc.

Examples:

I almost fell asleep.

This is a slightly better result.

The answer to both questions is really rather simple

Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency tell us how often an action occurs. Some examples are again always, everyday, every week, every year, each year, never, normally, rarely, seldom, sometimes, usually, etc.

Examples:

She is always late to class.

He normally wakes up at 8 in the morning.

He usually misses swimming lessons on Saturdays.

Adverbs of Manner 

Adverbs of manner describe the manner in which something was carried out. They usually modify verbs, ending in -ly, and can be found at the end of the sentence or right before the word they modify. These include angrily, hungrily, beautifully, etc.

Examples:

She stretched lazily.

The town is easily accessible by road.

He trimmed the white roses neatly.

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place tell us where something took place. Remember not to confuse them with prepositions as those describe the location of nouns. While the words used as prepositions and adverbs of place can be the same, they become adverbs when they modify verbs. Popular examples include above, anywhere, back, below, everywhere, here, inside, nowhere, out, outside, there, etc.

Examples:

I live here.

She’s travelling abroad.

It’s time for lunch, so go inside

Adverbs of Time

Adverbs of time tell us when something took place. While prepositions can also describe the time but remember that prepositions are followed by objects and adverbs are not. Some examples of these are already, earlier, immediately, lately, later, now, recently, soon, tomorrow, yesterday, etc.

Examples:

They recently relocated to Sydney

We go immediately otherwise we will miss our flight.

I’ll finish my homework tomorrow.

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Usage and Examples

Given below are some examples in which adverts are used with different parts of speech.

Use of Adverbs with Verbs

Adverbs when used with verbs describe in what manner the action occurs, when or how often something happens, and to what degree.

Example: 

Joseph runs quickly.

Amara has to leave soon.

Tom really means it.

All the bold words are describing a verb They answer the questions- How does Joseph run? Quickly. When does Amara have to leave? Soon. Does Tom mean it? He really does.

Use of Adverbs with Adjectives

When adverbs are used to modify adjectives they add a degree of intensity.  

Examples:

The test was extremely difficult.

Matt was incredibly sorry about what he did.

The woman is very pretty.

The bolded words modified the adjectives and added a degree to them. Like- How difficult was the test? Extremely difficult. How sorry was Matt? Incredibly sorry. How pretty was the woman? Very pretty.

Use with Other Adverbs

Adverbs can also be used to describe another adverb. They add a degree to the existing adverb.

Example:

The cheetah runs incredibly quickly.

Monica talks very loudly.

In the above examples, there are two adverbs in each sentence. The adverb ‘incredibly’ is modifying the adverb ‘quickly’, and they’re both modifying the verb ‘run’. And the adverb ‘very’ is modifying the adverb ‘loudly’, and they’re both modifying the verb ‘loudly’.

Use of Adverbs with a Sentence

Some words can also modify entire sentences or clauses. In such cases, these are called sentence adverbs.

Examples:

Fortunately, we didn’t miss our train.

Hopefully, I will get selected for the program.

Placement

As a general rule, adverbs can be placed in the beginning, middle or end of a sentence. However, the placement is important as it can entirely change the meaning of the sentence.

Example: 

Fortunately, it rained and the crops were saved. (Beginning)

The painting was very pretty. (Middle)

She left the room and ran downstairs. (End)

Comparative and Superlative Adverbs

Like adjectives, adverbs too have positive, comparative and superlative forms.

Examples: 

He runs fast. (Positive)

He runs faster than all other students in his class. (Comparative)

He runs the fastest among everyone in the school. (Superlative)

Related: English for Competitive Exams

Common Errors with Adverbs

Here are some common mistakes that students make while using adverbs

  1. Students confuse the use of adjectives and adverbs. while using linking verbs (like feel, smell, sound, seem, and appear). Common examples of this are:

Incorrect – He behaved very bad on the field trip.

Correct – He behaved very badly on the field trip.

The first sentence is incorrect as an adjective is used to describe a verb, changing it to an adverb makes the sentence grammatically correct.

Incorrect – I feel badly about canceling our date.

Correct- I feel bad about canceling our date.

While using linking verbs (like feel, smell, sound, seem, and appear) typically adjectives are used. That’s because linking verbs doesn’t describe the action of the sentence; they simply link the subject of the sentence (“I”) to the subject complement (“bad”). This is why the first sentence is incorrect as it uses an adverb in place of an adjective.

  1. Confusion between the words ‘good’ and ‘well’

You’re very good at painting

You paint really well.

‘Good’ in the first is an adjective as it describes a noun (you). ‘Well’ in the second sentence is an adverb as it describes a verb (paint).

Exercises

Now that you have a general idea about adverbs, go through these MCQs to test your knowledge:

  1. You play the guitar very ___.
  • good
  • well
  • nice
  • goodly
  1.  I ____ go to bed at 10 o’clock.
  • once
  • ever
  • Usually
  1. ___, I don’t think this is a good idea.
  • Tomorrow
  • Carefully
  • Exceptionally
  • Personally
  1. She will plant her garden ____.
  • Here
  • There
  • nearby
  1. I feel _____ about ruining your birthday.
  • Badly
  • Bad
  • Sadly 

 Answers

  1. Well 
  2. Usually
  3. Personally
  4. Here 
  5. Bad 

Did you know? Class 10th Grammar forms the base of the Verbal section in most competitive exams.

Hopefully, this blog was able to help you get a better understanding of Adverbs. If you want to improve your grammar for English Proficiency Tests such as SAT, IELTS and GMAT, check the courses at Leverage Live. Our superior study material, highly qualified experts, and small batches with the option for one-on-one classes provides you with all that you need to succeed. Book your live demo today!

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