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An adverb is a word that is used to change, modify or qualify several types of words including an adjective, a verb, a clause, another adverb, or any other type of word or phrase, with the exception of determiners and adjectives, that directly modify nouns. Specifically, adverbs provide a description of how, where, when, in what manner and to what extent something is done or happens.
Adverbs normally help paint a fuller picture by describing how something happens, such as
- When? She always arrives early.
- How? He drives carefully.
- Where? They go everywhere together.
- In what way? She eats slowly.
- To what extent? It is terribly hot.
TYPES OF ADVERBS
i. ADVERBS OF MANNER
An adverb of manner will explain how an action is carried out. Very often adverbs of manner are adjectives with -ly added to the end, but this is certainly not always the case. In fact, some adverbs of manner will have the same spelling as the adjective form.
Some examples of adverbs of manner include:
Slowly, Rapidly, Badly, Diligently, Sweetly, Warmly, Sadly
Adverb of manner examples in the following sentences is in bold for easy identification.
- She passed the exam easily.
- They walk quickly to catch the train.
- The dinner party went badly.
- John answered the question correctly.
Notice how the adverbs are formed by adding –ly to the adjectives bad, correct and quick, although there is a slight spelling change when forming an adverb with the adjective easy.
As mentioned, some adverbs of manner take the same spelling as the adjective and never add an -ly to the end:
- The boys had worked hard.
- Julia dances well.
ii. ADVERBS OF PLACE
An adverb of place, sometimes called spatial adverbs, will help explain where an action happens. Adverbs of place will be associated with the action of the verb in a sentence, providing context for direction, distance and position: southeast, everywhere, up, left, close by, back, inside, around. These terms don’t usually end in -ly.
Adverbs of place examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.
- New York is located north of Philadelphia.
- They traveled down the mountainside.
- First, I looked here, and then I looked there, but I can’t find them anywhere.
Notice that here and there are often used at the beginning of a sentence to express emphasis or in exclamation.
- Here comes the sun.
- There is love in the air.
- Here you are!
Many times, adverbs of place can be used as prepositions as well. The difference is, when the phrase is used as an adverb, it is modifying a verb; when it is used as a preposition, it is always followed by a noun.
- New York is located north of Philadelphia -> New York is on the map.
- They travelled down river -> They travelled in the first compartment.
- That puppy was walking around by itself-> We put a collar around its neck.
- There was a deli
- Ali is moving far away.
- Maria is sitting close to me.
- The treasure lies underneath the box.
- The cat is sleeping on the bed.
- Why are you standing in the middle of the hall?
In addition, some adverbs of position will refer to a direction of movement. These often end in -ward or -wards.
- Oscar travelled onward to Los Angeles.
- Hannah looked upwards to the heavens.
- Molly, move forward to the front of the queue, please.
iii. ADVERBS OF FREQUENCY
Adverbs of frequency are used to express time or how often something occurs. Adverbs of frequency can be split two main groups. The first, adverbs of indefinite frequency, are terms that have an unclear meaning as to how long are how often something occurs: usually, always, normally. These adverbs will usually be placed after the main verb or between the auxiliary verb and infinitive. Adverbs of frequency examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.
- The adverb is usually placed before the main verb.
- I can normally make the shot.
- I will always love
Adverbs of definite frequency will usually be placed at the end of the sentence.
- We get paid hourly.
- The situation seems to change monthly.
- The newspaper is bought daily.
iv. ADVERBS OF TIME
Adverbs of time, while seemingly similar to adverbs of frequency, tell us when something happens. Adverbs of time are usually placed at the end of a sentence.
Adverbs of time examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.
- I will see you
- Harvey forgot his lunch yesterday and again today.
- I have to go now.
- We first met Julie last year.
While it’s almost always correct to have the adverb of time at the end of the sentence, you can place it at the start of the sentence to put a different emphasis on the time if it is important to the context.
- Last year was the worst year of my life.
- Tomorrow our fate will be sealed.
- Yesterday my troubles seemed so far away.
v. ADVERBS OF PURPOSE
Adverbs of purpose, sometimes called adverbs of reason, help to describe why something happened. They can come in the form of individual words – so, since, thus, because – but also clauses – so that, in order to. Notice in the examples that the adverbs of purpose are used to connect sentences that wouldn’t make sense if they were formed alone.
Adverbs of purpose examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.
- I was sick, thus didn’t go to work today.
- I started jogging so that I wouldn’t be late.
- Because I was late, I jogged a little faster.
· Since it’s your birthday, I will buy you a gift.
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