What is an Adverb?

An adverb is a part of speech that describes or modifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb, clause, or sentence.

Adverbs answer the questions "How?", "When?", "Where?", "Why?", "In what way?", "How much?", "How often?", "Under what condition", "To what degree?"

The easiest adverbs to recognize are those that end in -ly. Some adjectives end with -ly also but remember that Adjectives can modify only Nouns and Pronouns. Adverbs modify everyting else.

An adverb can be placed anywhere in a sentence.

The three most common adverbs used in English Language are: not, very, too

Alphabetical listing of 3732 Adverbs

Adverbs starting with: a b c d e f g h

Adverbs starting with: i j k l m n o p q

Adverbs starting with: r s t u v w x y z

Adverbs Quizzes

Read the material on this page first. If you feel ready - take the quizzes!

Adverbs Practice List of random sentences is given. You need to identify each adverb by clicking on it.

Types of Adverbs

Adverbs can be classified by their functions

Adverbs of Manner - answer the question: How?

Examples: cheerfully, fast, quicly, slowly, inadequately, healthy

  • I watch them closely.
  • I play well.
  • I walk carefully.

Adverbs of Time - answer the question: When?

Examples: early, never, now, often, soon, then, today, tomorrow

  • He has not played chess recently.
  • I arrive late for most appointments.
  • Lately, I have had many sleepless nights.

Adverbs of Place (location, direction) - answer the question: Where?

Examples: above, away, below, down, here, inside, there, up

  • I walked downstairs.
  • Have you ever gone there?
  • I will meet you outside.

Adverbs of Degree - answer the question: How much?

Examples: almost, entirely, little, much, rather, very, too

  • He is totally prepared for his birthday.
  • I am too tired to play tennis tonight.
  • He is completely tired from the journey.

Adverbs of Frequency - answer the question: How often?

Examples: always, never, usually, frequently, sometimes, occasionally

  • He rarely goes by himself.
  • She constantly finishes her job first.

Interrogative Adverbs - used at the beginning of a question.

Examples: why, where, how, when

  • Why are you so angry?
  • When does the movie start?

Conjunctive (connecting) Adverbs - connect the ideas expressed in different clauses or sentences.

Most common conjunctive adverbs: accordingly, also, anyhow, furthermore, however, moreover, otherwise, still, therefore

Use of conjunctive adverb between two independent clauses requires a semicolon before the adverb and comma after it.
  • I want to sleep; however, I need to study.
If conjunctive adverb is used at the beginning of a sentence, comma is used to set it off. Note that the period takes the place of a semicolon.
  • The day was over. Therefore, I went to sleep.
If conjunctive adverb is placed within a clause, commas are used to set it off.
  • The day is over. I will, therefore, go to sleep.

Adverbs as Modifiers (adverbs in adverbial functions)

An adverb modifies a verb

  • He walked quickly.
    - quickly modifies verb: walked
  • I accepted new task willingly.
    - willingly modifies verb: accepted
  • Mike snored melodically.
    - melodically modifies verb: snored

An adverb modifies an adjective

  • They were really unhappy.
    - really modifies adjective: unhappy
  • My brother is completely fearless.
    - completely modifies adjective: fearless
  • I know she is very careful.
    - very modifies adjective: careful

An adverb modifies an adverb

  • He is almost always hungry.
    - almost modifies adverb: always
  • John plays tennis very well.
    - very modifies adverb: well
  • You never can work too carefully.
    - too modifies adverb: carefully

An adverb modifies a clause

  • Perhaps you are correct, but not at first glance.
    - Perhaps modifies clause: you are correct
  • Surely he will be on time, but I hope not.
    - Surely modifies clause: he will be on time

An adverb modifies a sentence

  • Fortunately, she went home.
    - Fortunately modifies a whole sentence
  • Finally, he will be on time.
    - Finally modifies a whole sentence
  • Meanwhile, we can take a vacation.
    - Meanwhile modifies a whole sentence

Adverb Formation

Adverbs that end in -ly are formed by adding -ly to an adjective, a present participle, or a past participle.

From a Present Participle

  • willing - willingly
  • glowing - glowingly
  • surprising - surprisingly

From a Past Participle

  • assured - assuredly
  • affected - affectedly
  • surprised - surprisedly

From an Adjective

  • careful - carefully
  • beautiful - beautiful
  • fitting - fittingly
When adjective ends in -able or -ible, the adverb is formed by replacing final -e with -y
  • horrible - horribly
  • terrible - terribly
  • adorable - adorably
When adjective ends in -y, the adverb is formed by replacing final -y with -ily
  • happy - happily
  • lucky - luckily
When adjective ends in -ic, the adverb is formed by replacing final -ic with -ically
  • economic - economically
  • ironic - ironically

Adverbs Position

Adverbs can be placed anywhere in a sentence.

At the front of a sentence prior to the subject.
  • Suddenly the rain poured down.
  • Sadly, I have had lots of phone calls.
At the center of a sentence, between the subject and the verb.
  • He seldom goes to movies.
  • I hardly noticed her.
At the end of the sentence
  • I learn English slowly.
  • I study adverbs now.

Adverbs as Intensifiers

Adverbs can be used as amplifiers, down toners, or emphasizers.

Adverbs as emphasizers.
  • I really like him.
  • I literally wrecked my car.
Adverbs as amplifiers
  • They completely abandoned the city.
  • I absolutely refuse to leave.
Adverbs as down toners
  • I somewhat like this movie.
  • Peter almost quit that job.

Comparison of Adverbs

Like adjectives, adverbs have three forms of comparison: positive, comparative, and superlative.
  • Positive degree expresses the quality without comparison.
  • Comparative degree compares two verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.
  • Superlative degree compares three or more verbs, adjectives or adverbs.

Adverb Comparison

Most adverbs are compared by using another adverb.
  • More or less are used to express the comparative degree.
  • Most or least are used to express the superlative degree.
  • I dance gracefully (or horribly).
  • I dance more gracefully (or more horribly).
  • I dance most gracefully ( or most horribly).

Suffix Comparison

Some adverbs are compared using a suffix –er for the comparative forms and –est for the superlative forms.

  • I will arrive soon (or fast).
  • I will arrive sooner (or faster).
  • I will arrive soonest (or fastest).

Irregular Comparison

There are also a number of adverbs compared irregularly. These must be remembered. Here are some of them.


Beyond Comparison

Some adverbs are never compared. They express qualities unsuitable for comparison.

Here are some of them: again, almost, before, ever, never, here, there, now, then, there, thus, too, twice, very