Adverbs: What are they and how can you use them?

An adverb is a word that modifies or describes a verb, adjective, or other adverb. Using an adverb adds additional information to the sentence, usually describing how, when, where, or to what extent something is the case.

For example:

  • I ate my pizza slowly.
  • Sherlock quietly unlocked the door.
  • The football match was definitely important.

 

You might have noticed, all of these adverbs end in –ly. This is the most common form, and can be created by taking an adjective and adding –ly to the end of the word.

  • Beautiful becomes beautifully
  • Cold becomes coldly
  • Dangerous becomes dangerously

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    learn about adverbs
    Many adverbs end in 'ly' but not all! 

     

    Not all adverbs end in –ly, however. When you reference a point of time in a sentence, it is usually in the form of an adverb, for example: now, then, later, today, tomorrow, tonight, yesterday are all adverbs.

    • I watched a great film yesterday.
    • See you later.

     

    Some of the most common forms can be used when describing other adverbs, as well as adjectives or verbs.

    • Lately, the days have been going very slowly.
    • The smell of those cookies is quite heavenly.
    • He finished his exam really quickly.

    In these examples, very, quite and really add emphasis to the other descriptive adverbs. When more than one word is used to modify a sentence, it is called an adverbial phrase or clause.

     

    Adverbs can appear at the start or the end of a sentence, and they can be before or after the verb. As you can see, they are a large and important group of words that will help add meaning to your conversation or writing.

     

    Can you identify the adverbs in the following sentences? Check here for the answers.

    1. Walter went completely crazy.
    2. I’m going to see a fantastic play tonight.
    3. Alexis often scored goals for Arsenal.
    4. The class was very helpful yesterday.
    5. Birdman was a genuinely amazing film.
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