English Language and Grammar - What are Adverbs? What do adverbs modify?
Hopefully this hub is useful not only to English Students but to students whose first language is not English. I hope to explain what adverbs are? What they modify and give the reader some good examples.
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What is an adverb?
First of all, an adverb modifies any part of language other than a noun. Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, clauses/phrases, sentences and other adverbs. Adverbs add more interesting information by describing verbs, adjective or adverbs.
add an adverb and you have:
She sang effortlessly.
We heard her softly spoken voice.
Adverbs usually answer the questions: how? , in what way? , when? , where? , and to what extent?
In English, adverbs that tell us how something is done are usually formed by adding -ly to adjectives. For example, great becomes greatly , and beautiful becomes beautifully .
Comparative adverbs include more , most , least , and less.
The comparative and superlative forms of some adverbs that do not end in -ly are generated by adding -er and -est - e.g. faster, highest. Others, especially those ending -ly , are periphrastically compared by the use of more or most .
Adverbs also take comparisons with as , less , and least or more, most.
Adverbs are part of speech. Traditional English grammar and parts of speech in grammar are still taught in schools and used in dictionaries.
Words traditionally grouped together as adverbs serve a number of different functions.
Adverbs can be used to modify an entire sentence, whereas others cannot.
Adverbs can be put into 6 groups:
Adverbs that tell how:
absentmindedly, adoringly, awkwardly, badly, beautifully, briskly, brutally, carefully, cheerfully, competitively, correctly, eagerly, easily, effortlessly, extravagantly, fast, girlishly, gracefully, grimly, happily, lazily, lifelessly, loudly, loyally, patiently, quietly, quickly, quizzically, really, recklessly, remorsefully, ruthlessly, savagely, sloppily, slowly, so, stylishly, unabashedly, unevenly, urgently, well, wishfully, worriedly.
Adverbs that tell when:
after, afterwards, already, annually, before, daily, during, finally, just, last, later, never, next, now, recently, soon, still, then, today, tomorrow, weekly, when, while, yesterday.
Adverbs that tell where:
abroad, anywhere, away, downstairs, everywhere, here, home, in, inside, out, outside, nowhere, somewhere, there, underground, upstairs.
Adverbs that tell to what extent:
extremely, not, quite, rather, really, terribly, too, very, more, barely, vaguely
Adverbs that tell why:
so, so that, to, in order to, because, since, accidentally, intentionally, purposely.
Adverbs that tell how often:
always, every, never, often, rarely, seldom, sometimes, usually.
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abnormally, absentmindedly, accidentally, acidly, actually, adventurously, afterwards, almost, always, angrily, annually, anxiously, arrogantly, awkwardly.
badly, bashfully, beautifully, bitterly, bleakly, blindly, blissfully, boastfully, boldly, bravely, briefly, brightly, briskly, broadly, busily.
calmly, carefully, carelessly, cautiously, certainly, cheerfully, clearly, cleverly, closely, coaxingly,
colorfully, commonly, continually, coolly, correctly, courageously, crossly, cruelly, curiously.
daily, daintily, dearly, deceivingly, delightfully, deeply, defiantly, deliberately, delightfully, diligently,
dimly, doubtfully, dreamily.
easily, elegantly, energetically, enormously, enthusiastically, equally, especially, even, evenly, eventually, exactly, excitedly, extremely.
fairly, faithfully, famously, far, fast, fatally, ferociously, fervently, fiercely, fondly, foolishly, fortunately,
frankly, frantically, freely, frenetically, frightfully, fully, furiously.
generally, generously, gently, gladly, gleefully, gracefully, gratefully, greatly, greedily.
happily, hastily, healthily, heavily, helpfully, helplessly, highly, honestly, hopelessly, hourly, hungrily.
immediately, innocently, inquisitively, instantly, intensely, intently, interestingly, inwardly, irritably.
jaggedly, jealously, joshingly, joyfully, joyously, jovially, jubilantly, judgementally, justly.
keenly, kiddingly, kindheartedly, kindly, kissingly, knavishly, knottily, knowingly, knowledgeably, kookily.
lazily, less, lightly, likely, limply, lively, loftily, longingly, loosely, lovingly, loudly, loyally.
madly, majestically, meaningfully, mechanically, merrily, miserably, mockingly, monthly, more, mortally, mostly, mysteriously.
naturally, nearly, neatly, needily, nervously, never, nicely, noisily, not.
obediently, obnoxiously, oddly, offensively, officially, often, only, openly, optimistically, overconfidently,
painfully, partially, patiently, perfectly, physically, playfully, politely, poorly, positively, potentially, powerfully, promptly, properly, punctually.
quaintly, quarrelsomely, queasily, queerly, questionably, questioningly, quicker, quickly, quietly, quirkily, quizzically.
rapidly, rarely, readily, really, reassuringly, recklessly, regularly, reluctantly, repeatedly, reproachfully, restfully, righteously, rightfully, rigidly, roughly, rudely.
sadly, safely, scarcely, scarily, searchingly, sedately, seemingly, seldom, selfishly, separately, seriously, shakily, sharply, sheepishly, shrilly, shyly, silently, sleepily, slowly, smoothly, softly, solemnly, solidly, sometimes, soon, speedily, stealthily, sternly, strictly, successfully, suddenly, surprisingly, suspiciously, sweetly, swiftly, sympathetically.
tenderly, tensely, terribly, thankfully, thoroughly, thoughtfully, tightly, tomorrow, too, tremendously, triumphantly, truly, truthfully
ultimately, unabashedly, unaccountably, unbearably, unethically, unexpectedly, unfortunately, unimpressively, unnaturally, unnecessarily, utterly, upbeat, upliftingly, upright, upside-down, upward, upwardly, urgently, usefully, uselessly, usually, utterly
vacantly, vaguely, vainly, valiantly, vacantly, vaguely, vainly, valiantly, vastly, verbally, very, viciously, victoriously, violently, vivaciously, voluntarily, vastly, verbally, very, viciously, victoriously, violently, vivaciously, voluntarily.
warmly, weakly, wearily, well, wetly, wholly, wildly, willfully, wisely, woefully, wonderfully, worriedly, wrongly.
yawningly, yearly, yearningly, yesterday, yieldingly, youthfully.
zealously, zestfully, zestily.
I wrote this hub in response to a question 'What does an adverb modify'. English Language is my pet hobby so I felt compelled to answer the question in this way. I hope everyone who reads this finds it useful. You could even use the adverbs listed to jazz up your comments in the various hubs you visit.
Thanks for visiting and reading.
All comments appreciated.
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© 2010 Leni Sands
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