Adverbs are words that modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb. It tells you more about the verb in the sentence.
The boy wrote slowly.
Sofia is extremely talented.
The girl spoke very well.
In the first example, “slowly” is the adverb modifying an action word (verb) “wrote”. In the second sentence, “extremely” is modifying the adjective “talented”. In the third example, “very” is modifying another adverb, “well” in the sentence.
How to Recognize Adverbs? There are 3 different ways to recognize them in a sentence.
1. Function: The adverb describes or qualifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a prepositional phrase or the whole of a sentence.
Qualifying a Verb: “Tina walks fast”
Walks – Qualified Verb
Fast – Qualifying Adverb
Qualifying an Adjective: “Tina is very fast”
Fast – Qualified Adjective
Very – Qualifying Adverb
Qualifying an Adverb: “Tina walks too slowly”
Slowly – Qualified Adverb
Too – Qualifying Adverb
Qualifying a Prepositional Phrase: “It is just outside my room”
Outside my room – Qualified Prepositional Phrase
Just – Qualifying Adverb
Qualifying a Sentence: “Gradually, it all shall come to an end”
It all shall come to an end – Qualified Sentence
Gradually – Qualifying Adverb
2. Form: Adverbs normally end with letters “ly”. Just append these letters to an adjective to bring up a related adverb.
Wisely, from adjective “wise”
Sportingly, from adjective “sporting”
Beautifully, from adjective “beautiful”
Extremely, from adjective “extreme”
However, don’t take it as a thumb rule. There are variations like the word “friendly” which is not an adverb but an adjective. The same goes for “lovely”. The root in these two words is a noun (friend, love) and not an adjective, as required.
Other adverbs have no classifiable form.
3. Position: Adverb recognition becomes easy if you follow the rules of positioning. They generally appear in one of the 3 positions listed below:
Before the subject
Between the subject and main verb
After the main verb or object
Still, she will need help.
The kids frequently visited Grandma.
You should cross the road carefully.
Frequency-based Adverbs: Some adverbs answer questions like “How often?”. They usually come before the main verb in a sentence.
- Look at the sentence above, “They usually come before the main verb in a sentence.”