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.

• Function

• Form

• Positioning

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.


• never

• always

• well

• still

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.”

Usually” is a frequency-based adverb here.

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