Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: adverbs
from Good Word Guide

Adverbs modify other parts of speech and answer questions such as how? (adverbs of manner): • quietlygreedily; when? (adverbs of time): • thentomorrow; where? (adverbs of place): • thereoutside. They can modify verbs: • She wrote neatly; adjectives: • extremely hot; other adverbs: • fairly well; whole clauses or sentences: • Anyway, it doesn't matter now – or can be used to link clauses or sentences: • I dislike him; nevertheless, I feel responsible for him. Adverbs are frequently formed by adding -ly to an adjective: • darklywisely, but this does not apply to all adverbs: • to work lateto jump high.

It is usually acceptable to place an adverb between parts of a verb: • I have often spoken about the matter, but adverbs should not come between a verb and its direct object. Whether the adverb is positioned after the object or before the verb depends on the length of the object clause: • They tortured the prisoners cruelly. • They cruelly tortured the political prisoners who had been arrested for demonstrating against the regime. Careful positioning of the adverb is sometimes necessary in order to avoid ambiguity in a sentence: • She disliked intensely sentimental films. If intensely relates to disliked, it should be placed before the verb. See also adjectives; sentence adverb; split infinitive.

© Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2011

Related Articles

Full text Article adverb
The Penguin English Dictionary

/advuhb/ noun a word that modifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb, or a sentence, and that answers such questions as how? , when?...

Full text Article adverb
Word Origins

[15 century] Adverb comes ultimately from a Latin word modelled on Greek epírrhēma , literally ‘added word’. The elements of this compound...

See more from Credo