Chapter 7
The Adverb

We have learnt that an adverb modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb. Let us consider the following sentences.

  1. I run
  2. In run fast.

We have added the word fast to the first sentence and formed the second sentence. I run fast. The word fast describes the action run. It adds to the meaning of the verb. Therefore we call it adverb.
It modifies the word run. Similarly consider the following sentences.

  1. You are tall.
  2. You are very tall.

The addition of the word very adds to the meaning of the Adjective tall. So very is an adverb. It modifies the Adjective tall. Now consider the following sentences.

  1. They are walking slowly.
  2. They are walking very slowly.

The word slowly in the first sentence modifies the verb are walking. It is an adverb. The word very in the second sentence adds to the meaning of the word slowly. So very is also an adverb. It modifies another adverb slowly.

Note:

  1. Adverbs sometimes modify phrases.

Examples

  1. She was sitting close beside him.
  2. At what hour is the sun right above us?
  1. Adverbs at the beginning of sentences modify the whole sentence rather than any particualr word.

Examples

  1. Probably he is mistaken.
  2. Possibly it is as you say.

Kinds of adverbs

There are nine kinds of adverbs.

  1. Adverbs of time
  2. Adverbs of frequency
  3. Adverbs of place
  4. Adverbs of manner
  5. Adverbs of degree or quantity
  6. Adverbs of affirmation and negation
  7. Adverbs of reason
  8. Adverbs of interrogation
  9. Adverbs of relation or relative adverb
  1. Adverbs of time

Definition

Adverbs of time indicates the time of action when.

Examples

  1. Do it now.
  2. He came soon.
  3. We came today.
  4. They started early.

Explanation

Now indicates the time of the action denoted by the verb do; soon shows the time when he came, today and early also indicate time. We call them adverbs of time.

  1. Adverbs of frequency or number

Definition

Adverbs of frequency show the frequency or how often.

Examples

  1. He came once.
  2. Show it again.
  3. I warned you often.

Explanation
Once, again and often indicate number. They are adverbs of number.

  1. Adverbs of place

Definition

Adverbs of place show the place where.

Examples

  1. You have put it there.
  2. Come here.
  3. The school is near.

Explanation
The words there, here and near indicate place. They are adverbs of place.

  1. Adverbs of manner

Definition

Adverbs of manner show the manner or how.

Examples

  1. You have done it well.
  2. He acted foolishly.
  3. Do it slowly.

Explanation

Well, foolishly and slowly indicate the manner of the action done. They are adverbs of manner.
Note:

Adverbs of manner includes nearly all those adverbs which are derived from adjectives and end in –ly.

  1. Adverbs of degree or quantity

Definition

Adverbs of degree or quantity show the degree or quantity how much, or in what degree or to what extent.

Examples

  1. We are quite pleased.
  2. He is very hasty.
  3. You are wise enough to understand it.

Explanation

Quite, very and enough indicate the degree or extent of something. They are adverbs of degree or quantity

  1. Adverbs of affirmation and negation

Definition

Adverb of affirmation and negation modifies and reinforces the positive and negative aspects of something.

Examples

  1. Surely you are mistaken.
  2. He certainly went.
  3. I do not know him.

Explanation

Surely and certainly affirms the meaning in the sentence while not negates the meaning of the sentence.

  1. Adverbs of reason

Definition

Adverbs of reason indicate reason.

Examples

  1. Therefore he left.
  2. Hence we agreed.

Explanation

Therefore and hence indicate reason. Therefore they are adverbs of reason.

  1. Adverbs of interrogation

Definition

Adverbs used in asking questions are called interrogative adverbs.

Examples

  1. Why did you not come?
  2. When do you need it?
  3. Where did he halt?

Explanation

Why, when and where are used to ask questions. They are interrogative adverbs.

  1. Adverbs of relation or relative adverbs

Definition

A relative adverb relates or refers back to its anticident.

Examples

  1. This the place where we met him.
  2. He does not tell me the reason why he was absent.

Explanation

The adverb where joins two clauses and it relates or refers back to the antecedent place; the adverb why also joins two clauses and relates to the antecedent reason. They are relative adverbs.

Note:

  1. All adverbs except the interrogative adverbs and relative adverbs are classified as simple adverbs. Therefore we can say that all adverbs can be grouped into three kinds –
  1. Simple adverbs (time, place, number, manner, affirmation and negation, degree and reason).
  2. Interrogative adverbs.
  3. Relative adverbs.
  1. Some adverbs may belong to more than one class.

Examples

She sings delightfully. (Adverb of manner)
The weather is delightfully cool. (Adverb of degree)
Don’t go far. (Adverb of place)
He is far now. (Adverb of degree)

Forms of adverbs

Some adverbs are the same in form as the corresponding preposition or adjective; that is, some words are used sometimes as adjectives, sometimes as prepositions and sometimes as adverbs.

Adverbs and prepositions

Examples

  1. He walked on and on.

In this sentence on is an adverb, modifying the verb walked.

  1. We walked on the mat.

Here on is a preposition showing the relationship between waked and the mat.
So we see that the same word can be used either as an adverb or as a preposition. What part of speech a particular word is, depends upon its function in the sentence.

Adverbs and Adjectives

Examples

  1. He tried hard.

In this sentence Hard is an adverb modifying the verb tried.

  1. It is a hard substance.

In this sentence Hard is an Adjective, qualifying the noun substance.
Here we see that like in the case of preposition, the same word can be use either as an adjective or an adverb. Therefore, only by observing how a word is used that we can tell what part of speech it is.

Adverbs: Degrees of comparison

Some adverbs like Adjectives have degrees of comparison.
In the case of the following adverbs the comparative is formed by adding ‘er’ to the positive and the superlative by adding ‘est’.


Positive

Comparative

Superlative

Near

Nearer

Nearest

Soon

Sooner

Soonest

Loud

Louder

Loudest

Long

Longer

Longest

In the case of the following adverbs the comparative and the superlative are formed by adding more and most respectively to the positive.


Positive

Comparative

Superlative

Quickly

More quickly

Most quickly

Sweetly

More sweetly

Most sweetly

Happily

More happily

Most happily

The following adverbs form the degrees of comparison in an irregular way.


Positive

Comparative

Superlative

Well

Better

Best

Ill

Worse

Worst

Little

Less

Least

Note:

Only adverbs of manner, degree and time have degrees of comparison. Many adverbs like now, then, where, there, once etc can not be compared.

Formation of adverbs

Adverbs of manner are mostly formed from adjectives by adding ly.

Examples

Clever: Cleverly
Wise : Wisely
Kind : Kindly
When the adjective ends in y preceded by a consonant, the v is changed into I and ly is added.

Examples

Happy : Happily
Ready : Readily
Heavy : Heavily
Some adverbs are made up of a noun and a qualifying adjective

Examples
Sometimes, meantime, meanwhile.
Some adverbs are compounds of on (weakened to a) and a noun.

Examples

Afoot, abed, asleep.
Some adverbs are compounds of a preposition and a noun.

Examples
Bedtimes, besides, today.
Some adverbs are compounds of a preposition and an adjective.

Examples

Abroad, along, aloud.
Some adverbs are compounds of a preposition and an adjective.

Examples

Within, without, before.
Some adverbs are derived from pronouns.

Examples

The : there, then, thus
He : here
Who : where, when, how.
Adverbs are also formed by compounding the adverbs derived from pronouns with prepositions.

Examples

Thereby, hereafter, wherein.

Position of adverbs
Adverbs of manner are generally placed after the verb or after the object.

Examples

It is raining heavily.
The ship is going slowly.
She speaks English well.
Adverbs of place and time are also usually placed after the verb or after the object.

Examples

He will come here.
I looked everywhere.
Hang the picture there.
When there are two or more adverbs after a verb or its object, the normal order is : adverb of manner, adverb of place, adverb of time.

Examples

She sang well in the concert.
We should go there tomorrow evening.
He spoke earnestly at the meeting last night.
Adverbs of frequency are normally put between the subject and the verb if the verb consists of only one word. If there is more than one word in the verb, they are put after te first word.

Examples
His wife never cooks.
He has never seen a tiger.
I have often told him to write neatly.
Adverbs are placed after the verb where the verb is am/are/is/was.

Examples

I am never late for school.
He is always at Home on Sundays.
We are just off.
The adverb is usually put before the auxiliary or the single verb be, when it is stressed.

Examples

"Abdul has come late again." "Yes, he always does come late."
"When will you write the essay?" "But I already have written it."
"Will you be free on Sundays?" "I usually am free on Sundays."
The adverbs are in front of the auxiliaries have to and used to.

Examples

I often have to go to college on foot.
He always used to agree with me.
When an adverb modifies an adjective or another adverb, the adverb usually comes before it.

Examples

John is a rather lazy boy.
The dog was quite dead.
The book is very interesting.
The adverb enough is always placed after the word that it modifies.

Examples

Is the box big enough?
He was rash enough to interrupt.
He spoke loud enough to be heard.
As a general rule, the addverb only should be placed immediately before the word it modifies.

Examples

I worked only two sums.
He has slept only three hours.
However, in spoken English it is usually put before the verb to stress the meaning.

Examples

I only worked two sums.
He has only slept three hours.

Parsing of adverbs

Model

He writes clearly.
Clearly – adverb of manner, positive degree, modifies the verb ‘writes’.
To parse an adverb state its –

  1. Kind
  2. Degree of comparison
  3. Construction