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Adverbs are one of the four major word classes, along with nouns, verbs, and adjectives. We use adverbs to add more information about a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a clause or a whole sentence, and, less commonly, about a noun phrase.
How to form adverbs from adjectives
We simply add -ly to an adjective to make an adverb:
quick (adjective) > quickly (adverb)
careful (adjective) > carefully (adverb)
beautiful (adjective) > beautifully (adverb)
But there are some exceptions:
- When an adjective ends in -e, we simply add -ly to form the adverb.
safe -> safely
- when an adjective ends in -le. We remove the e and add y to form the adverb.
probable -> probably
possible -> possibly
terrible -> terribly
reasonable -> reasonably
- With adjectives end in -l, we simply add -ly and the adverb will then end in -lly.
hopeful -> hopefully
beautiful -> beautifully
helpful -> helpfully
careful -> carefully
- If the adjective ends in -y, change -y to -i. Then add -ly.
happy -> happily
- Irregular forms
- Not all words ending in -ly are adverbs:
adjectives: friendly, silly, lonely, ugly
nouns: ally, bully, Italy, melancholy
verbs: apply, rely, supply
There is no adverb for an adjective ending in -ly.
Kinds of Adverbs
- Adverbs of Manner tell us the manner or way in which something happens. They answer the question “how?”. Adverbs of Manner mainly modify verbs.
He speaks slowly. (How does he speak?)
They helped us cheerfully. (How did they help us?)
- Adverbs of Place tell us the place where something happens. They answer the question “where?”. Adverbs of Place mainly modify verbs.
Please sit here. (Where should I sit?)
They looked everywhere. (Where did they look?)
Two cars were parked outside. (Where were two cars parked?)
- Adverbs of Time tell us something about the time that something happens. They can answer the question “when?”
He went to school yesterday. (When did he go to school?)
He wants it now. (When does he want it?)
Or they can answer the question “how often?” (frequency):
They deliver the newspaper daily. (How often do they deliver the newspaper?)
We sometimes eat dinner in the restaurant. (How often do eat dinner in the restaurant?)
- Adverbs of Degree tell us the degree or extent to which something happens. They answer the question “how much?” or “to what degree?”. Adverbs of Degree can modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.
Alex entirely agrees with his girlfriend. (How much does Alex agree with girlfriend?)
They drove quite dangerously. (To what degree did they drive dangerously? How dangerously did they drive?)