The subsections in this lesson are:

An adverb can be a word (incredibly) or a phrase (last night) that describes or modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb, and sometimes a sentence, but not a noun or a pronoun.

  • I dreamed about you last night. (Adverb: last night; verb: dreamed)
  • The monster was incredibly ugly. (Adverb: incredibly; adjective: ugly)
  • The heart patient collapsed quite suddenly. (Adverb: suddenly; Adverb: quite)
  • Fortunately, we were in time to buy the last tickets. (Adverb: fortunately, modifying a sentence)

In many sentences, the adverb comes after the verb.

  • He called yesterday.
  • The train will arrive soon.
  • He strove hard to reach the top.
  • The patient is sleeping soundly.

Unlike adjectives, adverbs do not modify nouns.

Correct: That woman has a beautiful daughter. (Adjective)

Incorrect: That woman has a beautifully daughter. (Adverb)

Correct: He found the exam quite hard. (Adjective)

Incorrect : He found the exam quite hardly. (Adverb)

Correct: We heard a loud explosion and then saw thick smoke. (Adjective)
Incorrect : We heard a loudly explosion and then saw thickly smoke. (Adverb)


Some adverbs and adjectives share the same word. Examples of such words include far, hard, and long.

I got a pair of shoes cheap in the sale. (Adverb)
I got a cheap pair of shoes in the sale. (Adjective)

We don't live far away from here. (Adverb)
Where we live isn't far from here. (Adjective)

She worked quite hard. (Adverb)
She found the work quite hard. (Adjective)

If we exercise regularly, we may live longer. (Adverb)
If we exercise regularly, we may live a longer life. (Adjective)

You have written the name wrong. (Adverb)
You have written the wrong name. (Adjective)