The subsections in this lesson are:
An adverb can be a word (easily) 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. We can identify a lot of adverbs by their endings. They end in -ly but not all, as some words that end in -ly are adjectives.
- We crawled slowly around on our hands and knees looking for the needle. (Adverb slowly modifies verb crawl.)
- I dreamed about you last night. (Adverb last night modifies verb dreamed.)
- The monster was incredibly ugly. (Adverb incredibly modifies adjective ugly.)
- The heart patient collapsed quite suddenly. (Adverb suddenly modifies adverb quite.)
- Fortunately, we were in time to buy the last tickets. (Adverb fortunately modifies a sentence we were in time to buy the last tickets.)
Unlike adjectives, adverbs do not modify nouns.
- Incorrect: That woman has a beautifully daughter. (Adverb)
Correct: That woman has a beautiful daughter. (Adjective)
- Incorrect: He found the exam quite hardly. (Adverb)
Correct: He found the exam quite hard. (Adjective)
- Incorrect: We heard a loudly explosion and then saw thickly smoke. (Adverb)
Correct: We heard a loud explosion and then we saw thick smoke. (Adjective)
The adverb is an intensifier
Besides being a modifier, the adverb performs another function. As an intensifier, it makes the adjective that they modify stronger by giving it emphasis.
- The weather is exceptionally cold at this time of the year.
- He is downright rude to his parents.
- The treatment is extremely dangerous for an old person like her mother.
- The witch appeared hideously ugly in his dream.
- The substance was found to be a highly addictive drug.
The adverb does not come in just one word. It can be a group of two or more words acting as an adverb phrase (or adverbial phrase). The adverb phrase does the work of an adverb in a sentence in modifying a verb, an adjective or another adverb. An adverb phrase may consist of one word or usually more words. The adverb phrases are in bold.
- He has been sitting at the corner for hours.
- His father owns a house by the sea.
- I decided to join them to jog in the park.
- We strolled along the beach after sunset.
- A couple of birds were perching on the gate.