Forming Adverbs

Introduction to Adverbs

An adverb is a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. (e.g., "gently", "quite", "then", "there"). They typically answer questions such as how?, in what way?, when?, where?, and to what extent?

Types of Adverbs

There are several types of adverbs that you can form in English, and each of them can give a different type of information. Here are the most common types:

  • Manner adverbs: They answer the question of how something is done and often end in "-ly". (Swiftly, happily, meticulously)
  • Place adverbs: They answer the question of where something happened. (Here, there, everywhere)
  • Time adverbs: They provide information about when something happened. (Now, yesterday, daily)
  • Degree adverbs: They answers the question of intensity or volume. (Very, almost, too)
  • Frequency adverbs: They depict how often something occurs. (Always, sometimes, never)

Forming Adverbs

When you want to form adverbs, the most common rule is adding "-ly" to the end of an adjective. However, not all adverbs follow this rule.

Adding "-ly"

The most common and straightforward way of forming an adverb is to add "-ly" to an adjective. For example:

  • Slow -> Slowly
  • Happy -> Happily
  • Brave -> Bravely

However, if the adjective ends in "-y", you first change the "-y" to "-i" and then add "-ly". For example:

  • Happy -> Happily
  • Easy -> Easily

If the adjective ends in "-le", you remove the "e" and add "-y". For example:

  • Terrible -> Terribly
  • Gentle -> Gently

Irregular Forms

Of course, in English, there are always exceptions. Several adverbs do not end in "-ly" and do not follow the normal pattern at all. For example:

  • Well (not "goodly")
  • Fast (not "fastly")
  • Hard (not "hardly")

Adverbs and Adjectives with the Same Form

Some words can be both adjectives and adverbs, with exactly the same form. For example:

  • Early: I woke up early today. (adverb) / I saw the early morning sun. (adjective)
  • Fast: The runner moved fast. (adverb) / The runner is very fast. (adjective)
  • Hard: They worked hard all day. (adverb) / That was a hard task. (adjective)

Placement of Adverbs

The placement of adverbs can add layers of meaning to sentences, but it is also important for grammatical correctness. An adverb typically goes before the word it modifies. However, it may also go at the beginning or the end of a sentence for emphasis or for a different context. Here are some examples:

  • The runner moved fast. (normal placement)
  • Fast, the runner moved. (emphasis on how the runner moved)
  • The runner moved. Fast. (emphasis on the speed)


Forming adverbs in English is not as hard as it seems, as most adjectives can simply be converted into an adverb by adding '-ly'. However, remember that there are always exceptions, and practice is key to getting the hang of it. Keep reading, writing, and speaking in English to improve your proficiency in using adverbs!

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