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1. In most cases, an adverb is formed by adding '-ly' to an adjective: Adjective cheap quick slow Examples:

Adverb cheaply quickly slowly

Time goes quickly. He walked slowly to the door. She certainly had an interesting life. He carefully picked up the sleeping child.

If the adjective ends in '-y', replace the 'y' with 'i' and add '-ly': Adjective easy angry happy lucky Adverb easily angrily happily luckily

If the adjective ends in -'able', '-ible', or '-le', replace the '-e' with '-y': Adjective probable terrible gentle If the adjective ends in '-ic', add '-ally': Adjective basic economic tragic Note: Exception: public publicly Adverb basically economically tragically Adverb probably terribly gently

2. Some adverbs have the same form as the adjective: Adjective / Adverb early fast hard Compare:

high near straight

It is a fast car. He drives very fast. This is a hard exercise. He works hard. We saw many high buildings. The bird flew high in the sky.

3. 'Well' and 'good' 'Well' is the adverb that corresponds to the adjective 'good'. Badly is the adverb that corresponds to the adjective bad Examples:

He is a good student. He studies well. She is a bad pianist. She plays the piano badly. They are good swimmers. They swim badly.

Adverbs of manner tell us how something happens. They are usually placed after the main verb or after the object. Examples:

He swims well, (after the main verb) He ran... rapidly, slowly, quickly.. She spoke... softly, loudly, aggressively.. James coughed loudly to attract her attention. He plays the flute beautifully. (after the object) He ate the chocolate cake greedily.

Sometimes an adverb of manner is placed before a verb + object to add emphasis:

He gently woke the sleeping woman.

Some writers put an adverb of manner at the beginning of the sentence to catch our attention and make us curious:

Slowly she picked up the knife.

The position of the adverb is important when there is more than one verb in a sentence. If the adverb is placed after a clause, then it modifies the whole action described by the clause. Notice the difference in meaning between the following pairs of sentences:

She quickly agreed to re-type the letter (= her agreement was quick) She agreed to re-type the letter quickly (= the re-typing was quick) He quietly asked me to leave the house (= his request was quiet) He asked me to leave the house quietly (= the leaving was quiet)

Adverbs of degree tell us about the intensity or degree of an action, an adjective or another adverb. Common adverbs of degree: Almost, nearly, quite, just, too, enough, hardly, scarcely, completely, very, extremely.

Adverbs of degree are usually placed: 1. before the adjective or adverb they are modifying: e.g. The water was extremely cold. 2. before the main verb: e.g. He was just leaving. She has almost finished. Examples:

She doesn't quite know what she'll do after university. They are completely exhausted from the trip. I am too tired to go out tonight. He hardly noticed what she was saying.

Too as an adverb meaning 'more than is necessary or useful' goes before adjectives and adverbs, e.g.

This coffee is too hot. (adjective) He works too hard. (adverb)

Very goes before an adverb or adjective to make it stronger. Example:

The girl was very beautiful. (adjective) He worked very quickly. (adverb)

If we want to make a negative form of an adjective or adverb, we can use a word of opposite meaning, or not very. Example:

The girl was ugly OR The girl was not very beautiful He worked slowly OR He didn't work very quickly.

BE CAREFUL! There is a big difference between too and very.

Very expresses a fact: Too suggests there is a problem:

He speaks very quickly. He speaks too quickly (for me to understand).

Other adverbs like very These common adverbs are used like very and not very, and are listed in order of strength, from positive to negative: extremely, especially, particularly, pretty, rather, quite, fairly, rather, not especially, not particularly. Note: rather can be positive or negative, depending on the adjective or adverb that follows: Positive: The teacher was rather nice. Negative: The film was rather disappointing.


There are some adverbs and adverbial expressions which tell us about the speaker's viewpoint or opinion about an action, or make some comment on the action. Viewpoint Frankly, I think he is a liar. (= this is my frank, honest opinion) Theoretically, you should pay a fine. (= from a theoretical point of view, but there may be another way of looking at the situation) These adverbs are placed at the beginning of the sentence and are separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma.

Some common Viewpoint adverbs: honestly, seriously, confidentially, personally, surprisingly, ideally, economically, officially, obviously, clearly, surely, undoubtedly. Examples:

Personally, I'd rather go by train. Surprisingly, this car is cheaper than the smaller model. Geographically, Britain is rather cut off from the rest of Europe.


She is certainly the best person for the job. You obviously enjoyed your meal.

These are very similar to viewpoint adverbs, and often the same words, but they go in a different position - after the verb to be and before the main verb. Some common Commenting adverbs: definitely, certainly, obviously, simply.