What is an Adverb?

  • Adverbs are words that modify (1) verbs, (2) adjectives, and (3) other adverbs.
  • They tell how (manner), when (time), where (place), how much (degree), and why (cause).
  • Adverbs that tell us how, when, where, and why always modify the verb.
  • Adverbs that tell us how much modify adjectives or other adverbs.

Identifying Adverbs

  • Many adverbs end with –ly which is a good clue to adverb recognition, but not all words that end in –ly are adverbs.
    • Hourly we listened to the rapidly falling rain. (Adverb)
    • The yearlycrop was totally ruined by the weather. (Adjective)
  • Not and its contraction n’t are adverbs. They really modify the entire sentence, but we will have them modify the verb as it is the most important word in the sentence.
    • Terri did not do the work correctly.
  • Adverbs may be compound.
    • We shouldn’t decide this very important decision quickly or foolishly.
  • Not all adverbs are formed from adjectives. Some common ones are never, not, here, there, then, when, where, always, too, now, and very.

Comparatives in Adverbs

  • Adverbs like adjectives can be compared. They have the same three degrees (1) positive – one thing or person, (2) comparative – two things or persons, and (3) superlative – more than two things or persons.
    • lazily, more lazily, most lazily
  • Some adverbs, including those that can also be adjectives, use –er and –est to form comparisons.
    • high, higher, highest
  • Some adverbs have an irregular comparison.
    • badly, worse, worst
  • Most adverbs not formed from verbs cannot be compared.
    • Words like now, too, then, not, already, again, always, yesterday, almost, why, and here.
  • Do not use two negative words to limit one idea.
    • Be careful not to use not or n’t, no, never, none, hardly, scarcely, or nothing with another negative word.
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