Table of Contents

What is an adverb? 

An adverb is a word which modifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a clause, or a sentence. 

Functions of Adverbs:

Do you know what an adverb does in the sentence? An adverb mainly does five things.

1. Adverbs modify verbs: 

  • Cats run fast. ('fast' modifies the verb 'run')
  • Tortoise walks slowly. ('slowly' modifies the verb 'walks')

2. Adverbs modify adjectives: 

  • The rose is very large. ('very' modifies the adjective 'large')
  • She looks awfully smart. ('awfully' modifies the adjective 'smart')

3. Adverbs modify adverbs: 

  • Cats run very fast. ('very' modifies the adverb 'fast')
  • You never can work too carefully. ('too' modifies the adverb 'carefully')

4. Adverbs modify clauses 

  • Perhaps he is present, but I am not sure. ('perhaps' modifies the clause 'you are correct') 
  • Surely he will be on time, but I hope not. ('surely' modifies the clause 'he will be on time') 

5. Adverbs modify sentences 

  • Suddenly, she went home. ('suddenly' modifies the whole sentence) 
  • Today, we can take a vacation.('today' modifies a whole sentence) 

Adverb Questions:

Adverb answers the following questions: 





Adverb Position

Adverbs have three positions in a sentence. They are: 

1. Front Position:

Some adverbs can appear at the front of a sentence, before the subject. Interrogative adverbs when, where, why, and how always in front position. 

  • Today we will study adverbs. 
  • Lately, I have had lots of phone calls. 
  • Where are you going?

2. Mid-position: 

Some adverbs appear in the middle of a sentence. They are called mid-position adverbs. Mid-position adverbs mainly appear between the subject and the finite verb. If the sentence has verb phrase (auxiliary verb + principal verb), mid-position adverbs appear between them (the auxiliary and the main verb).

  • He seldom goes to movies. 
  • hardly noticed her. 
  • He is always disturbing me. 
  • You will never help me. 

3. End Position:

Many adverbs appear at the end of the sentence. They are called end position adverbs. End position adverbs appear after intransitive Verb and after the object of a transitive Verb.

After Intransitive Verbs: 

  • She ran fast
  • You answered very well

After Transitive Verbs:

  • I learn English slowly
  • I study adverbs now

Multiple End Position Adverbs:

There can be more than one end position adverbs in a sentence. In that cases, we use adverbs of manner (M) + adverbs of place (P) + adverbs of time (T) 

Adverb Formation 

Adverbs are frequently formed from adjectives. Most Adverbs are formed by adding -ly to an adjective, a present participle, or a past participle. 

Adjective + ly = Adverb 

careful - carefully 

beautiful - beautiful 

fitting - fittingly 

Present Participle + ly = Adverb 

willing - willingly 

glowing - glowingly 

surprising - surprisingly 

Past Participle + ly = Adverb 

assured - assuredly 

affected - affectedly 

surprised - surprisedly 

Some Important Rules:

When adjective ends in -able or -ible, the adverb is formed by replacing final -e with -y 

horrible - horribly 

terrible - terribly 

When adjective ends in -y, the adverb is formed by replacing final -y with -ily 

happy - happily 

lucky - luckily 

When adjective ends in -ic, the adverb is formed by replacing final -ic with -ically 

economic - economically 

ironic - ironically 

Adjective or Adverb?

Both adjectives and adverbs are modifying words. But the difference is that: 

Adjectives modify noun. Adverbs modify verb. Adverbs never modify noun.


  • The tortoise is slow. (Adjective)
  • The tortoise walks slowly. (Adverb) 
  • You are clever. (Adjective)
  • You answer the question cleverly. (Adverb) 

 Types of Adverbs

There are many kinds of adverbs in English. The most common types are: 

  • Adverbs of Manner
  • Adverbs of Place
  • Adverbs of Time
  • Adverbs of Frequency
  • Adverbs of Degree
  • Interrogative Adverbs
  • Conjunctive Adverbs 

1. Adverbs of Manner:

Adverbs of manner modify verbs. They tell us how something happens. They answer the question ‘how?’

  • The cat walked lazily
  • The team played well

List: closelycarefullyquicklyslowlyalmostentirelyvery,

2. Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of Place tell us where something happens. They answer the question ‘where?’

  • Don’t go outside
  • Stay here

List: aboveawaybelowdownhereinsidethereup 

3. Adverbs of Time

Adverbs of Time tell us when something happens. They answer the question ‘when?’

  • It is raining now.
  • I’ll go home tomorrow.  

List: earlysoonthentodaylately 

4. Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of Frequency tell us how frequently something happens. They answer the question ‘how often?’

  • He rarely comes here.
  • You are constantly disturbing me. 

List: alwaysneverusuallyfrequentlysometimesoccasionally

5. Adverbs of Degree

Adverbs of Degree tell us how intense an action or quality is. They modify verbs, adjective, or adverbs. They answer the questions 'how much' or 'to what degree'. 

  • He too weak to come here.
  • There worked very sincerely. 

List: veryreallyextremelytooquitedeeplygreatlyhardlyhighlyintenselymuchmoremost

6. Adverbs of Reason

Adverbs of Degree tell us why something happens. It answers the question 'why?' 

  • He, therefore, left the company.
  • Consequently, they were punished. 

List: because, hence, lest, so, since, etc.

7. Conjunctive Adverbs 

Adverbs which connect two clauses are Conjunctive Adverbs. 

  • He was lazy. So, he failed in the exam. 
  • Children were playing. Meanwhile, parents relaxed. 

List: accordinglyalsoanyhowfurthermorehowevermoreoverotherwisestilltherefore

Note-1: If we use a conjunctive adverb between two independent clauses, we put a semicolon before the adverb and comma after it. 

  • I want to sleep; however, I need to study. 

If conjunctive adverb is used at the beginning of a sentence, comma is used to set it off. Note that the period takes the place of a semicolon. 

  • The day was over. Therefore, I went to sleep. 

8. Interrogative Adverbs 

Question words ‘whenwherewhy and how’ are Interrogative Adverbs, although they belong to the above types of adverbs also. 

  • Why are you so angry?   
  • When does the movie start? 

List: whenwherewhyho

MCQ Test on Adverbs

Select the correct answer

Q1. Fill up the gap with suitable 'adverb': He works-----quickly.
Q2. ‘Thank you very much’. In this sentence 'very' is-----.
Q3. ‘It is not very cold; I don't think we need these big jackets.’ ‘I don't think so-----.’
Q4. 'He hardly works'. In this statement 'hardly' means-----.
very hard
Q5. -----a child can understand it.
Q6. The mother sat vigilantly beside the sick baby. Here 'vigilantly' is-----.
an adverb
a noun
an adjective
none of the three
Q7. Select the correct form of adverb: The student has carefully submitted her examination paper.
Q8. The study of the situation covers a great deal of relevant material, but does not tackle the real issues-----enough.
Q9. You can stay here-----you want.
as soon as
as long as
as quickly as
as early as
Q10. -----this is a serious issue that deserves further study.
Q11. Honey is-----sweet.
too much
much too
Q12. He has come round from illness. The word 'round' is-----.
a preposition
an adverb
a verb
an infinitive
Q13. Count the number of adverbs: I was just wondering if you could cook it perfectly and make the dish quite delicious as always.
Q14. Fill in the gap: The children were playing-----.
at upstairs
in upstairs
out of upstairs
Q15. What are the four questions that adverbs can answer?
Who? When? Where? Why?
When? where? how? what?
Whom? when? where? how?
When? where? why? How?