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What are English Adverbs?
An adverb describes a verb, an adjective or another adverb. It tells us how, where, when, how much and with what frequency.
What are functions of Adverbs?
Adverbs perform a wide range of functions.
- They typically modify verbs (or verb phrases), adjectives (or adjectival phrases), or other adverbs (or adverbial phrases).
- Adverbs also sometimes qualify noun phrases (only the boss; quite a lovely place); pronouns and determiners (almost all); prepositional phrases (halfway through the movie); or whole sentences, to provide contextual comment or indicate an attitude (Frankly, I don’t believe you).
- They can also indicate a relationship between clauses or sentences (He died, and consequently I inherited the estate).
Formation of English Adverbs
- Many English adverbs are formed from adjectives by adding the ending -ly, as in hopefully, widely, theoretically, etc. Certain words can be used as both adjectives and adverbs, such as fast, straight, and hard. The adverb corresponding to the adjective good is well (note that bad forms the regular badly, although ill is occasionally used in some phrases).
- There are also many adverbs that are not derived from adjectives, including adverbs of time, of frequency, of place, of degree and with other meanings. Some suffixes that are commonly used to form adverbs from nouns are –ward[s](as in homeward[s]) and -wise (as in lengthwise).
- Most adverbs form comparatives and superlatives by modification with more and most: often, more often, most often; smoothly, more smoothly, most smoothly, etc. However, a few adverbs retain irregular inflection for comparative and superlative forms: much, more, most; a little, less, least; well, better, best; badly, worse, worst; far, further (farther), furthest (farthest); or follow the regular adjectival inflection: fast, faster, fastest; soon, sooner, soonest; etc.
Where is the correct place to place adverbs in sentences?
Types of Adverbs and Position of Adverbs in English Sentences.
- Adverbs indicating the manner of an action are generally placed after the verb and its objects (We considered the proposal carefully), although other positions are often possible (We carefully considered the proposal).
- Many adverbs of frequency, degree, certainty, etc. (such as often, always, almost, probably, and various others such as just) tend to be placed before the verb (They usually have chips), although if there is an auxiliary or other “special verb”, then the normal position for such adverbs is after that special verb (or after the first of them, if there is more than one): I have just finished the crossword; She can usually manage a pint; We are never late; You might possibly have been unconscious.
- Adverbs that provide a connection with previous information (such as next, then, however), and those that provide the context (such as time or place) for a sentence, are typically placed at the start of the sentence: Yesterday we went on a shopping expedition.