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16.4: Adverbs

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    Adverbs are modifiers or descriptive words, phrases, or clauses that bring detail to your sentences. An adverb answers the question where, when, how or to what extent. They modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Many adverbs end in “-ly” except for always, never, very, and well. The most commonly used adverb is not.

    Difference between Adverbs and Adjectives

    Adjectives and adverbs answer different questions.

    An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun and answers these questions:

    • Which: The latest magazine arrived.
    • What kind: A huge difference remained.
    • How many: The three books were different.

    An adverb modifies a verb and answers these questions:

    • When: Tomorrow, the storm will quit.
    • How often: Students change majors frequently.
    • Where: The class is held here today.

    When choosing between an adjective and adverb, determine the word being modified and then figure out its part of speech.

    Forming adverbs

    Often adverbs are formed from adjectives, but some are not derived from other words such as again, almost, always, never, here, there, now, often, seldom, well. The adverbs that are derived from adjectives can be formed by adding the suffix “-ly” to the ending.

    • beautifully
    • strangely
    • cleverly
    • respectfully

    Remember that an “-ly” does not make the word an adverb. Some adjectives also end in “-ly” such as friendly and lovely.


    The location of the adverb in a sentence can change the rhythm and emphasis dramatically.

    • Originally, the Star Wars movie series had just three installments.
    • The Star Wars movie series originally had just three installments.

    16.4: Adverbs is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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