How to use adverbs?

Having an understanding and knowledge of adverbs will help you to improve your communication skills in English.  If you know how to use adverbs correctly, you are able to enhance your text or your spoken English, by adding more information to what you are trying to say.

Adverbs are extremely useful to be using if you are preparing for a proficiency exam such as IELTS or TOEFL if you are preparing for a presentation in English, writing in English, or speaking in English with a friend.  

English speakers use adverbs to give more information about a topic.  This is done by modifying verbs, clauses and other adverbs.

adverbs, english adverbs, how to use adverbs, what are adverbs

Let’s go into detail and learn about all the different forms of adverbs together:

What is an adverb?

An adverb is a word like yesterday, never, hardly, here, also, which is used to say, for example, when, where or how something happens.

There are very many kinds of adverbs with different functions.

Different kinds of adverbs go in different positions in a clause.

Morphologically, we can distinguish three types of adverbs:

1. simple adverbs: just, only, well, back, down, near, out, under…

2. compound adverbs: somehow, somewhere, therefore…

3. derivational adverbs: these are created from adjectives by adding the suffix -ly. oddly, interestingly…

It is important to note that:

  • Adverbs can be compared, just like adjectives.
  • As well as with adjectives, there is a small group of adverbs with comparatives and superlatives formed differently.
  • Adverbs that are identical in form with adjectives are compared like those adjectives: fast, hard, late, long, quick…

There are several types of adverbs, according to their meaning…. below you will see the adverbs explained with examples:

Adverbs of Manner

An adverb of manner comes after a verb, or after a verb + object.

Most adverbs of manner are formed from an adjective + -ly.

They wanted to solve the problem quickly.

She speaks Portuguese fluently.

Try to act nicely.

An adverb of manner appears mostly in end position.

We continued our work in silence.

Adverbs of Place and Time!

Adverbs of place and time often go in end position.

It’s my birthday tomorrow.

The shop was closed for two weeks.

Some short adverbs of time can go in mid position, e.g. already, at once, finally, immediately, just (=a short time ago), no longer, now, recently, since, soon, still, then, yesterday.

He finally stopped nagging.

Adverbs of Frequency!

An adverb of frequency says how often something happens, e.g. always, normally, usually, generally, often, frequently, sometimes, occasionally, seldom, rarely, not … often, never, not … ever.

I sometimes go to the cinema with my friends.

The computer crashes occasionally

An adverb of frequency usually goes in mid position.

I’m always busy on a Saturday.

The bus doesn’t usually stop here.

Some adverbs of frequency can go in front or end position, e.g. normally, usually, generally, frequently, sometimes, and occasionally.

English Grammar Lesson- Adverbs of frequency

Normally I go to church on a Sunday.

Adverbs of Degree

You can use an adverb of degree before an adjective.

It’s a very nice dress.

An adverb of degree can also be used before another adverb.

I hardly ever see you nowadays.

Some adverbs of degree are: absolutely, completely, entirely, quite, totally, awfully, extremely, real, really, terribly, too, very, fairly, pretty, quite, rather, somewhat, a bit, a little, slightly, hardly, scarcely, not … at all, as, less, least, more, most, so.

We can also use an adverb of degree to modify a verb.

Do you really want to go there?

In mid position we can use: absolutely, almost, completely, hardly, just, nearly, quite, rather, really, scarcely, slightly, and totally.

I hardly ever see you nowadays.

Some adverbs of degree can go only in end position, e.g. a bit, a little, a lot, awfully, more, (the) most, somewhat, and terribly.

I like you a lot.

I miss you terribly.

Remember to practice! PPP (Perfect Practice makes Perfect)

If you do not practice using your English in a natural context, then you will lose your English.  It is one thing to be able to know all of these rules, structures and hearing these tips; though another to be using and applying your knowledge!

A common mistake that many English learners make (maybe EVEN YOU!)  is that they do not practice!  The more you practice, the better you will get.  You have to be practicing on a consistent basis, applying your knowledge.  Only in this way WILL YOU IMPROVE YOUR SPOKEN ENGLISH.   

Speaking with friends, communicating in English on a consistent basis, making mistakes, working on fixing your mistakes and getting feedback on your spoken English will help you identify YOUR common mistakes, work on these mistakes so that you CAN improve your spoken English and communication skills! 

Final Suggestions:

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Hi! I'm Adriana! Your English Speaking Coach :) I help English learners become confident and fluent English speakers, by using their English in their everyday lives. If you liked this post, be a good mate and share it with a friend learning English. If you have any suggestions or topics which I haven't written about, leave a comment below this post and we will make an English lesson on that topic 👇👇

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