What is the role of English adverbs?


When it comes to English adverbs, many people think of the form of "... ly" such as quickly and happily. In addition, some people may remember learning "words that modify verbs, adjectives, and adverbs" as an explanation of "what are adverbs" in grammar classes.

Adverbs are not only typical "... ly" forms, but also have the same form as adjectives, "... ly" is not an adverb, and there are various forms that are completely different. The question "Which adverb is in the sentence?" Can be difficult or confusing.

If you can understand and use English adverbs correctly, you will be able to expand the range of expressions and create various sentences. Let's review and confirm how to catch adverbs and where to put them.

What are adverbs? The role of adverbs

The etymology of adverb (adverb) comes from the Latin adverbium, which means ad (= to, towards + + verb (word, verb) with the suffix ium. As it points, it is a verb, adjective, adverb, or a word that modifies the entire sentence.

This Japanese definition of "modify" is difficult to understand, but it is easier to understand if you remember "adding meaning to the word or sentence" rather than modifying it. The added meanings include location, time, speed, and method.

Let's look at an example.

“He ran.” Is simply a sentence that means “he ran”, but what if you add an adverb?

He ran quickly. (He ran fast.)
He ran yesterday. (He ran yesterday.)

In each case, the words quickly and yesterday following Heran add meaning to explain "ran" in more detail.

Adverbs are verbs that have more detailed explanations such as speed and time.

Main adverb patterns

There are two main patterns to remember with adverbs, besides the simple forms of adverbs such as often, ever, and too.

The adjective has ly

The pattern that can be recognized as an adverb at a glance is "the adjective has ly". The adjective ends with ly, but be careful of the spelling when writing, as there are things like happily where y at the end changes to i, and things like incredibly where e drops.

careful → carefully
happy → happily
incredible → incredibly
slow → slowly

Put the vase down carefully.

You should drive more slowly.

She's incredibly beautiful!

John and Jill played happily in the sand.

In rare cases, even if ly is attached, it may be an adjective. It's friendly and costly.

Whether it is an adjective or not, consider whether it fits into the two patterns of "directly representing the state of the subject" and "modifying a noun."

The following example sentence shows the characteristics and state of the subject. (adjective)

He is friendly.

Building a new house is costly.

In the following cases, the noun immediately after is modified. (adjective)

We had a friendly conversation.

She bought a costly jewel.

When you are wondering whether it is an adverb or an adjective at a glance like this, it is easier to understand by judging "what is used and what is modifying".

Same form as an adjective

Adverbs that are easily confused are those that are used in exactly the same way as adjectives. For example, hard, only, fast, etc. Let's compare the example sentences to see the difference in meaning and usage.

・ Hard means "difficult, enthusiastic" in the case of adjectives, and "enthusiastically" in the case of adverbs.

The exam was hard. → Describes the subject of The exam itself (adjective)

He studied hard. (He studied hard) → Added an explanation of how the movement was (adverb)

・ Only is an easy-to-understand example because the adjective is "only" and the adverb is "only".

She is the only person I can trust. (She is the only person I can trust.) → "Only" (adjective)

Only she can do it. (Only she can do it) → "only" (adverb)

・ Fast is translated as "fast" in both adjectives and adverbs in Japanese, but it can be judged by whether or not the noun is modified.

He is a fast swimmer. (He is a fast swimmer.) → Modify the noun swimmer (adjective)

He swims fast. (He swims fast) → Added an explanation of how the movement was (adverb)

There are many words that are both adjectives and adverbs other than these three, but if you encounter a question such as an adjective or an adverb in a qualification test, pay attention to "what is modified and how". Let's judge.

Five types of adverbs

There are five types of adverbs, "time, place, frequency, degree, and state." I will explain what each one has.

→ Explanations and examples of adverbs, example sentences, and general rules for the position of each type of adverb

Adverb and Its Kinds (When?)

Adverbs such as "I ate bread this morning" and "I played with my friends yesterday" represent times such as "yesterday" and "today". Some of the most commonly used time adverbs are:

last night
this morning
recently recently
now now
later later
before (Before)
after (after)

Adverbs that represent time are generally placed at the end of a sentence, but they can also be placed at the beginning of a sentence to emphasize when.

I went to buy some new clothes today.

Lately, I see many people wearing the Squid Game costume.

Note that before and after are also used as prepositions. If a noun comes after before or after, it is a preposition, and if there is no noun or if a noun comes before or after, it is an adverb.

We went out after breakfast. (We went out after breakfast) → Preposition

She arrived soon after. (She arrived soon after) → Adverb

I've met her before, maybe last summer. (I've met her before, maybe last summer) → Adverb

Come back before it gets dark. → Preposition

Adverb for place (Where?)

Places such as "here" and "over there" are also used as adverbs.

here (here)
there (over there)
in (inside)
out (outside)
inside (inside)
outside (outside)
up (up)
down (down)
above (upper)
below (lower ) To
somewhere (somewhere)
nowhere (nowhere)
anywhere (anywhere)
everywhere (anywhere)

As mentioned above, there is a service charge.

I can't find my wallet anywhere.

How about John? I can't just leave him here!

Some are used as prepositions such as in, above, inside, and outside. In the case of prepositions, these words are followed by nouns and are not used alone. Adverbs can be placed alone or after a noun.

Come in! → Adverb

I walked the dog in the park. → Preposition

She refused to come inside. (She refused to come inside.) → Adverb

I left the key inside my room. (I forgot the key inside my room) → Preposition

When you are wondering whether it is an adverb or a preposition like this, the nouns such as "The preposition is above the sky", before 11pm (before 11pm), after breakfast (after breakfast) It's easy to understand if you remember that the adverbs that follow are the day before, 1 week after, and so on. "

Frequency adverb (How often?)

There are also types of adverbs that express the frequency such as "always" and "occasionally". When there is a sentence "study English", it is a case of explaining "how often?" Let's take a look at the main ones.

always (always)
sometimes (sometimes)
usually (usually)
often (often)
never (never, never)
occasionally (occasionally)
rarely (rarely)
hardly (almost never)
annually (every year)
monthly (monthly)
weekly (Weekly)
daily (every day)
hourly (every hour)

The membership has to be renewed annually.

We rarely see each other.

I often play tennis. (I often play tennis)

I've never been to Sydney. (I've never been to Sydney)

Frequent adverbs are probably the most frequently used type of English conversation. It's easier to remember what you used to use as an adverb.

Degree adverb (How much?)

Adverbs that indicate the degree are also commonly used in English conversation. In fact, words that you probably use often, such as very and more, are also adverbs. Let's see what else is mainly used.

a little little little
much much
pretty pretty
rather rather rather
too (also)
nearly (almost)
really (really)
so (very)
just (just)
terribly (extremely)
awfully (extremely)
insanely (extremely)
extremely (extremely, very)
exactly ( Exactly, just)

Degree adverbs are often placed before adjectives and verbs to emphasize or add meaning to how much.

I'm fully vaccinated. (I'm fully vaccinated)

I'm terribly sorry.

His new apartment is pretty big.

You're so kind!

"little" means "a little" when a is added, but if there is no a, it means "almost no", so be careful.

The food was a little spicy for me.

I slept very little last night. (I slept very little last night.)

State adverb (In what manner? / How?)

Adverbs such as "clearly," "well," and "quietly" are often used in English conversation. Many adverbs that represent states end with ly, and are often used in business.

badly badly
clearly clearly
steadily steadily well
angrily proudly cheerfully
anxiously happily sadly hopefully Reluctantly patiently impatiently obviously fortunately unfortunately strictly strictly

The workers are treated badly.

The company's sales have been steadily increasing.

I can work more efficiently with this new app.

He reluctantly agreed to see a doctor.

The use of cameras is strictly forbidden.

He is obviously upset.

If you have the opportunity to receive English emails and materials, find out what adverbs are used and how. State adverbs are often used in news and interviews. In everyday conversation, things such as obviously, hopefully, and luckily are decided to some extent, so it's a good idea to focus on what you often hear and practice.

Where do you put the adverbs?

Adverbs are often placed in or at the end of a sentence, but they can also be placed at the beginning of a sentence to modify the entire sentence or emphasize the sentence. Where it is best to put it is on a case-by-case basis, and it is important whether it is easy to say, especially in English conversation, but here we will explain the basic rules for the position of adverbs.

Common adverb positions

The position of the adverb is not fixed and is placed in various places in the sentence, but in principle, it can be placed in one of the three patterns of "before the subject", "between the subject and the verb", and "after the verb or object". This is true.

In most cases, it will be "immediately after the verb" or "after the verb/object". That is why the impression that the adverb is at the end of the sentence is high. In particular, adverbs that represent time are often placed at the end of sentences.

I walked slowly.

Mybrother sings loudly in the shower. (My brother sings loudly in the shower.)

My computer is n't working properly.

I had breakfast at M's Cafe this morning.

I went to see a movie yesterday. (I went to see a movie yesterday)

I practise yoga daily.

The next most common pattern is "between the subject and the verb", which is often placed just before the verb.

I usually go to bed at 9. (I always go to bed at 9 o'clock)

I often watch Netflix.

I ca n't properly say what I want to.

I quickly brushed my teeth and left home.

However, in the case of the be verb, it is basically placed after it.

I am often worried about something.

I'm so sorry. (I'm really sorry)

He was extremely mad.

He is pretty cute.

Depending on the context, adverbs that represent time or state may be placed at the beginning of the sentence before the subject. Adverbs are usually placed at the end of a sentence or before or after a verb, but this form is used when you want to emphasize words such as "yesterday," "today," and "luckily" by putting them at the beginning of a sentence.

Luckily, I found the key. (Fortunately, I found the key)

Unfortunately, I can't join you.

Obviously, he was lying.

Today, people are more concerned about what they eat.

Position when modifying adjectives and other adverbs

When modifying an adjective to an adverb, the adverb is put before the adjective with "adverb + adjective" such as very serious, so happy, awfully cold.

Adverbs can overlap many times, except when only one adverb is included. In that case, the order is basically "degree-> state-> place-> frequency-> time" , so be sure to remember it. Also, when stating the purpose of "for what" as in this example sentence, the part pointing to the purpose is at the end.

I have to run very quickly down the street every morning after breakfast in order to catch the bus.

It is very (degree) → quickly (state) → down the street (place) → every morning (frequency) → after breakfast (time). It's not impossible to change this order, but remember it in this order, as it not only makes English sound very unnatural, but it also changes its meaning.

I think it's difficult to remember the order, "the next level is the state ...", so it's a good idea to memorize this example sentence.

In this case, down and after are prepositions when viewed alone, but if you look at down the street and after breakfast as a lump, they act as adverbs. It doesn't matter which adverb is an adverb in normal English conversation, but be aware of this when you have a question about "which adverb is" in a qualification test or school test.