Grammar Basics: Adverbs

In this article, we will help you learn and revise the basics of adverbs. These would go a long way in helping you understand the usage of adverbs in English. You can use this article as a revision tool in your spare time.
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Meaning of adverb
An adverb can modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a phrase, or a clause. An adverb indicates manner, time, place, cause, or degree and answers questions such as "how," "when," "where," "how much", etc.
While some adverbs can be identified by their characteristic "ly" suffix, most of them must be identified by untangling the grammatical relationships within the sentence or clause as a whole.
Adverb Examples:
The midwives waited patiently through a long labor.
He literally wrecked his car
Types of Adverbs: Definition and examples
  1. Adverb of time
    An adverb of time tells us when something is done or happens.
    Example: Last week, we were stuck in the lift for an hour.
  2. Adverb of place
    An adverb of place tells us where something is done or happens.
    Example: We can stop here for lunch.
  3. Adverb of manner
    An adverb of manner tells us how something is done or happens.
    Example: The brothers were badly injured in the fight.
  4. Adverb of degree
    An adverb of degree tells us the level or extent that something is done or happens.
    Example: Her daughter is quite fat for her age.
  5. Adverb of frequency
    An adverb of frequency tells us how often something is done or happens.
    Example: They were almost fifty when they got married.
Some Special Cases
  • The adverbs enough and not enough usually take a post-modifier position:
    Examples: Is that music loud enough?
    These shoes are not big enough.
    In a roomful of elderly people, you must remember to speak loudly enough.
(Notice, though, that, when enough functions as an adjective, it can come before the noun as:
Did she give us enough time?
  • The adverb enough is often followed by an infinitive:
    Example: She didn’t run fast enough to win.
  • The adverb too comes before adjectives and other adverbs:
    Example: She ran too fast.She works too quickly.
  • If too comes after the adverb it is probably a disjunct ( meaning also) and is usually set off with a comma:
    Example: Jasmine works hard. She works quickly too.
  • The adverb too is often followed by an infinitive.
    Example:  She runs too slowly to enter this race.
  • Another common construction with the adverb too is too followed by a prepositional phrase – for + the object of the preposition - followed by an infinitive.
    Example: This milk is too hot for a baby to drink.
Relative Adverbs
Adjectival clauses are sometimes introduced by what are called the relative adverbs: where, when and why. Although the entire clause is adjectival and will modify a noun, the relative word itself fulfills an adverbial function (modifying a verb within its own clause).
The relative adverb where will begin a clause that modifies a noun of place: My entire family now worships in the Church where my great grandfather used to be minister.
The relative pronoun “where” modifies the verb “used to be” (which makes it adverbial), but the entire clause (“where my great grandfather used to be minister”) modifies the word “church”.
A when clause will modify noun of time: My favorite month is always February, when we celebrate Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day.
And a why clause will modify the noun reason: Do you know the reason why Isabel isn’t in class today?
We sometimes leave out the relative adverb in such clauses, and many writers prefer “that” to “why” in a clause referring to “reason”:
  • Do you know the reason why Isabel isn’t in class today?
  • I always look forward to the day when we begin our summer vacation.
  • I know the reason that men like motorcycles.
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Adverbs: Key Learning
  • The given article explains adverbs in a comprehensive manner. Read it carefully and even solving the tough questions will become an easy task.
  • Gear up and start your preparation now!
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