English Knowledge - SPLessons
SPLessons 5 Steps, 3 Clicks
5 Steps - 3 Clicks



shape Introduction

Words or phrases that modify, qualify or explain the various verbs, adjectives or another adverb are called Adverbs. In short, an adverb describes actions, and it describes other descriptive words.
Examples: quickly, sadly, loudly, extremely, outside, seldom, silently, slowly etc.
  • She could easily divide the sweets among st themselves.
  • There was blood everywhere in the room.

The table below explains how adverbs modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.
Adverbs modifying Verbs When an adverb changes verb a little, it generally tells us when where, how or in what manner is it changing the verb. 1. Raghu placed the showpiece carefully on the table. In this sentence, an adverb is carefully showing how the showpiece was kept. 2. Heena dances gracefully. In this sentence, an adverb is gracefully modifying the verb dance. 3. She sometimes helps her classmates. In this sentence, sometimes is modifying to help.
Adverbs modifying Adjectives Adverbs can also change adjectives. 1. That was extremely rude of you. How rude? 2. This is a very beautiful flower. How beautiful the flower is? 3. The rabbit is bright white. How white is the rabbit?
Adverbs modifying other Adverbs Sometimes adverbs can also modify other adverbs in the sentence. 1. She speaks incredibly softly. How softly does she speak? 2. Peter finished his assignment very quickly. How quickly did he finish the assignment? 3. The wounded bird flew very slowly. How slow was the bird flying?

shape Types

Types of Adverbs: Adverbs can be divided into different categories as shown in the image and as described in the below column.
Types of Adverbs:
Manner Frequency Degree
Fortunately Always Almost
Unfortunately Usually Nearly
Luckily Often Quite
Unluckily Sometimes Completely
Immediately Occasionally Very
Surprisingly Seldom/rarely Extremely
Personally Never A bit
Honestly A little
Seriously Highly
Suddenly Bitterly
Interesting Painfully
Confidently Enough
Officially Very
Obviously too

1. Adverb of Time: An adverb which tells the reader when the situation happened or when a task is done is called adverb of time. When it is used at the beginning of the sentence, it is used as a form of emphasis.
For example: today, tomorrow, yesterday, then, now etc.
  • The buildings were set on fire yesterday.
  • He does not read the newspaper daily.

The table below shows some more adverbs of time.
Always Formerly Occasionally
Annually Fortnightly Previously
Infrequently Generally Quarterly
Before Late Recently
Constantly Later Seldom
Earlier Lately Sometimes
Eventually Now Random
Ever Normally Since
Finally Never Soon
Frequently Next Still

2. Adverb of Place: The place where the action is being done is called adverb of place. For example: here, there, inside, outside, inside, bottom, somewhere, beneath etc.
  • Roses grow everywhere.
  • Amsterdam is in America.

Some more adverbs of place are shown in the table below.
About Above Abroad
Anywhere Away Back
Backward Behind Below
Down Downstairs East
Elsewhere Fast Here
In Indoor Inside
Near Nearby Off
On Out Outside
Over There Towards
Under Up Upstairs

3. Adverb of Manner When an adverb tells us how the action is being done or happens, it is then called adverb of manner.
For example: happily, sadly, slowly, frequently, quickly etc.
  • He solved the riddles easily.
  • He often goes to America to visit his relatives.

4. Adverbs of Degree An adverb which tells us to what extent the action is being done or to what extent the action happened, it is then called adverb of degree.
For example: almost, much, quite, too, enough, hardly etc.
  • The news was too good to be true.
  • The lady had suffered enough violence at the hands of her husband.

5. Adverbs of Condition An adverb which tells us the condition required before the main idea comes into effect is called an adverb of condition. They generally start with if or unless.
  • If it rains, the taxi fare will shoot up.
  • The teacher refused to teach unless the students apologized.

The table below shows some more adverbs of concessions.

6. Adverbs of Concession: The adverb of concession differs from the main idea of the sentence. Generally, adverbs of concession begin with even though, although, though, while, whereas etc.
  • Even if she starts right away, she will not be able to reach on time.
  • Tina is bold enough to go around while Reena is not that capable.

The table below shows some more adverbs of concessions.

7. Adverb of Reason: An adverb which gives the main idea of the sentence can be said to be an adverb of reason. Usually, an adverb of reason starts with because, given, since, as etc.
  • Given today’s weather forecast, you should expect a storm.
  • Because the father was present, nobody could misbehave.

Some more examples of adverb of reason are shown in the picture.

8. Adverb of Frequency: Adverbs which tell the reader how many times the action has been done are called adverbs of frequency. For example: usually, daily, again and again, too often, most of the times etc.
  • The best friends met daily.
  • Most of the times he does not care about anyone

Exception: The adverbs of frequency which represent infrequency are not used in any negative form or in the form of questions.
The table below shows some more examples of the adverbs of frequency.
Frequency Adverb of Frequency Example
100% Always I always talk to my mother about my day at office.
90% Usually I usually have a glass of milk before going to bed.
80% Normally/generally I normally go to the temple before starting my day.
70% Often/frequently I use my cell phone often.
50% Sometimes Sometimes I agree with what my brother says.
30% Occasionally He occasionally goes to meet his relatives.
10% Seldom I seldom read any books.
5% Rarely/ hardly ever He hardly drinks alcohol.
0% Never I never smoke with my friends.

Comparative and Superlative Adverbs:
Comparative Adverbs: Adverbs which are used to compare two different actions or states are called comparative adverbs.
For example: faster than, slower than, quicker than, higher than, brighter than etc.
  • Could this road trip get any better?
  • My rank in the video game was higher than my brother’s.

Superlative Adverbs: Adverbs which are used to compare one action or state with the rest in the same category are called superlative adverbs.
For example: the angriest, the prettiest, the brightest, the earliest, the wisest, the thickest etc.
  • This is the thickest book that I have ever read.
  • There is always a wisest person in a group of friends.

However, there are some exceptional adverbs which do not have comparative and superlative adverbs. Those adverbs are shown below with the help of a table.
Type of Adverb Exceptional Adverbs
Adverb of time Yesterday, daily, then
Adverb of place Here, up, down
Adverb of degree Very, really, almost

The table below shows some more superlative and comparative adverbs to make you clearer.
Positive Adverb Comparative Adverb Superlative Adverb
Angry Angrier than The angriest
Big Bigger than The biggest
Cold Colder than The coldest
Dark Darker than The darkest
Early Earlier than The earliest
Fast Faster than The fastest
Great Greater than The greatest
High Higher than The highest
Longer Longer than The longest
Pretty Prettier than The prettiest
Sweet Sweeter than The sweetest
Thick Thicker than The thickest
Wide Wider than The widest

Regular and Irregular Adverb:
Regular adverbs: Adverbs formed by taking an adjective and adding ‘ly’ suffix to it makes it a regular adverb.
For example:
  • Quick- Quickly
  • Happy- Happily

Irregular adverbs: Adverbs that are not formed by the Standard English spelling conventions are called irregular adverbs.
Examples of irregular adverbs are shown in the picture below:
Adverb Comparative Superlative
Badly Worse Worst
Much More Must
Little Less Least
Well Better Best

shape Rules & Tips

Rules and Tips for Using Adverbs: There are few rules to be kept in mind for the easy and smooth use of adverbs in English language. These are as follows.
Rule 1: Adverb of time, like seldom, generally usually, hardly, rarely etc comes before the verb which the adverb has to modify.
For example:
  • She sometimes feels nervous while giving the presentation.
  • He often does very neat homework.

Rule 2: Adverb of manner is placed after the intransitive verb. But in case of a transitive verb, adverb of manner can be placed either before or after it.
For example:
  • The choir sang the song beautifully.
  • The team played the last match confidently.

Rule 3: Unlike an adjective which only modifies a noun or a pronoun, an adverb modifies a verb, an adjective and another verb.
For example:
  • He worked hard to complete the project.
  • The children took the matter very seriously.

Rule 4: Always remember that but always follows else while using them with adverbs.
For example:
  • It is nothing else but laziness that does not let you work.
  • That was nothing but an animal that you saw.

Rule 5: Always remember that than always follows other and otherwise while using them with adverbs.
For example:
  • He has no other choice than leaving the room.

Rule 6: Use of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ should be according to the affirmation and negative answers.
For example:
  • Yes I have completed the project.
  • No I did not go to the party.

Rule 7: To introduce predicative of the verb like regard, describe, know, view etc, use the adverb ‘as’.
For example:
  • She regards us as her family.
  • The process was described as a complex process.

Rule 8: We should avoid using the adverb ‘as’ for introducing as the predicative of the verbs like name, elect, think, call, make, choose etc.
  • The teacher calls her students intelligent.
  • One student was elected the class representative.

Rule 9: Avoid using the negative adverbs like seldom, nothing, barely, merely, neither etc with another negative word. In other words, avoid using two negative words together.
For example:
  • He rarely comes to visit his old parents.
  • The family hardly knew anybody here.

Rule 10: Using the adverb ‘very’ changes the present participle used as an adverb, adjective in a positive degree.
For example:
  • Kerala is a very beautiful place.
  • My sister is very happy after getting the job.

Rule 11: in cases of comparative degree adverbs ‘much’ is used.
For example:
  • My brother is much taller than me.
  • My friend completed the mission of the game much faster.

Rule 12: We should always use adverb ‘so’ and ‘too’ with ‘that’ and ‘to’ respectively.
For example:
  • He is so powerful that nobody messes with him.
  • She is too good at writing.

Rule 13: Enough is both an adjective and an adverb. So while using it as an adverb, it should always come after the adjective and while using it is as an adjective, it should always come before noun.
For example:
  • They have enough time to play.
  • He is good enough to be selected into the team.

Rule 14: With the use of some adverbs, the entire meaning of the sentence can change.
For example:
  • Unfortunately the doctor will not come for one week.
  • Surprisingly the team that was assumed to be the weakest won the series.

Rule 15: The highlighted parts of the examples below tell us how one adverb describes the other adverb in the same sentence.
  • The boy ran incredibly quickly.
  • His talks are exceptionally wisely.

The following image explains rules with more clarity.

shape Errors

Adverbs are used in different ways in different sentences. It is difficult to use adverbs because some people use adjectives in place of adverbs.
Some common errors while using the adverbs are as follows:
  1. He couldn’t help not overhearing the teachers’ conversation. He couldn’t help overhearing the teachers’ conversation. (No two negatives come together in the same sentence.)

  2. I ever remember having read a more interesting novel. I never remember having read a more interesting novel. (Wrong use of ever and never)

  3. It was bitter cool. It was bitterly cool. (Wrong use of adjectives in place of adverbs)

  4. She was much happy to see her family. She was very happy to see her family. (See is an adjective. Much is not used with an adjective.)

  5. She plays basketball good. She plays basketball well. (Well is an adverb, good is an adjective.)

  6. We are very much sorry. We are very sorry. (Before adjectives, very is used without much and adverbs are used in a positive degree.)

  7. She is much tired after the journey. She is very tired after the journey. (In this sentence, much and very do not mean the same.)

  8. He very carefully drove. He drove very carefully. (Adverbs of manner generally come at the end of the sentence.)

  9. The house is enough spacious for us. The house is spacious enough for us. (The adverb ‘enough’ is placed after adjective or the adverb it is modifying.)

  10. I know to ride a bicycle. I know how to ride a bicycle. (An infinitive cannot b directly followed by know. Instead always remember to use knows how to.)
Hope you have understood what adverbs are, how to use them and the various rules which are very important for their usage for correct English.