Grammar Guide: Adverbs

We will continue to discuss parts of speech. For a general overview, revisit the post about parts of speech. Today we will focus on adverbs. Adverbs are most commonly identified by the -ly ending; however, adverbs can take other forms as well. Adverbs are the words that tell us when, where, why, to what extent, and how much. As previously mentioned, adverbs can describe verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, or even whole phrases or clauses.

Modifying Verbs
Adverbs that modify verbs are the most common way that adverbs are used. These adverbs are the easiest to recognize.

The car speedily drove down the freeway.
Carefully, he pulled the book off the shelf.
She was dressed beautifully for the wedding.

In these sentences, the adverbs show the manner (how) in which the action was performed.

Modifying Adjectives
Adverbs that modify adjectives usually answer the question to what extent? 

The very hungry horse ate his food in the barn.

After you yelled at her, your daughter was extremely upset.

In the first sentence, the word very shows to what extent the horse is hungry.
In the second sentence, the word extremely shows to what extent the girl is upset.

Modifying Other Adverbs
Adverbs can also modify other adverbs.

The test went really well. 

In this sentence, the word really shows how well the test went.

Modifying Clauses
Adverbs can also modify entire clauses.

Unfortunately, the store had already closed by the time we arrived.

In this sentence, the word unfortunately modifies the entire sentence.

Conjunctive Adverbs
Conjunctive adverbs are a special type of adverb that can connect two independent clauses. A semicolon and a comma surround these types of adverbs.

The rain did not stop all day; consequently, the picnic was canceled.
Andrea broke her foot at the dance; however, she still had a good time.

In these sentences, the conjunctive adverbs connect the two independent clauses. Other examples of conjunctive adverbs are therefore, thus, nevertheless, and futhermore.

To learn more about parts of speech and adverbs, study with us a Nomen Global.

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