building blocksAdverbs

There are many types of adverbs and adverb phrases. This page will introduce some of the basic types of adverbs and their functions.

What is an adverb?

Basically, most adverbs tell you how, where, or when something is done. In other words, they describe the manner, place, or time of an action. Here are some examples:

Type Adverb Example
Manner slowly Jane drives slowly.
Place here The party is going to take place here.
Time yesterday I called him yesterday.

How to recognize an adverb

Many adverbs end with the suffix -LY. Most of these are created by adding -LY to the end of an adjective, like this:

Adjective Adverb
slow slowly
delightful delightfully
hopeless hopelessly
aggressive aggressively

However, this is NOT a reliable way to find out whether a word is an adverb or not, for two reasons: many adverbs do NOT end in -LY (some are the same as the adjective form), and many words which are NOT adverbs DO end in -LY (such as kindly, friendly, elderly and lonely, which are adjectives). Here are some examples of adverbs which are the same as adjectives:

Adjective Adverb
fast fast
late late
early early

The best way to tell if a word is an adverb is to try making a question, for which the answer is the word. If the question uses how, where or when, then the word is probably an adverb. Here is an example:

Word in context Question Adverb?
Junko plays tennis aggressively. How does Junko play tennis? Yes — uses HOW.
They have a small house. What kind of house do they have? No — uses WHAT KIND OF, so this is an adjective.
Matthew called the police immediately. When did Matthew call the police? Yes — uses WHEN.


When you are sure that you understand the lesson, you can continue with the exercises.