We have already learned that adverbs modify verbs. They tell us how an action is performed. Sometimes adverbs show the place or frequency of an action.
- She sings well.
- They drive carefully.
- She walked slowly.
- He gave his reply immediately.
- He did the work satisfactorily.
- She suffered the agony bravely.
Note that adverbs are usually formed by adding –ly to the adjective.
- Careful – carefully
- Brave – bravely
- Nice – nicely
Note that there are many exceptions to this rule. Some adjectives and adverbs have the same form. Examples are: daily, hard and fast.
- A daily newspaper comes out daily.
Some adverbs are not formed from adjectives. An important example is the adverb well. The adjective form of well is good.
- She speaks good English. (Here the adjective good modifies the noun English.)
- She speaks English well. (Here the adverb well modifies the verb speaks.)
Adverbs can also modify adjectives. When an adverb modifies an adjective, it goes before the adjective.
- She is an extremely talented singer.
Here the adverb extremely modifies the adjective talented.
- She is incredibly beautiful.
- It was ridiculously hot.
One of the most common adverbs used to modify adjectives is the word ‘very’. Note that very cannot be used to modify adjectives in their comparative degree.
- She is a very good singer. (BUT NOT She is a very better singer than him.)
To modify comparatives, we use other adverbs like much, far, very much, a lot, lots.
- She is much older than me. (NOT She is very older than me.)