Errors in the use of adverbs

April 27, 2012pdf

Different kinds of adverbs go in different positions in a sentence. The usage is sometimes very different, too. ESL students often find it difficult to use adverbs correctly. Here are some common mistakes in the use of adverbs.

Incorrect: He plays tennis good.

Correct: He plays tennis well.

Good is an adjective. The adverb for this meaning is well.

Incorrect: I am very much sorry.

Correct: I am very sorry.

Very is used without much before adjectives and adverbs in the positive degree.

Incorrect: I am much tired.

Correct: I am very tired.

Much does not mean the same as very.

Incorrect: She is so poor to pay the dues.

Correct: She is too poor to pay the dues.

Incorrect: It is very hot to go out.

Correct: It is too hot to go out.

Note the structure too…to.

Incorrect: She carefully drove.

Correct: She drove carefully.

Incorrect: She angrily spoke.

Correct: She spoke angrily.

Adverbs of manner usually go in the end-position.

Incorrect: The room is enough spacious for us.

Correct: The room is spacious enough for us.

The adverb enough goes after the adjective or adverb it modifies.

Incorrect: I know to swim.

Correct: I know how to swim.

Know cannot be directly followed by an infinitive. Instead we use the structure know how to.

Incorrect: He is not clever to solve the problem.

Correct: He is not clever enough to solve the problem.

Incorrect: He is now too strong to walk.

Correct: He is now strong enough to walk.

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