Many people are uncertain about the purpose of an adverb. As a result, grammatical mistakes get made. In fact, adjective and adverb errors are so common, you may come across them every day and not even be aware that you are hearing or reading one.
An adverb is a word that describes - or modifies, as grammarians put it - a verb, an adjective or another adverb.
It is easy to see how adverbs describe, or modify, verbs, since they simply explain most about the action. For example:
Adverbs can also describe adjectives or other adverbs. They provide more information about that other descriptive word. For example:
You can tell whether or not a word is an adverb by considering its function in the sentence. If it is describing one of those three parts of speech- a verb, adjective or other adverb- it is an adverb.
You can also tell whether something is an adverb by looking at the ending of the word. A lot of adverbs - not all, but a lot - end in “ly.” For example, happily, quickly, speedily, steadily, foolishly, and angrily are all adverbs. So, if you said:
You can tell that happily is an adverb because it is describing the word runs and because it ends in ly.
Many frequency words are adverbs as well. For example, very, much, more and many can all be adverbs.
People often mistakenly use adjectives when they should use an adverb and vice versa. For example, a sentence that reads:
Is incorrect, because bad is modifying or describing behaved, which is a verb. It should read
On the other hand, if you said:
That would be correct, because in this case, the word bad is an adjective describing the noun behavior.
Confusing adverbs and adjectives is a common error with the words good and well.
To practice, identify the adverb in each of the following sentences.
Now that you know what an adverb is, you will be able to avoid making adjective/adverb mistakes, and you’ll be able to properly describe all of your actions from here on out. Now, go and happily brag to your friends all about your new knowledge.
Use adverb flashcards, complete with definitions, to learn new adverb vocabulary words.
Create and save customized word lists. Sign up today and start improving your vocabulary!