What are adverbs?
Adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.
Another way to define adverbs is to say that they modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.
Adverbs often end in ‘-ly’, but not always!
Remember, adverbs do not only describe verbs, which the word ‘adverb’ might suggest!
They are also incredibly useful to give extra information about adjectives and other adverbs.
Adverbs can modify verbs
Adverbs can tell us how, when, where or why an action (verb) is done.
The pianist plays wonderfully.
‘Wonderfully’ is an adverb that tells us how the pianist played.
The tennis players will play a match tomorrow.
‘Tomorrow’ is an adverb that tells when the players will play a match.
Adverbs can modify adjectives
We know that adjectives are words that describe or modify nouns.
But what if we would like to add some extra information about an adjective?
An adverb can come in handy here.
Benjamin is exceedingly happy.
‘Exceedingly’ is an adverb which describes how happy Benjamin is.
Notice how ‘exceedingly’ is not describing the verb ‘is’. It is instead describing the adjective ‘happy’.
We realised that the cinema was completely empty.
‘Completely’ is used to modify ’empty’.
‘Completely’ does not add extra information to the verb ‘was’, so is not an example of an adverb modifying a verb.
Instead, it is modifying the adjective ’empty’, which itself is describing the noun ‘cinema’.
Adverbs can modify other adverbs
Adverbs can give modify or describe other adverbs.
So, we can have two adverbs next to each other in a sentence.
She was able to run extremely fast
Here, ‘extremely’ is an adverb that adds extra information to the adverb ‘fast’.
We know ‘fast’ is an adverb because it describes the verb ‘run’.
I couldn’t find my watch, even though I looked very thoroughly.
‘Very’ is an adverb that describes the adverb ‘thoroughly’.
We know ‘thoroughly’ is an adverb because it gives information about the verb ‘looked’.