English in Use/Adverbs
|General||Contents • Introduction|
|Parts of speech||Articles • Nouns • Verbs • Gerunds and participles • Pronouns • Adjectives • Adverbs • Prepositions, Conjunctions and Interjections|
|Other topics||Orthography • Punctuation • Syntax • Figures of Syntax • Glossary|
An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or another adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner: as,
- "They are now here, studying very diligently."
Adverbs can modify a verb, a clause, adjective or a phrase.
Adjectives are generally turned into adverbs with the addition of a ly suffix. Ly is a contraction of like, and is the most common termination of adverbs. When added to nouns, it forms adjectives; but a few of these are also used adverbially: as, daily, weekly, monthly.
Examples of adverbs are:
- "Jack is swimming quickly."
- "Unfortunately, he lost the race."
- "We told him to run much faster."
In the first sentence, the adverb modifies the verb swimming. The adjective quick has had a ly added to it to make an adverb. In the second sentence, it modifies the entire sentence and in the final example, the adverb much modifies the adverb faster.
Comparative forms of adverbs
Adverbs have no modifications, except that a few are compared, after the manner of adjectives: as, soon, sooner, soonest; long, longer, longest; fast, faster, fastest.
The following are irregularly compared: well, better, best; badly or ill, worse, worst; little, less, least; much, more, most; far, farther, farthest; forth, further, furthest.
Kinds of adverbs
Adverbs may be reduced to four general classes; namely, adverbs of time, of place, of degree, and of manner. Besides these, it is proper to distinguish the particular class of conjunctive adverbs.
Adverbs of time
Adverbs of time are those which answer to the question, when? how long? how soon? or how often?
Of time present: as, now, yet, today, nowadays, presently, instantly, immediately, straightway, directly, forthwith.
Of time past: as, already, just now, lately, recently, yesterday, formerly, anciently, once, heretofore, hitherto, since, till now, long ago, erewhile, erst.
Of time to come: as, tomorrow, hereafter, henceforth, henceforward, by-and-by, soon, erelong, shortly.
Of time relative: as, when, then, first, just, before, after, while, whilst, meanwhile, as, till, until, seasonably, betimes, early, late, whenever, afterward, afterwards, otherwhile, otherwhiles.
Of time absolute: as, always, ever, never, aye, eternally, forever, perpetually, continually, incessantly, endlessly, evermore, everlastingly.
Of time repeated: as, often, oft, again, occasionally, frequently, sometimes, seldom, rarely, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, annually, once, twice, thrice, or three times.
Above thrice, we use only the phrases four times, five times, six times, etc. Times, for repetitions, or instances, may be supposed a noun; but such phrases often appear to be used adverbially.
Adverbs of degree
Adverbs of degree are those which answer to the question, how much? how little? or to the idea of more or less.
Of excess or abundance: as, much, more, most, too, very, greatly, far, besides; chiefly, principally, mainly, mostly, generally; entirely, full, fully, completely, perfectly, wholly, totally, altogether, all, quite, clear, stark; exceedingly, excessively, extravagantly, intolerably; immeasurably, inconceivably, infinitely.
Of equality or sufficiency: as, enough, sufficiently, competently, adequately, proportionally, equally, so, as, even, just, exactly, precisely.
Of deficiency or abatement: as, little, less, least, scarcely, hardly, scantly, scantily merely, barely, only, but, partly, partially, nearly, almost, well-nigh, not quite.
Of quantity in the abstract: as, how, however, howsoever, everso, something, anything, nothing, a groat, a sixpence, and other nouns of quantity used adverbially.
Adverbs of manner
Adverbs of manner are those which answer to the question, how? or, by affirming, denying, or doubting, show how a subject is regarded.
Of manner from quality: as, well, ill, wisely, foolishly, justly, wickedly, and many others formed by adding ly to adjectives of quality.
Of affirmation or assent: as, yes, yea, ay, verily, truly, indeed, surely, certainly, doubtless, undoubtedly, assuredly, certes, forsooth, amen.
Of negation: as, no, nay, not, nowise, noway, noways, nohow.
Of doubt or uncertainty: as, perhaps, haply, possibly, perchance, peradventure, maybe.
Of mode or way: as, thus, so, how, somehow, nohow, anyhow, however, howsoever, like, else, otherwise, across, together, apart, asunder, namely, particularly, necessarily, hesitatingly, trippingly, extempore, headlong, lengthwise.
Adverbs of place
Of place in which: as, where, here, there, yonder, above, below, about, around, somewhere, anywhere, elsewhere, otherwhere, everywhere, nowhere, wherever, wheresoever, within, without, whereabout, whereabouts, hereabout, hereabouts, thereabout, thereabouts.
Of place to which: as, whither, hither, thither, in, up, down, back, forth, aside, ashore, abroad, aloft, home, homewards, inwards, upwards, downwards, backwards, forwards.
Of place from which: as, whence, hence, thence, away, out, off, far, remotely.
Of the order of place: as, first, secondly, thirdly, fourthly, etc.
Thus, secondly means in the second place; thirdly, in the third place; etc.
The conjunctive adverbs are those which perform the office of conjunctions. The following words are the most frequently used as conjunctive adverbs: after, again, also, as, before, besides, consequently, else, ere, even, furthermore, hence, how, however, moreover, nevertheless, as well, otherwise, since, so, still, till, then, thence, therefore, too, until, when, where, wherefore, whither, while.
The adverbs of cause: why, wherefore, therefore; but the last two of these are often called conjunctions.
The pronominal compounds: herein, therein, wherein, etc.
A short syntax
Adverbs relate to verbs, participles, adjectives, or other adverbs: as, "How blessed," except the following cases: independent adverbs, as "No," the word amen, as "These things say the amen," an adverb before preposition, as "All along", and much, little, far, and all, as "Thus far is right."
- A part of the text in this article, was taken from the public domain English grammar "The Grammar of English Grammars" by Goold Brown, 1851.