English Grammar Rules

Adverbs describe verbs (actions). They give more detail about the action.

  • My cat eats slowly.

Slowly is an adverb since it describes the way my cat eats.
How does my cat eat? Slowly.

Adverbs will generally answer the question 'How'.

Some adverbs are used to modify an adjective.

Adverbs that do this are: very, extremely, really, totally, absolutely, quite, fairly, well. These are normally placed before the adjective.

  • It was very hot yesterday.
  • He is totally crazy.

Types of Adverbs

There are many types of adverbs, such as:

Adverbs of Frequency - always, sometimes, never, etc.

Adverbs of Manner - carefully, slowly

Adverbs of Time and Place - here, yesterday, then

Adverbs of Relative Time - recently, already, soon

Adverbs of Degree - very, extremely, rather

Adverbs of Quantity - a few, a lot, much

Adverbs of Attitude - fortunately, apparently, clearly

Adverbs Word Order

Adverbs are usually placed after the verb:

  • He speaks clearly.

When there is an object, the adverb is usually placed after the verb + object:

  • I put the vase carefully on the table.

However, adverbs are never positioned between the verb and the object.

  • I read the book quickly. - (Correct)
    I read quickly the book. - (Incorrect)

Sometimes adverbs are placed at the beginning of a clause.

  • Quickly, I changed my opinion.

Next activity

To see the spelling rules for adverbs, check out: Adverbs Spelling -LY

To see more information about adverbs of frequency, check out: Adverbs of Frequency

Check out our grammar notes about Compound Adjectives which sometimes contain both adjectives and adverbs.

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Last Updated: 02 December 2014
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