Introduction to adverbs

The plants are growing quickly.

The plants are growing quickly.

Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, and whole sentences.

They do not modify nouns.

Adverbs give us more information and describe the way something happens or happened.

They can tell us things such as how, when and where something happens, and to what extent or under what conditions.


Many adverbs end in –ly and are formed by adding –ly to an adjective:

slow – slowly

quick – quickly

beautiful – beautifully

bold – boldly

patient – patiently

If the adjective ends in a ‘y’ you need to change the ‘y’ to an ‘i’ and then add -ly:

happy – happily


Examples of adverbs

  • kindly
  • patiently
  • carelessly
  • beautifully
  • slowly
  • gently
  • today
  • yesterday
  • very
  • extremely
  • here
  • often
  • always


Examples of adverbs that show how something is/was done






Example of adverbs that show when something happens or happened







Examples of adverbs that show where something happens or happened







Examples of adverbs that show the extent to which something happens or happened





Examples of adverbs modifying verbs

He walked home slowly.

She smiled nervously

She gets up early every day.

He drives fast.

The train will be arriving shortly.

He carefully picked up the baby bird.

She quickly parked her car and ran into the house.

The roof of our house was badly damaged in the storm.


Example of an adverb modifying an adjective

He drives a very fast car – very = adverb, fast = adjective


Examples of adverbs modifying another adverb

He walked to school very slowly.

He ate his food extremely quickly.


Adverbs are very useful because they help you to explain yourself more clearly and they can make sentences more interesting – but be careful not to over use them, especially in your written work.

In his book On Writing, the author Stephen King said that:

I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout if from the rooftops.To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one on your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day . . . fifty the day after that . . . and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s — GASP!! — too late.

So that’s our introduction to adverbs – was it useful for you? Do you have any questions?

Let me know in the comments 🙂

I’ll be talking about adverb phrases and more about adverbs as intensifiers in another post coming up soon, so keep a look out for that one too 🙂




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