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Words are tricky, they can change and adapt according to the speaker’s needs. In English, words are classified into different categories. These categories can be varied, and usually, divide words by their uses in this language. Some of these categories are verbs, adjectives, nouns, and pronouns. All of these have their own place in an English sentence. However, there’s one type of words that are also essential for the English language: the adverb.

What is an adverb?

Adverbs are words used to change, describe or add more information about a verb in a sentence. An adverb can also modify an adjective or even other adverbs, with the purpose of making the meaning of the sentence clearer.

There is a common characteristic that makes easy to identify an adverb in a sentence, usually, they look like adjectives that end in -ly. Words like “quickly”, “happily” or “shortly” are adverbs. However, this rule doesn’t apply to all of these words, so sometimes identifying them in a sentence is not as easy. Another way of doing this is by looking at their placement in the sentence, which can help when in doubt. Most times, adverbs are located immediately before or after the word they’re modifying. If there are still doubts about which one is the adverb, then it’s advisable to look for the words that are adding information or describing other words in the sentence.

Depending on the type of adverb that’s being used, they can tell a person how an action occurs, of where does it happen. It can also describe when the action happens, or even the frequency of this action.

Types of Adverbs

Adverbs of manner

These are the words used to make descriptions of the manner or way that something is done. This is excellent to bring more details in the description of an event.

Some of the most common adverbs of manners are:

- abruptly
- angrily
- badly
- carefully
- easily
- fast
- friendly
- gently
- happily
- hard
- heavily
- kindly
- loudly
- neatly
- nicely
- politely
- quickly
- quietly
- sadly
- secretly
- slowly
- softly
- suddenly
- well

Examples of adverbs of manner:

- I gently brush my hair every morning.
- It was Dinah’s birthday, so her dad secretly bought her a present.
- In the library, everybody has to speak quietly.
- They like their new cat, it has a friendly attitude.
- Tara and her mother are living happily.
- John couldn’t play. He was behaving angrily.
- Linda was reading carefully her new history book.

Adverbs of place

When a person needs to describe the place where an action or something related to the action occurred, they use an adverb of place. It usually expresses where something happens. These adverbs can refer to directions, distances or relative position of an object.

Some of the most used adverbs of place are:

- above
- around
- backward
- behind
- below
- between
- down
- east
- everywhere
- far away
- forward
- here
- miles apart
- nearby
- north
- outside
- south
- there
- up
- west

Examples of adverbs of place:

- She studies here in this school.
- The museum has a music store nearby.
- She headed west where the library is.
- Lucas lives behind the mall.
- Patricia is running around the track.
- This is your book, I’ll put it here.
- Pablo headed north to visit his mom.

Adverbs of time

As their name stated, the adverbs of time describe when things happen, for how long they happened, or even for how long and how frequently an action happened. These adverbs are usually placed at the end of the sentence, but their position in the sentence can be switched if the person needs to emphasize something in particular.

The most common adverbs of time are:

- hourly
- daily
- nightly
- weekly
- monthly
- annually
- yearly
- before
- already
- now
- today
- tonight
- tomorrow
- yesterday
- first
- next
- since
- yet
- still
- soon
- just
- late
- earlier
- later
- previously
- recently
- eventually
- finally

Examples of adverbs of time:

- Mildred now runs in the morning.
- Jack and James will soon be travelling to Kansas.
- I recently bought a few notebooks for my classes.
- Then, it was time to cut the cake.
- I will go to the zoo tomorrow.
- Sally is still waiting for Jessica to arrive.
- Let’s call Mike now.

Adverbs of degree

These adverbs are perfect to describe the intensity or degree of something, it could be an adjective, an action, or even another adverb. There are many, and they are very different, but some of the most used adverbs of degree are:

These are the some of the most used adverbs of degree:

- absolutely
- almost
- barely
- completely
- deeply
- enough
- extremely
- fully
- hardly
- least
- less
- little
- most
- much
- positively
- practically
- quite
- rather
- simply
- so
- somewhat
- terribly
- too
- utterly
- very

Examples with adverbs of degree:

- Lisa has practically not been able to study.
- She is so pretty!
- Damian is quite helpful around the house.
- I am somewhat preoccupied by my math’s exam.
- Dario’s dog is very friendly.
- Luisa has most of her friends in this neighborhood.
- Kelly is practically out of college.

Adverbs of frequency

The main use of the adverbs of frequency is to describe how often an action occurs, or how many times has happened, to change the meaning of the sentence. Usually, these adverbs can also be seen as adverbs of degree, however, the use is not the same.

These are the most used adverbs of frequency:

- always
- daily
- eventually
- frequently
- generally
- hardly ever
- infrequently
- never
- normally
- occasionally
- often
- usually

Examples with adverbs of frequency:

- Dana always goes to the market on Tuesday.
- I will eventually visit you, Marian.
- What are your daily tasks?
- Ivana is never angry, she’s very sweet!
- Dean and Carlos are often swimming in the lake.
- She usually travel by bus, but today she took the train.
- Elena occasionally watches TV series.

Adverbs and adjectives

These types of words share something in common: they are used to make descriptions and give a deeper meaning to a sentence. However, these word’s uses are not interchangeable.

Adjectives are words used to modify or describe nouns and pronouns, for example, “I have a purple raincoat”, in this sentence “purple” is used as an adjective which describes the color of the raincoat, which is a noun.

Now, in the sentence “I normally wear my purple raincoat on weekends”, “purple” remains working as an adjective, while the word “normally” functions as an adverb that describes how often this person wears the purple raincoat, giving more meaning to the sentence.

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