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Adverb (/ædvɜ:b/) is a word class. Adverbs are modifiers used for modification of verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, clauses and sentences.

Straightforward examples of adverbs include:

  • He is very clever.
  • She runs quickly.

Meaning[edit | edit source]

Adverbs modify, i.e. change the meaning of, various syntactic elements. In this regard, they are similar to adjectives. Broadly, adverbs tend to express the following circumstances:

Type of adverb Circumstance Examples
Degree adverb Degree '’very, '’somewhat, rather
Focusing adverb Focus particularly, too.
Frequency adverb Frequency often, daily
Linking adverb Linking first, then, however
Manner adverb Manner quickly, badly, how
Numeral adverb Number of occurrences once, twice.
Place adverb Place here, there, where
Probability adverb Probability probably, certainly, improbably
Time adverb Time recently, when

Separate from the above categories, adverbs can also be interrogatives; these are interrogative adverbs; how, when, where, why.

Form[edit | edit source]

Class membership[edit | edit source]

Adverb class membership is complicated by the fact that the adverb class is sometimes used as a wastebasket category, and mistakes made in traditional grammar.

Adverb formation[edit | edit source]

The adverb class is an open class. Adverb formation is generally achieved by addition of the suffix -ly to adjectives. However, there are several common adverbs (bare adverbs), that are not formed like this.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

Pedagogy[edit | edit source]

Rather than teaching them as a class, certain types of adverbs are taught.

  • The intensifier '’very is very common and taught at beginner level.
  • Indefinite frequency adverbs are taught at elementary level.
  • and so on.

References[edit | edit source]