Adverb definition – What is an adverb?

Let’s start by explaining what the meaning of an adverb is… Am I right in thinking that you were taught that an adverb modifies a verb and ends in ‘ly’? Although this is correct, adverbs go much deeper than that.

Firstly, they are one of the ‘parts of speech’. Their function is to provide information about how, how often, when, or where something happens. Adverbs can modify adjectives, other adverbs, determiners, clauses, prepositions, verbs or sentences.

FUN FACT: There are over 250 adverbs in English. Some words however are not always used as an adverb (depending on the sentence construction). They can be adjectives, conjunctions, interjections, nouns, prepositions, or pronouns.

adverb examples

Right, let’s start learning adverbs. I’ll kick off with some easy examples:

  • He runs quickly – the adverb ‘quickly’ modifies the verb ‘run’.
  • He runs very quickly – the adverb ‘very’ modifies the adverb ‘quickly’
  • He is an extremely quick runner – the adverb ‘extremely’ modifies the adjective ‘quick’.
what is an adverb - adverb meaning and definition
adverb definition

adverbs that modify verbs

You’ve seen some examples of adverbs in use, let’s delve deeper… When an adverb modifies a verb, it usually tells us how, when, where, in what manner, or to what extent the action is performed. Let’s take a look.

verb and adverb
adverbs modifying verbs

Let’s look at some more examples.

verb and adverb
adverbs modifying verbs examples
adverbs modifying verbs examples
verb and adverb
adverbs modifying verbs examples

adverbs that modify adjectives

Adverbs can also modify adjectives. The purpose is to add a degree of intensity to the adjective. Let’s take a look at some examples.

adjectives and adverbs
adverbs modifying adjectives examples
adverbs modifying adjectives examples

adverbs that modify other adverbs

They can also modify other adverbs as seen in the pictures below.

adverbs modifying adverbs examples
adverbs modifying adverbs examples
adverbs modifying adverbs examples
adverbs modifying adverbs examples

different types of adverbs

Now you know what an adverb does and how to spot one. Let’s look a little deeper into the different types of adverbs including:

  • adverbs of frequency
  • adverbs of time
  • adverbs of manner
  • adverbs of place

 

Click on the links below to learn about the different types of adverbs with picture examples.