All About Adverbs

Grammar For Beginners: All About Adverbs


Over the next few months, I will be writing a Grammar For Beginners series. I am starting with parts of speech and I will be writing about adverbs today.

What are parts of speech?

Language is made up of different words with different functions. These words are are known as parts of speech.

“In the English language, words can be considered as the smallest elements that have distinctive meanings. Based on their use and functions, words are categorised into several types or parts of speech.” (From Parts of Speech)  A part of speech is also sometimes known as a word class.

These categories are:

  1. Nouns
  2. Adjectives
  3. Verbs
  4. Conjunctions
  5. Articles
  6. Pronouns
  7. Adverbs
  8. Prepositions

Today I will discuss adverbs.

All About Adverbs

Adverbs are descriptive words used to qualify (mostly) verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.

Example:

The exhausted builder screamed loudly (how did he scream?) as his boss walked slowly (how did he walk?) off the site.

Adverbs of manner are most common and usually end in ‘–ly’. They tell you how something happened.  Other adverbs describe adjectives or other adverbs, or add information about place, time, degree and frequency.

Examples:

  1. I refuse to go there (place) without money.
  2. After all, I bought a washing machine yesterday (time).
  3. She looks extremely (degree) beautiful in it, which is seldom (frequency) the case with orange clothing.
  4. I always (frequency) prefer to have a laptop with me.

Nine Types Of Adverbs

Time When something happened
Place Where something happened
Manner How something happened
Degree Extent to which something occurs
Frequency How often something occurs
Probability The chance something will occur
Duration How long something lasts
Emphasis Accentuates an action
Interrogative Asks questions

 

Writing Tip: Great writing relies on verbs and nouns, not adverbs, for strength and colour. Too many adverbs create clumsy writing and detract from the impact of a good verb.

Suggested extra reading on adverbs:

  1. P.S. It’s Time To Remove Those Adverbial Dialogue Tags
  2. Why Adverbs Are The Tequila Of Writing Dialogue

Look out for next week’s post on conjunctions.

Learn how to write for business. Join us for The Plain Language Programme

by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Grammar For Beginners: All About Verbs
  2. Grammar For Beginners: All About Adjectives
  3. Grammar For Beginners: All About Nouns
  4. Abstract Nouns
  5. The Passive Voice Explained
  6. Three Nagging Grammar Questions Answered
  7. 30 Examples To Help You Master Concord