An Adverb is a word which modifies the meaning of a Verb, an Adjective, a Preposition, a Conjunction or another Adverb:
This horse runs fast.
(fast—Adverb-qualifying verb runs)
He is very honest.
(very—Adverb-qualifying adjective honest)
He struck me exactly on the nose.
(exactly—Adverb-qualifying the preposition on)
I solved the question simply because it was easy.
(simply—Adverb-qualifying another adverb because)
Are you quite sure?
(quite—Adverb-qualifying the adjective sure)
Sometimes an Adverb modifies the entire sentence:
Unfortunately he lost his father.
Probably he is mistaken.
KINDS OF ADVERBS
Adverbs are of three kinds:
1. Simple Adverbs
2. Interrogative Adverbs
3. Relative Adverbs
(i) Simple Adverbs simply modify some words. They are of seven kinds?
(a) Adverbs of Time ; as
After, ago, before, early, then, today, tomorrow, recently, formerly, soon, shortly etc.
(b) Adverbs of Place ; as
Here, there, in, out, up, down, anywhere etc.
(c) Adverbs of Manner ; as
Well, ill, gladly, quickly, badly etc.
(d) Adverbs of Number ; as
Once, twice, thrice, often, always, again, never etc.
(e) Adverbs of Quantity or Degree ; as
Much, more, very, almost, quite, too, little, partly etc.
(f) Adverbs Affirmative or Negative ; as
Yes, no, not, nay etc.
(g) Adverbs of Reason; as
because, as, since.
(h) Adverbs of results; as
So, therefore, consequently.
(i) Adverbs of purpose; as
So that, in order that etc.
(j) Adverbs of concession or contrast; as
Though – yet, although – yet
(ii) Interrogative Adverbs are used for asking questions. They show time, place, number, quantity, manner and cause:
Why are you late?
Where does your father live?
How are you now?
When, where, why, how, how long, how far, whence etc., are Interrogative Adverbs.
(iii) A Relative Adverb joins two clauses. It refers back to some Antecedent; as
Please tell me why you are sad.
This is the house where I live.
FORMATION OF ADVERBS
4. Adverbs are formed:
(i) By adding ‘ly’:
(a) To Nouns: hourly, weekly, yearly.
(b) To Adjectives: kindly, slowly, wisely
(c) To Participles: lovingly, hurriedly
(ii) By adding Prepositions:
(a) To Nouns: afoot (a = on), abed, ashore, today, beside. (be = by)
(b) To Adjectives: aloud, anew, behind, below.
(c) To Adverbs: hereby, herein, henceforth.
(iii) By combining a Noun and an Adjective:
East-ward, side-ways, mid-day, some-times.
COMPARISON OF ADVERBS
Some Adverbs are compared like Adjectives:
Badly, ill, evil
POSITION OF ADVERBS
To avoid an uncertainty of meaning of the adverb is placed:
(i) As near the word it modifies as possible; as
Only I saw his pen
(no one else)
I only saw his pen.
(did not touch it)
I saw only his pen.
(and nobody else’s)
I saw his only pen.
(the only one he had)
But this rule applies only in case of ‘only’.
I saw his pen.
(and not pencil, book etc.)
(ii) Before an Adjective or another Adverb:
Lata sings very sweet.
My horse runs very fast.
He merely wanted to see you.
She is clever enough to understand this.
(iii) After an Intransitive Verb:
She acted foolishly.
I did not go there.
He seldom writes to his parents.
I often think of you.
(iv) Between the Helping Verb and the Principal Verb:
I will never play you false.
All is well and wisely put.
(v) After the object of the Transitive Verb; as
He performed his duties diligently.
I can solve this question easily.
(vi) AT the beginning of a sentence:
(a) To introduce an Exclamatory Sentence:
What a starry night! How charming the sight!
(b) To modify a whole sentence:
Surely she will get through.
(c) For the sake of emphasis:
(d) Off you go. Here comes the post-man.
Some Adverbs are called the Adverbs of frequency. Such Adverbs tell us the number of times, some action takes place:
Always, often, never, ever, rarely, seldom, hardly.
These Adverbs are always placed before the finite (main) verb:
He never helped me.
He always speaks the truth.
1. These Adverbs of frequency are placed after be, is, am, are, was, were. He is always late.
He was never absent from the class.
2. These Adverbs will be placed between the Helping Verb and the Finite Verb in case there is only one Helping Verb and one Finite Verb.
He has never helped me.
He will never tell a lie.
He has seldom gone to a movie.
Study the following pairs of sentences carefully and mark the distinction between the Adverbs.
1. He works hard. (diligently)
He hardly works at all. (scarcely)
2. The examination is drawing near. (not far)
They are nearly related. (closely)
3. The train is running late. (opposite of early)
The time-table has lately changed. (recently)
4. She is pretty sure of her success. (fairly)
You are pretty sure of her success. (elegantly, neatly)
5. He did not die happily. (peacefully)
Happily he did not die. (fortunately)
6. This road leads direct to the city. (straight)
She went home directly. (at once)
7. It felt warm in the nest. (opposite of cold)
He received us warmly. (cordially)
Use of some Adverbs:
(i) Very is used:
(a) Before Adjectives and Adverbs in the Positive Degree:
This book is very useful.
He works very hard.
(b) Before Nouns as an Adjective, where it qualifies the Noun:
This is the very book I want. (very = exactly the same)
He met me the very day he came here.
(c) Before Present and sometimes Past Participles:
It is a very charming sight.
He told me a very interesting story.
She was very delighted to hear the news of her success.
(d) To modify the Adverb much:
His writing was very much better than yours.
(e) Before an Adjective in the Superlative Degree:
He did his very best for me.
(ii) Much is used:
(a) Before the Comparative Degree of Adjectives and Adverbs:
The patient is much better now.
I am much more interested in you.
(b) Before the Superlative Degree of the Adjective:
You are much the tallest boy in the class.
(c) To modify the Adverb too:
He eats too much.
The question is much too easy for me.
(d) Before Past Participles:
She was much astonished to see my tricks.
(e) As an Adjective:
It gives me much pleasure to help you.
(iii) (a) “Too” means more than enough. It should be used in place of very and much:
You are too shy. My watch is five minutes too fast.
It is wrong to say, “It is too hot”. “I am too weak.” Always say.
“It is very hot”, “I am very weak”.
(b) Whenever ‘too’ is used in the negative sense, it conveys the same meaning as so that ….. not. It is followed by ….. ‘to’ or ‘for’:
He is too honest to accept bride.
We are too late for the train.
I shall be only too glad to help you.
(c) Too means ‘also’ as well:
He too was asked to apply for the post.
(d) Too much is used before a Noun:
Too much indulgence spoils the children.
(e) Much too is used before an Adjective:
You are much too young to travel alone.
(iv) Enough shows that the proper limit has been touched. Enough is used immediately after the Adverb, it (enough) modifies:
Will you be kind enough to help me?
He is clever enough to see through this trick.
As an adjective ‘enough’ is placed before the Noun it qualifies:
They have enough food for a week.
(v) Quite means as fairly, to some extent, not very:
Are you quite sure? The dog is quite dead.
It is quite a big map. (means fairly).
(vi) Perhaps expresses doubt and probably shows likelihood:
Perhaps it is as you say.
Probably you are mistaken.
(vii) But as an Adverb means ‘only’:
You are but a fool.