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Adverb Definition, Meaning, Examples & Usage

In many teaching exams, the English section will have questions based on reading comprehension, sentence formation, synonyms & antonyms, grammatical errors and so on. We all use adverbs. We use them to describe what we do, when we do it and how we do it. It is very important to have an understanding of adverb usage in the English Language which will be helpful for upcoming exams.

Adverbs Definition

An adverb is a word that tells us more about a verb. It “qualifies” or “modifies” a verb. This is the Definition of Adverbs. We have given full details and Usages & Examples about Adverb. Read the following sentences:
– Alice smiled sweetly.
– Those mangoes were very sweet.
– He spoke quite loudly.

In sentence 1, the adverb quickly shows how (or in what manner) Alice smiled. It modifies the verb smiled.
In sentence 2, the adverb very says something about the sweetness of the mangoes. It modifies the adjective sweet.
Sentence 3, quite says something about the manner in which he spoke. It modifies the adverb loudly.

Note that the adverbs that are standing at the beginning of sentences sometimes modify the whole sentence, rather than a particular word.
Unfortunately, no one was present there. It was unfortunate that no one was present there.)
Probably I am mistaken. (It is probable that I am mistaken.)

Kinds of Adverbs

There are very many kinds of adverbs:
1. they are the adverbs that tell us when an action takes place. Examples are today, yesterday, before, daily, already, ago, never etc.

1. Adverb of Time

Rule: Time adverbs cannot be used in the present perfect, instead the past indefinite is used for them.
– I saw a 3D movie last night.
– I met him yesterday.
– His father died two years ago.
– I have seen him before.

2. Adverbs of Frequency

They are the adverbs that tell us how often an action takes place. examples are often, always, once, never, again, seldom, frequently etc.
– The Delhi Police is always with you.
– They always come in time.
– We seldom go out on Sundays.
– I have seen him only once.

3. Adverbs of Place

They are the adverbs that tell us where an action takes place. Examples are: here, there, up, down, everywhere, out, in etc.
– He left his bag there.
– They looked everywhere.
– Please sit here.
– The car was parked there.

4. Adverbs of manner

They are the adverbs that tell us how an action takes place or in what manner. Examples are: quickly, carefully, sweetly, clearly, bravely, beautifully, well, fast etc.
– Gautam Buddha left his family stealthily.
– They helped us cheerfully.
– he speaks slowly.

5. Adverb of Degree and quality 

They are the adverbs that tell us how much or to what degree or to what extent.
Examples – very, quite, rather, enough, any, partly, almost, utterly, as, entirely etc.
– Shamita is very beautiful
– The whistle did not please him anymore.
– I have pleaded enough and now I give up.
– He’s quite a good soccer player.

6. Adverbs of Reason

They are the adverbs that tell us why an action takes place.
Examples – consequently, therefore, hence.
– It consequently has four vertices and six edges.
– He was therefore forced to relinquish his plan.
– Her triumphal progress through the skies. Hence he was called.

7. Adverbs of affirmation or negation

They are the adverbs that tell us whether an action is done or not.
Examples – surely, certainly, not, probably etc.
Surely he should have known she would get suspicious.
– He is a fool indeed.
– He is a fool indeed.
– I was not playing.

8. Interrogative adverbs

 Adverbs that are used for asking questions are called interrogative adverbs.
Examples are: when, where, how, why etc.
– When will you go to New York?
– How long will you stay here?
– Where are my keys?

9. Relative adverbs

A relative pronoun is a type of pronoun that often introduces dependent (or relative) clauses in sentences. They also can stand alone as the subject or object of a sentence.
Examples – who, whoever, whom, whomever, that, which, when, where, and whose.
– Where are you going?
– That was my book.
– yes. To whom am I speaking?

“An adverb is a word which modifies the meaning of the verb, an adjective or another adverb.”

Rule – 1 Adverbs of manner are mostly formed from adjectives by adding (ly)
Ex. – (Clever – Cleverly),
(Wise – Wisely).
(Kind – Kindly),
(Foolish – Foolishly)

Rule – 2 When the adjective ends in (y) preceded by a consonant, change (y) into (i) and add (ly)
Ex. – Happy – Happily
Ready – Readily
Heavy – Heavily

Rule – 3 Adverb of manner are generally placed after the verb or after the object if there is one.
Ex. – It is raining heavily.
He is walking slowly.
Ram speaks English well.
He does his work carefully

Rule – 4 Adverbs of frequency are normally placed before the main verb and after the auxiliary is, am, are, was, were, had, have, will, shall etc.)

Adverb of frequency (always, never, often, rarely, usually, generally, sometimes, almost, already, hardly, nearly, just, quite, occasionally)
Ex. – He always comes late.
He is always late.
He often visits the U.S.
His brother never takes alcohol
He is never punctual.

Rule – 5 The auxiliaries ‘have to’ and ‘used to prefer the adverb before them.
Ex. – I often have to go to college on a walk.
He never used to agree with me.

Rule – 6 Adverb ‘ENOUGH’ is always placed after the word which it qualifies
Ex. – Is the hall big enough?
He spoke loud enough to be heard.
She is wise enough to understand your intention.
He had enough money to buy this car. (Correct)
He is faster enough to defeat you. (use fast)
He is bravest enough to be selected for the post of a soldier (use brave)

Rule – 7 ‘Seldom or Never’ and ‘Seldom if ever’ are both correct but ‘Seldom or ever’ is incorrect.
Ex. – We seldom or ever visit Delhi. (Incorrect)
We Seldom or never visit Delhi. (Correct)

Rule – 8 ‘Else’ should be followed by ‘but’
Ex. – It is nothing else than pride. (Incorrect)
It is nothing else but pride. (Correct)
Rohit has no one else to talk to except his wife. (Incorrect)
Rohit has no one else to talk to but his wife. (Correct)

Rule – 9 The use of ‘NEVER’ for ‘NOT’ is Incorrect
Ex. – I never broke your windowpanes. (Incorrect)
I did not break your windowpanes. (Correct)

Rule – 10 Adverbs (Seldom, nowhere, never, nothing, hardly, scarcely, neither, barely, rarely) are not used with other negative words.
Ex. – I rarely went to meet nobody. (Incorrect)
[Use ‘anybody’ in place of ‘Nobody’]
I rarely went to meet anybody. (Correct)
She hardly knows anything about me. (Incorrect)
She hardly knows anything about me. (Correct)

Rule – 11 Adverb ‘AS’ is used with the following verbs
(Regard, Describe, define, treat, view, know]
Ex. – I regard him as my brother.
Biology had been defined as the study of organism.
Adverb ‘AS’ is not used with the following verbs
[Name, elect, think, consider, call, appoint, make, choose]

Rule – 12 ‘SO’ as an adverb of degree must not be used without a correlative.
Ex. – He is so weak. (incorrect)
He is very weak (Correct)
It was so lovely (Incorrect)
It was very lovely. (Correct)
He is so weak that he cannot walk. (Correct)

Rule – 13 The adverb ‘too’ means ‘more than enough’ and should not be used instead of ‘every’ or ‘much’
The news is too good to be true.
He is too weak to walk.

Rule – 14 ‘Rather’ is used as a comparative adverb for the sake of emphasis.
Ex. – We should think of living rather or dying.
[This sentence is correct because there is a comparison between living and dying)
You are rather very clever. (Incorrect)
You are very clever. (Correct)

Rule – 15 In order to make our meaning clear, an adverb must be placed as near as possible to the word it modifies
Ex. – She has only three dollars with her.
(Adv.) (Adj.)
We only have four hours to finish this paper. (Wrong)
We have only four hour to finish this paper (Right)
That building nearly costs sixty thousand rupees. (Wrong)
That building costs nearly sixty thousand rupees.(Right)
She just wants to take one class. (Wrong)
[Not anything else]
She wants to take just one class.(Right)
[Not even second]

Rule – 16 When an adverb modifies an intransitive verb, it usually follows it.
Ex. – She sang melodiously.
She writes neatly
The birds fly swiftly

Rule – 17 When a verb consists of an auxiliary and the main verb, the adverb which qualifies is placed between the auxiliary and the main verb.
Ex. – I have told him often not to come late. (Wrong)
I have often told him not to come late. (Right)

Rule – 18 When an adverb modifies an adjective or another adverb, the adverb usually comes before it.
Ex. – The cuckoo sings quits sweetly.
Do not speak so fast.

Rule – 19 Use of hard, hard, scarce, scarcely
Hard – as an adverb means ‘Diligently’. It usually follows the verb.
Ex. – He works hard to make both ends meet.
Our team played hard in Pakistan.
I tried hard to succeed.
Hardly – When used as an adverb means scarcely, barely. It conveys a negative meaning.
Hardly (Scarcely) had he reached the station when the train left.
[Hardly and scarcely are followed by when]
[No sooner is followed by than]
Scarce – as an adjective means ‘not plentiful, hard to find, not often found

Ex. – Coal has become scarce in England.
Scarcely – as an adverb is almost synonymous with ‘Hardly’
I can scarcely hear you.
They have scarcely enough to look after their children

Rule – 20 Use of MUCH, VERY
‘Much’ qualifies adjectives or adverbs in the comparative degree; ‘very’ in the positive.
Ex. – The air is much hotter today than yesterday.
This book is much heavier than that.
This book is very useful
He spoke very loudly.

Question For You

Q1. He ____ goes to the office at the weekends as his office remains shut.
(a) always
(b) never
(c) often
(d) sometimes

S1.Ans. (b)
Sol. Never is an adverb used to deny the occurrence of an action.

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