English Grammar Parts of Speech – Adverb | Exercises | Notes
Adverb is a word which modifies the meaning of
(a) a verb
(b) an adjective
(c) another adverb
(d) a preposition
Consider the following sentences :
1. Rahul runs quickly.
2. This is a very sweet mango.
3. Himanshu reads quite clearly.
In sentence 1, quickly shows how Rahul runs’, i.e. quickly modifies the verb runs.
In sentence 2, very shows how much the mango is sweet; i.e. very modifies the adjective sweet.
In sentence 3, quite shows how far Himanshu reads clearly, i.e. quite modifies the adverb clearly. Therefore the words quickly, very, and quite are adverb.
Types of Adverb
Adverbs may be divided into the following classes, according to their meaning :
(i) Adverbs of time : which show when. e.g. I have heard this before.
He comes here daily.
(ii) Adverbs of frequency : which show how often.
e.g. I have told you twice.
The postman called again.
(iii) Adverbs of place: which show where.
(iv) Adverbs of Manner : which shows how or in what manner.
e.g. Rahul reads clearly.
The boy works hard.
Note : This class includes nearly all those adverbs which are derived from adjectives ending in ‘ly’.
(v) Adverbs of degree or quality: which show how much, or in what degree or to what extent.
e.g. He was too careless.
I am fully prepared.
(vi) Adverbs of Affirmation and Negation:
e.g. He certainly went.
Surely you are mistaken.
(vii) Adverbs of Reason:
e.g. He is hence unable to refute the charge.
He therefore left school.
When adverbs are used in asking questions, they are called interrogative adverbs,
e.g. Where is Ritesh? [Adverb of place]
When did you come? [Adverb of time]
Why are you late? [Adverb of reason]
How did you contrive it?[Adverb of manner]
How many boys are in your class?[Adverb of Number]
How high is Rajabai tower? [Adverb of Degree]
These are same in form as interrogative adverbs but instead of asking questions they join two sentences together. These adverbs are called relative for two reasons :
(i) Because they relate to some antecedent, expressed or understood.
(ii) Because they are formed from relative pronouns.
e.g. Show me the house where he was assaulted.
Here the adverb where modifies the verb was assaulted.
Again the adverb where, like a relative pronoun, here relates or refers back to its antecedent house.
Forms of Adverbs
1. Some adverbs are the same in form as the corresponding adjectives, i.e. some words are used sometimes as adjectives, sometimes as adverbs.
e.g.He spoke in a loud voice. Dont’t talk so loud. Rahul is our fast bowler. Rahul can bowl fast.
2. Some adverbs have two forms :
(i) the form ending in ly
(ii) the form which is the same as the Adjective.
e.g. He sings very loud.
He sings very loudly.
Sometimes, however, two forms of the adverb
have different meaning.
e.g. Rahul works hard. (= diligently)
I could hardly recognize him.
3. Some adverbs are used as nouns after preposition.
e.g. He comes from there. – I have heard that before now.
4. Certain adverbs sometimes seem to be used as adjectives, when some participle or adjective is understood.
e.g. The then king = the king then reigning.
A down-train = a down going train.
5. In the following sentences the is not the definite article, but an old demonstrative pronoun used as an adverb.
e.g. The fewer the better = by how much the fewer by so much the better.
The sooner the better = by how much the sooner by so much the better.
The is used as an adverb only with an adjective or another adverb in the comparative degree.
6. Nouns expressing adverbial relations of time, place, distance, weight, measurement, value, degree, or the like, are often used as adverbs.
e.g. He went home.
The wound was skin deep.
It measures five feet.
A noun so used is called an Adverbial accusative.
7. Sometimes verbs are used as adverbs.
e.g. Smack went the whip.
Comparison of Adverbs
1. Some adverbs, like adjectives, have three degree of comparision. Such adverbs are generally compared like Adjectives.
2. If the adverb is of one syllable, we form the comparative by ending ‘er’, and the superlative by adding ‘est’ to the positive.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Fast Faster Fastest
Hard Harder Hardest
Long Longer Longest
Soon Sooner Soonest
e.g. Rahul ran fast. (Positive)
Himanshu ran faster. (Comparative)
Aditya ran fastest of all. (Superlative)
3. Adverbs ending in ‘ly’ form the comparative by adding more and the superlative by adding most.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Swiftly More swiftly Most swiftly
Skilfully More skilfully Most skilfully
e.g. Himanshu played skilfully. (Positive)
Lalanplayed more skilfully. (Comparative)
Of all the eleven Rahul played most skilfully.(Superlative)
4. Only adverbs of Manner, Degree and Time admit comparison.
Many adverbs form their nature cannot be compared.
e.g. Now, Then, Where, There, Once.
5. Some of the commonest adverbs form their comparative and superlative degrees irregularly.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Much more most
Little less least
Near nearer next
Well better best
e.g. Lalan writes well.
Himanshu writes better than Lalan.
Formation of Adverbs
1. Adverbs of Manner are mostly formed from adjectives by adding ly.
When the adjective ends in y preceded by a consonant, change y into i and add ly.
When the adjective ends in le, simply change e into y.
2. Some adverbs are made up of a noun and a qualifying adjective.
Sometimes, meantime, meanwhile, yesterday, otherwise.
3. Some adverbs are compounds of on and a noun.
e.g. Afoot (= on foot), abed, asleep, ahead.
Similarly there are other adverbs which are also compound of some preposition and a noun. e.g. betimes, besides, to-day, to-morrow, overboard.
4. Some adverbs are compunds of a preposition and an adjective.
e.g. abroad, along, aloud, anew, behind.
5. Some adverbs are compound of a preposition and an adverb.
e.g. within, without, before, beneath.
6. Two adverbs sometimes go together, joined by the conjunction and.
again and again by and by
far and away once and again
out and away
e.g. I warned him again and again.
His fame has spread far and near.
This is far and away the best course.
Position of Adverbs
1. Adverbs of manner, which answer the question How ? are generally placed after the verb or after the object if there is one.
e.g. It is raining heavily.
He speaks English well.
2. Adverbs or adverb phrases of place and of time are also usually placed after the verb or after the object if there is one.
e.g. He will come here.
I looked everywhere.
3. When there are two or more adverbs after a verb, the normal order is : adverb of manner, adverb of place, adverb of time. jj
e.g. She sang well in the concert.
We should go there tomorrow evening.
4. Adverbs of frequency, which answer the question How often and certain other adverbs like almost, already, hardly, nearly, just, quite are normally put between the subject and the verb if the verb consists of only one word; if there is more than one word in the verb, they are put after the first word.
e.g. His wife never cooks.
He has never seen a tiger.
5. If the verb is am/are/is/was, these adverbs are placed after the verb.
e.g. I am never late for college.
We are just off.
6. The auxiliaries have to and used to prefer the adverb in front of them.
e.g. I often have to go to college on foot.
He always used to agree with me.
7. When an adverb modifies an adjective or another adverb usually comes before it.
e.g. Lalan is a rather lazy boy.
Do not speak so fast.
8. The adverb enough is always placed after the word which it modifies.
e.g. Is the box big enough ?
He spoke loud enough to heard.
9. As a general rule, the word only should be placed immediately before the word it modifies.
e.g. I worked only two sums.
He has slept only three hours.
Omission of the Article
1. Before a common noun used in its widest sense.
e.g. Man is mortal.
What kind of flower is it?
2. Before names of materials.
e.g. Gold is a precious material.
Cotton grows in India.
3. Usually before proper nouns.
e.g. Delhi is the capital of India.
Mumbai is a big city.
4. Before Abstract nouns used in a general sense.
e.g. Wisdom is the gift of heaven.
Honesty is the best policy.
Note : An abstract noun, when it is qualified by an adjective or an adjectival phrase or clause, may have the article.
e.g. The wisdom of Solomon is famous.
I cannot forget the kindness with which he treated me.
5. Before languages.
e.g. We are studying English.
He prefers Hindi.
6. Before school, college, church, bed, table, hospital, market, prison. When these places are visited or used for their primary purpose.
eg: I learnt English at school.
His uncle is still in hospital.
Note : The is used with these words when we refer to them as a definite place, building or object rather than to the normal activity that goes on there.
e.g. The school is very near to my home.
I met him at the church.
The bed is broken.
7. Before names of relations, like father, mother, aunt, uncle and also cook and nurse, meaning ‘our cook’, ‘our nurse’
e.g. Father has returned
Aunt wants you to see her.
Cook has given notice.
8. Before predicative nouns denoting a unique position, i.e. a position that is normally held at one time by one person only.
e.g. He was elected chairman of the board.
9.In certain phrases consisting of a preposition followed by its object.
at home, in hand, in debt, by day, by night, on demand, at interest, on earth, by land, by water, by virtue, by river, by name, on foot, on deck, in jest, at dinner, at ease, under ground, above ground, at sun rise.
Repetition of the Article
(i) When two or more abjective qualify the same noun, the article is used before the first adjective only; but when they qualify different norms, expressed or understood, the article is used before each adjective.
e.g. I have a black and white dog.
I mean a dog that is partly black and partly white.
But if we say,
I have a black and a white dog.
I means two dogs, one black and the other white.
1. The Secretary and Treasurer is absent.
2. The Secretary and the Treasurer is absent.
The first sentence clearly indicates that the posts of secretary and treasurer are held by one person.
The repetition of the article if the second sentence indicates that the two posts are held by two different persons.
Hence when two or more connected nouns refer to the same person or thing, the article is ordinarily used before the first only, but when two or more connected nouns refer to different persons or thing, the article is used before each.