Adverbs are used to modify verbs. They tell us when, where, how, in what manner, or to what extent an action is performed. Some examples:
AdverbsAn adverb can be added to a verb to modify its meaning. Usually, an adverb tells you when, where, how, in what manner or to what extent an action is performed. Very many adverbs end in '...ly' - particularly those that are used to express how an action is performed. Although many adverbs end 'ly', lots do not, e.g., fast, never, well, very, most, least, more, less, now, far and there.
Anita placed the vase carefully on the shelf.
(The word carefully is an adverb. It shows how the vase was placed.)
Tara walks gracefully.
(The word gracefully is an adverb. It modifies the verb to walk.)
He runs fast.
(The word fast is an adverb. It modifies the verb to run.)
You can set your watch by him. He always leaves at 5 o'clock.
(The word always is an adverb. It modifies the verb to leave.)
The dinner guests arrived early.
('early' - adverb; modifies to arrive)
She sometimes helps us.
('sometimes' - adverb; modifies to help)
I am the only person in the world I should like to know thoroughly. (Oscar Wilde)
('thoroughly' - adverb; modifies to know)
Click on the adverbs:
Types of Adverbs
Although there are thousands of adverbs, each adverb can usually be categorised in one of the following groupings:
Adverbs of TimePress the button now.
('now' - adverb of time)
I have never been.
('never' - adverb of time)
I tell him daily.
('daily' - adverb of time)
Adverbs of PlaceDaisies grow everywhere.
('everywhere' - adverb of place)
I did not put it there.
('there' - adverb of place)
Adverbs of MannerHe passed the re-sit easily.
('easily' - adverb of manner)
The lion crawled stealthily.
('stealthily' - adverb of manner)
Adverbs of DegreeThat is the farthest I have ever jumped.
('farthest' - adverb of degree)
He boxed more cleverly.
('more cleverly' - adverb of degree and manner.)
(This is covered more in the lesson Comparatives.)
Adverbs Can Modify Adjectives and Other AdverbsAlthough the term adverb implies that they are only used with verbs, adverbs can also modify adjectives and other adverbs:
The heavenly blue light shone on the water.
(The adverb heavenly modifies the adjective blue.)
Peter had an extremely ashen face.
(The adverb extremely modifies the adjective ashen.)
Badly trained dogs that fail the test will become pets.
(The adverb badly modifies the adjective trained.)
('Trained' is an adjective formed from the verb to train - see Participles.)
She wore a beautifully designed dress.
(The adverb beautifully modifies the adjective designed.)
Peter Jackson finished his assignment remarkably quickly.
(The adverb quickly modifies the verb to finish. The adverb remarkably
modifies the adverb quickly.)
Below are some common errors related to nouns:
When an adverb modifies an adjective, there is no need to join the two with a hyphen.
Thomas was a highly respected member of the team.
(There is no need to join the adverb highly to the adjective respected with a hyphen.)
She passed him the most crimson apple in the basket.
(There is no need to join the adverb most to the adjective crimson with a
hyphen. Incidentally, most is an adverb of degree.)
Dawn was an exceptionally-talented teenager.
(There is no need to join the adverb exceptionally to the adjective talented with a hyphen.)
should be "neatly arranged"
WELL AND FAST
With words like well and fast (which are both adjectives and adverbs), a hyphen can be used to avoid ambiguity.
We will be visited by a well-known actress.
(In this example, a hyphen is added to differentiate between well-known (i.e., a widely known actress) and well and known (i.e., healthy and recognised
actress). As unlikely as the latter may be, it is grammatically feasible. The
hyphen eliminates all ambiguity.)
He tried to sell me 200 fast-growing chickens.
(A hyphen is added to differentiate between fast-growing (i.e., chickens which grow quickly) and fast and growing (i.e., chickens which are good runners and still growing). As unlikely as the latter may be, the hyphen eliminates all ambiguity.)
See the lesson Hyphens in Compound Adjectives"
USE A HYPHEN WITH WELL
This simple rule will cover most situations:
When preceding an adjective with an adverb, only use a hyphen if the adverb is the word well.
(< hyphen with