1. What is an adverb?

Adverbs are words that describe a verb.

They are different from adjectives, which describe a noun.

2. How to make an adverb

Most adverbs are made by adding ‘ly’ to an adjective.

AdjectiveAdverbExample sentence
quickquicklyI swim quickly.
slowslowlyHe runs slowly.
intelligentintelligentlyShe speaks intelligently.
stupidstupidlyThey act stupidly.
roughroughlyWe are playing roughly.
smoothsmoothlyJules draws smoothly.
strongstronglyOwen is pushing strongly.
weakweaklyDanielle is fighting weakly.
badbadlyAll the students scored badly.

However, a small amount of adverbs are different.

AdjectiveAdverbExample sentence
goodwellHe plays the piano well.
fastfastYou eat fast.
hardhardWe played hard.

Adverbs of frequency (how often a verb is done) are also unusual.

Adverb of frequencyExample sentence
alwaysHe always does his homework on time.
oftenKelly and Lou often meet in the lunch room.
usuallyI usually read before bed.
sometimesCats sometimes eat grass.
rarelyThis team rarely loses games.
neverThe company never makes any money.

3. Examples of adverbs in sentences

It began to rain, so we quickly ran to the bus stop.She plays chess very well. I, on the other hand, play awfully.
He is a fool. Anything you ask him to do, he will always do it terribly.He recklessly drove his car into the river.
We often listen to them sing.Darius plays the trumpet well.
Francis spoke so softly we could not hear her.The river rose quickly and badly flooded the house.

4. Where to put adverbs

Adverbs of manner

If an adverb describes how something happens (‘adverbs of manner’), it can go before or after the verb or verb phrase.
Use the adverb before the verb if you want to stress the adverb.

Adverbs of manner can also go at the start of a clause. This, however, is unusual and strongly stresses the adverb. It is most common in storytelling.

Adverbs of opinion and fact

When using an adverb to describe an opinion or personal thought on a subject, or to state a simple fact, the adverb goes after the verb or verb phrase.

Irregular adverbs

Unusual (‘irregular’) adverbs go after the verb.

Adverbs of frequency

Adverbs of frequency go before the verb.

However, adverbs of frequency can go at the start of the clause to strongly stress them or make unusual sentence patterns.


1. What do you do well? What do you do badly?
2. Add adverbs to these sentences:
(i) I was in a hurry, so I grabbed my coat and ran to the station.
(ii) The bird flew through the air. It was a beautiful thing to watch.
(iii) He was thirsty, so he gulped down his drink.