Adverbs of manner
02 Jul 2021
We can use adverbs in many ways, from describing how often we do something to where we do it. What about adverbs of manner? What are they for and how do we use them? Read on to find out more!
What is an adverb?
An adverb is a word that describes how, where, or with what frequency we do an action (or ‘verb’). For example,
- She works here. (adverb of place)
- She often translates emails for her colleagues. (adverb of frequency)
- She types very quickly. (adverb of manner)
Adverbs of manner
An adverb of manner describes how you do an action. For example,
- They dress elegantly.
- Some elderly people drive slowly.
- She works very hard.
Adverbs of manner are really useful because they let us add a lot of extra details to descriptions, to make what we say more interesting and dynamic to the listener or reader.
How to create an adverb of manner
To make adverbs of manner, we usually add -ly to the adjective. For example,
- quick – quickly
- careful – carefully
- gentle – gently
When an adjective ends in -y we change the -y to -i then add -ly. For example,
- happy – happily
- greedy – greedily
- easy – easily
However, there are also some irregular adverbs:
- good – well
- hard – hard
- fast – fast
- late – late
- straight – straight
- high – high
Here are some examples:
- You speak English fluently.
- I slept badly last night.
- The children did really well in their test.
- He worked hard and got a promotion.
- The nurse picked up the baby gently.
- Try to do it carefully so we don’t have to redo it.
- A car suddenly came round the corner and nearly hit us!
- Julie tearfully said goodbye to her boyfriend.
- Go straight down this road then turn left.
- I hate getting up late.
- My brother drives very fast and aggressively.
- Kids, try to do your homework quietly, please.
- She dresses very elegantly, doesn’t she?
- Shall I close the lid tightly?
- It rained heavily all through the night.
Where does an adverb of manner go in a sentence?
In most cases, adverbs of manner come after a verb. For example,
- We dress casually on Fridays.
- Athletes run very fast.
- The students are listening attentively.
Sometimes however, the adverb is put before the verb to add emphasis to the meaning. For example,
- She hurriedly opened the present.
- They sadly left before we arrived.
- I quickly ran to the shops.
If there are two verbs in the sentence, the position of the adverb can change the meaning. For example,
- They accepted the offer immediately and moved out.
- They accepted the offer and moved out immediately.
In the first sentence ‘immediately’ relates only to the first verb, while in the second sentence ‘immediately’ refers to both actions.
As you can see from this example, you can’t separate a verb and its object. For example,
- They accepted the offer immediately.
- They accepted immediately the offer.
Adjective or adverb?
We use an adjective to describe a noun, and an adverb to describe a verb. So the only we usually use with an adjective is the verb ‘to be’. For example,
- He’s a fast runner.
- She’s a careful driver.
And if we change these two sentences to use a verb instead of a noun, they become:
- He runs fast.
- She drives carefully.
The only other verbs that can be used with adjectives instead of adverbs are look, sound, smell, and seem. We use these verbs to describe what we see, smell, or hear. For example,
- You look tired. – From what I can see you’re tired.
- It sounds interesting. – From what I hear you’re tired.
- It smells delicious. – From the smell I can understand it’s very good.
- They seem bored. – From their appearance I think they’re bored.
Adverbs of manner help us give a lot of detail to actions and can make us much more expressive. Start paying attention to when you hear people use them, and try adding them to your own language.
In the meantime, are you ready to practice? Try the fun quiz on this post.
Articles are small but important words that precede nouns, and by using them correctly you will distinguish yourself as a good English speaker. Read more about definite and indefinite articles including when to use them or not.