English Grammar
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How to Write Clear, Readable, Effective Sentences that Readers Love!
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How to Write Clear, Readable, Effective Sentences that Readers Love!

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What are Adverbs?

What are Adverbs?An adverb is a word used to modify the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

EX.— The wheels creaked loudly.
EX.—The night was extremely cloudy.
EX.—You sung most heartily.

In the first sentence the adverb loudly modifies the verb creaked. In the second, the adverb extremely modifies the adjective cloudy. In the third, the adverb most modifies the adverb heartily.

Adverbs that Indicate

An adverb may indicate the time, the place, the degree, or the manner in which the verb performs its action; or it may indicate the degree of the quality expressed by the adjective or by another adverb.

EX.— Janice is coming home tomorrow. (An Adverb indicating time.)

EX.— Brian, please come here. (An adverb indicating place.)

EX.— Steve walked slowly home. (An adverb indicating manner.)

EX.— He has nearly finished his speech. (An adverb indicating degree.)

EX.— The walls are dark green. (An adverb indicating degree of adjective.)

EX.— The walls are very dark green. (An adverb indicating degree of adverb.)

Adverbs of time Adverbs of cause Adverbs of number Adverbs of place Adverbs of manner Adverbs of degree Misc. adverbs
always, before, never, now, then, lately, yet, etc. why, wherefore, whence, etc. first, secondly, etc. here, there, hence, everywhere, yonder, etc. well, ill, better, worse, rapidly, sideways, etc. so, little, enough, partly, wholly, almost, etc. indeed, nevertheless, however, etc.

Interrogative Adverbs

When you use the words Why, how, when, where, etc. to ask a question, we refer to the adverb as an interrogative adverb.

EX.—Why did you go to her house?
EX.—How did you enjoy the movie?
EX.—Where are you going to find your wedding dress?
EX.—When do you start college?

Modal Adverbs

The words perhaps, however, possibly, surely, probably are adverbs. When one of these words modifies the whole sentence (rather than the verb or an adjective), we refer to them as modal adverbs.

EX.— Perhaps, I should go to camp this summer.
EX.— The boy scouts could not make the trip, however, we will still have our picnick.
EX.— Possibly, you can tell me where I can find my wife.
EX.— Surely, you will not go shopping early in the morning without calling me.
EX.— The boys will, probably, wait to hear if they will play baseball this summer.

Correct Use of Negatives

Modern English forbids the use of the double negative:

Incorrect: He could not find it nowhere.
Correct: He could not find it anywhere.

The adverbs only, hardly, scarcely, are themselves negative in idea; do not use them with another negative or you will have a double negative:

Incorrect: I am not allowed to go to the mall only on Fridays.
Correct: I am allowed to go to the mall only on Fridays.

Incorrect: It was so dark I couldn't hardly see the boat.
Correct: It was so dark I could hardly see the boat.

Incorrect: There was a huge crowd when the President spoke, there wasn't scarcely room to stand.

Correct: There was a huge crowd when the President spoke, there was scarcely room to stand.

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