Parts of Speech

Adverbs: Who Ya Gonna Call?

Adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Adverbs answer the questions “When?” “Where?” “How?” or “To what extent?” For example:

  • When? left yesterday, begin now
  • Where? fell below, move up
  • How? happily sang, danced badly
  • To what extent? partly finished, eat completely

Fortunately for us, most adverbs are formed by adding -ly to an adjective. This makes recognizing an adverb fairly easy. Of course, we don't want things to be too easy, so there are a bunch of adverbs that don't end in -ly. Here are some of the most common non-ly adverbs:

  • afterward
  • already
  • almost
  • back
  • even
  • often
  • far
  • quick
  • fast
  • rather
  • hard
  • slow
  • here
  • so
  • how
  • soon
  • late
  • still
  • long
  • then
  • low
  • today
  • more
  • tomorrow
  • near
  • too
  • never
  • when
  • next
  • where
  • now
  • yesterday

Have Fun with Adverbs

Now, what can you do with an adverb? Try this: Use an adverb to describe a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

  1. Use an adverb to describe a verb.
    • Experiments using dynamite must be done carefully.
  2. Use an adverb to describe an adjective.
    • Charles had an unbelievably huge appetite for chips.
  3. Use an adverb to describe another adverb.
    • They sang so clearly.

Conjunctive Adverbs: An Adverb Disguised as a Conjunction

Strictly Speaking

Conjunctive adverbs are also called transitions because they link ideas.

Conjunctive adverbs are used to connect other words. Therefore, conjunctive adverbs act like conjunctions, these wily devils—even though they are not technically considered to be conjunctions. Despite their tendency to be mislabeled, conjunctive adverbs are very useful when you want to link ideas and paragraphs. Here are the fan favorites:

  • accordingly
  • however
  • again
  • indeed
  • also
  • moreover
  • besides
  • nevertheless
  • consequently
  • on the other hand
  • finally
  • otherwise
  • for example
  • then
  • furthermore
  • therefore

Hunt and Peck

Underline the adverb or adverbs in each sentence.

  1. America is a large, friendly dog in a small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.
  2. Bigamy: One wife too many. Monogamy: Same idea.
  3. There is never enough time—unless you're serving it.
  4. Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
  5. Upon hearing that Ronald Reagan had been elected governor of California, movie studio head Jack Warner said, “It's our fault. We should have given him much better parts.”

Answers

  1. large
  2. too
  3. never
  4. so, every
  5. much
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Grammar and Style © 2003 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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