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Adverbs of Manner

May 25, 2016

Intro to Adverbs

Adverbs play a big role in the English language. They can describe verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, or even the whole sentence. (For more general information on adverbs, see 7 Adverb Patterns.) There are many types of adverbs, such as adverbs of frequency and viewpoint adverbs, but let’s turn our focus to adverbs of manner.

Adverbs of Manner

1. Function

An adverb of manner is a word that describes (gives extra information about) the verb in a sentence. This type of adverb answers the question of how an action is performed.

  • She sang.
  • How did she sing?
  • She sang beautifully / softlyloudly.

2. Form

Most adverbs in English are formed by taking an adjective and adding -ly.

Adjective → Adverb

  • beautiful → beautifully
  • careless → carelessly
  • dangerous → dangerously
  • enthusiastic → enthusiastically
  • excited → excitedly
  • independent → independently
  • loud → loudly
  • noisy → noisily
  • soft → softly
  • truthful → truthfully

3. Sentence Patterns

Adverbs have many possible sentence patterns in English. Here are some common patterns for adverbs of manner:

Pattern 1 V + Adv
Note This is the most common pattern for adverbs of manner in English.
Example He spoke quickly.
Pattern 2 V + O + Adv
Note When a direct or indirect object follows the main verb, it is possible for the adverb to follow the object.
Example I drank my tea slowly.
Pattern 3 Adv + V
Note Placing the adverb before the verb is very common with adverbs of frequency (e.g., I always eat breakfast), but it is a little less common with adverbs of manner.
Example The teacher quietly played with the children.

4. Exceptions

Adverbs with Another Form

Like most “rules” for the English language, there are exceptions to the Adj + ‑ly rule. Some adverbs keep the same form for both adverbs and adjectives, while others use a different word form altogether. Here are some common adverbs that don’t end in -ly:

Adjective → Adverb

  • good → well
  • fast → fast
  • hard → hard
  • late → late

For adverbs with two forms, such as hard/hardly and slow/slowly, see Adverbs with Two Forms.

-ly Adjectives

There are also a few adjectives that end in -ly in English. Adjectives will follow the pattern Adj + N (e.g., weekly class) or BE + Adj (e.g., She is friendly). Here are some common ‑ly adjectives (note that many have to do with time):

  • hourly
  • daily
  • weekly
  • monthly
  • yearly
  • annually
  • costly
  • friendly
  • silly


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Comments (2)

robert frischmon(Guest)

Great explanation! This is the clearest explanation of adverbs I have seen. Thank you.

Reply to Comment

Tanya Trusler(Author)

Thank you for the kind words, Robert!

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