An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb or a preposition.


He played well. (well modifies the verb played)
Mr. Alam is a very popular teacher. ( very modifies the adjective popular)
He played very well.  ( very modifies another adverb well).
They went straight into the battle. ( here straight modifies the preposition into).

Sometimes, adverbs standing at the beginning of a sentence qualify the whole sentence.

Unfortunately, a bomb exploded and the house came down.

Here unfortunately modifies the whole sentence.


Simple Adverbs:
a) Adverbs (and adverbial phrases) of manner and state: These adverbs answer the question how or in what manner.

Ali behaved foolishly. (How did he behave?)
Alice writes clearly.
A good student works very hard.
He is sleeping soundly.
The traveler walked fast.

Some other adverbs of manner and state:
Quickly, badly, slowly, sadly, safely, loudly, suddenly, secretly, openly, quietly, frankly, completely.

b) Adverbs (and adverbial phrases) of place: These adverbs answer the question where.

Come and meet me here.
I could find him nowhere.
The doctor is in.
The balloon went up.
He put all his books on the desk.

Some other adverbs of place: Backward, forward, across, below, outside, within.

c) Adverbs (and adverbial phrases) of time: These adverbs answer the question when.

The train is coming late.
We must go now.
Is he still sleeping?
It is holiday today.
I have told you everything already.

Some other adverbs of time: Immediately, Lately, formerly, ago, after, presently, instantly, afterwards, yesterday.

d) Adverbs (and adverbial phrases) of frequency: These adverbs answer the question how often.

Our teacher is always punctual.
She has never talked to me again.
He often goes outside the country.
I have seen her only once.
The committee will meet twice a month.

e) Adverbs (and adverbial phrases) of duration:  These adverbs answer the question how long, since when, or until what time?
We didn’t stay long at the meeting.
There was no news of him for a year.
It has been raining since morning.
The examination will be held from March 12 to March 30.
There was no light in the city till 10 ‘o clock.

f) Adverbs of degree, quantity and extent:

Ali is very intelligent.
The milk is
hot enough.
Is he much stronger than you are?
This story is extremely funny.
I have only two oranges.

Some other adverbs of degree, quantity and extent: somewhat, partly, half, fully, largely more, hardly, a lot.

g) Adverbs (and adverbial phrases) of affirmation and negation.

He no longer took interest in his work.
He is not very active.
I have never seen him.
He will surely give you money.
We are definitely leaving tomorrow.

Interrogative Adverbs: Adverbs that are used to ask questions are called Interrogative adverbs.

How does he speak?  ( He speaks clearly.)
How is he? (he is well.)
Where is his brother? (at home)
When is he going to tour?(tomorrow)
How often do you meet him? (only sometimes)

Relative Adverbs: These are where, when, why .These are joining words. They connect the subordinate clause to the main part of the sentence. They are called relative adverbs because they relate or refer to an antecedent. The antecedent may be clearly stated or understood.

This is the restaurant where I have my dinner.
Tell me the office where you work.
I remember the day when I first saw her.
There is no reason why we should meet him.
The reason why this man comes here is not clear.


Some original adverbs: Seldom, always, yesterday, today, tomorrow, here, there., never, well.

Adverbs from adjectives:
a) with the suffix –ly.
Possibly, silently, thinly, gladly, slowly.

b)  by changing the final –y into –i and adding –ly.


c) from adjectives ending in –able, -ible, by dropping the final –e and adding –y.


d) Some other adverbs from adjectives:


Adjectives from participles:

Surprisingly, strikingly, willingly, lovingly, amazingly.
Brokenly, Hurriedly, Admittedly, unexpectedly, fixedly.

Some words can be used both as adjectives and adverbs:

High, low, near, fast, kindly.

Degrees of Comparison: like adjectives some adverbs also have comparative and superlative forms.
a) Adverbs of one syllable form comparatives by adding  -er and superlatives by adding –est.
 Hard---- Harder---Hardest

b) Adverbs of two or more syllables form comparatives by using more and superlatives by using most before the adverb.

Foolish—More Foolish----Most Foolish
Clearly---More Clearly---Most Clearly
Quickly---More Quickly---Most quickly
Gladly—More Gladly----Most Gladly
Wisely—More Wisely---Most wisely.

c) Some adverbs having irregular forms:



Adverbs of manner are usually placed after the intransitive verb, and after the direct object in case of a transitive verb.

She sang beautifully.
She copied the answer correctly.

But in exclamatory sentences with How, the adverb is put after How.

How well she looks!
How beautifully is she dressed!

Sometimes when we wish to emphasize the action we place the adverb of manner not after but before the verb.

The guest suddenly disappeared.
All of them quickly came out of the burning house.

Adverbs of place: These adverbs are usually placed after the verb if it is intransitive and after the direct object of the verb is in transitive.

Poor people sleep anywhere.
I met her there.

If the sentence has an adverb of manner, state, etc. the adverb of place comes after it.

He sang beautifully at the function.
She drove slowly on the main road.

When there are two or more adverbs of place, the smaller place is mentioned first.
I live in a small village near Dhaka.
We have a cottage near the lake.

Adverbs of time: These adverbs are usually placed at the end of a clause or a sentence.
She wrote me yesterday.
The plane arrives at 4p.m.

But for emphasis, these adverbs can occupy the front position.

Today he is in London.
Tomorrow he will be flying to Paris.

Use of Yet: it is chiefly used in negative constructions. The normal position is at the end.

The office isn’t open yet.
Haven’t the boys gone to college yet?

Use of Still:  Still is usually placed before the verb.
She still takes dancing lesson.
I still like her.

But still comes after verb to be.

He is still a clerk.
The road is still closed.

Order of adverbs of time: When two or more adverbs of time are used, the adverb denoting particular time comes before the more general expression of time.

She was born at 5a.m. on 20th of July, 1943.

When a sentence contains adverbs of manner than one kind, the normal order is: adverbs of manner, place and time.
She danced merrily at the party yesterday.

Adverbs of Frequency: These adverbs usually come after the verb to be.

She is always late for the class.
He is usually unwell.

In simple tense-forms of all other tense verbs the adverbs of frequency come before the verbs.

Boys always make more noise than girls.
She sometimes goes to her home town.
We occasionally meet on Sundays.
My brother rarely goes to the cinema.
I often saw him in the evenings.

But if there is an auxiliary verb in the sentence, the adverb is placed between the auxiliary verb and the main verb. In interrogative sentences adverbs of frequency are placed immediately after the subject.

He has generally kept his word.
You must regularly take exercise.
Have you ever visited a museum?
Does he often get so angry?

If the sentence contains two auxiliaries, the adverb of frequency is placed after the first auxiliary.

I could never have passed without your help.
You have often been told to dress properly.

Adverbs of frequency with have to, used to.

I often have to cook my own lunch.
My brother frequently used to help me in my homework.

Adverbs of frequency like now and then, now and again, again and again, everyday, twice a month, once, twice etc. are usually placed at the end of a sentence.

He failed again and again.
Youth comes but once.

But for emphasis these adverbs can be shifted to the front.

Twice he tried twice he failed.
Every now and then we heard cries of pain from the burn unit.

Adverbs of Duration: The adverb normally comes at the end.

The war has been going on since 1978.
The new course will continue till June next year.

Adverbs of degree, extent, Quantity: These adverbs come before the adjectives or adverbs they qualify.
The tea is too hot to drink.
He danced very badly.

Enough comes after the adjective or adverb it qualifies.

He isn’t good enough for the job.
He didn’t run fast enough.

Some adverbs of degree qualify verbs also. In such cases they are put before the main verb.

I rather like it.
I quite realize your difficulties.

Use of certain adverbs:


I only saw her yesterday.
(= I saw her but I didn’t talk to her.)
I saw her yesterday only
(=I saw her yesterday not before that)
I saw only her yesterday.
(=I saw only her and no one else.)

ii) Fairly, Rather: Fairly is used before adverbs and adjectives when the person or things referred to are considered desirable.

It is a fairly easy question.
The sky is fairly clear.

Rather is used when the persons or things are considered undesirable.

The question paper was rather difficult.
You have damaged the book rather badly.

Rather is also used with comparatives.

The patient is rather better today. (=a little)

Sometimes rather is used for a positive or a pleasant idea also.

It’s rather a good.  You should see it.

iii) Ago, Before:  Ago is used for the period of time before the present moment.

I returned from London a month ago.
(i.e. a month from the day the speaker talks about it)

Before is used to refer to time in the past or in the future.

Today is 20th of March. I saw her only a week ago. I hadn’t met her before.

Here before refers to the time earlier than 13th of March.


A large number of adjectives are used as adverbs also without change of form.

It was a long Journey. (Adjective)
He didn’t stay long. (Adverb)

I will travel by a fast train. (Adjective)
Don’t walk fast.(adverb)

We will reach there in half an hour. (Adjective)
The fish is only half cooked. (Adverb)

There is a house on the far bank of the river. (Adjective)
Did you go far? (Adverb)

He came by an early bus. (Adjective)
We get up early.(Adverb)

There is not much food on the table. (Adjective)
I haven’t eaten much. (Adverb)

The woman works at a leisurely pace. (Adjective)
Let’s work leisurely.(Adverb)

The temperature today is very high. (Adjective)
We must aim high. (Adverb)

The Nile is very deep. (Adjective)
The villagers dug deep for water. (Adverb).

My house is quite near. (Adjective)
Soon the car came near. (Adverb)

It was a hard job for a young boy. (Adjective)
He hit him hard.(Adverb)

Some of these words can also be used as adverbs with –ly but with more or less change of meaning.

Highly: The Principal speaks highly of you.
Deeply: She loves you deeply.
Nearly: He nearly fell into the river.
Hardly: The patient can hardly stand.

Some verbs like to smell, to taste, to feel, to look, to appear, and to be are followed by adjectives and not adverbs.

The rose smells sweet. (not sweetly)
This medicine tastes bitter. (not bitterly)
He appears sad. (not sadly)
Are you feeling hot?  (not hotly)
I feel cold. (not coldly)

Some words ending in –ly   are used as adjectives only.
Friendly, Unfriendly, Mainly, Motherly, Fatherly, Heavenly, Masterly, Scholarly, Lovely, Lonely, Likely.

He gave me a friendly smile.

We cannot say,

She behaved friendly.

We will say,
She behaved in a friendly manner.

(a) Use these adverbs in the following sentences: well, fast, hard, carefully, slowly.
1.     The soldiers marched to the grave of their comrade.
2.     The batsman hit the ball.
3.     Handle this glass article.
4.     He thinks of you.
5.     Run if you want to catch the bus.

(b) Use the adverbs given in the brackets in the proper order.
1.     Meet me. (on Saturday, outside the hostel)
2.     We are going.(to London, next Friday)
3.     The plane will land.(in a few minutes, here)
4.     George was born.(in a small village, on January 10, 1971)
5.     He goes(every Saturday evening, to the cinema)
6.     We met them. (in the evening, in the guest house, after the meeting)
7.     The train leaves.(from the main station, at six o’clock, in the morning)

(c) Use still or yet.
1.     She is thirty-five but is unmarried.
2.     Is she asleep?
3.     The child is bed.
4.     The teacher has tried hard. But he does not understand the problem.
5.     It is raining. We can’t go out.

(d) Use always, seldom, sometimes, usually, occasionally, ever, never.
1.     It is dark inside the tunnel.
2.     We go to bed at ten o’clock sharp.
3.     I have seen an Eskimo.
4.     I hardly go to see plays.
5.     We go to a hill station during summer but this year we are not going.
6.     I am punctual in reaching school.
7.     He lives very far away and comes to visit us.
8.     We are busy persons and go to pictures only.
9.     We must obey our parents.
10.  He is very busy but he comes to visit us.

(e) Use too, enough, very, almost, only in the following sentences.
1.     He is strong to carry this box.
2.     This question is important for examination.
3.     The mountain is high to climb
4.     The bottle is empty.
5.     This house is costly for me to purchase.
6.     Wait a minute. I have finished my work.
7.     When did he come? He came yesterday.
8.     Did you talk to him? No, I saw him.

(f) Use fairly or rather.
1.     Can you carry this bedding? I am afraid, it is heavy.
2.     The house is cheap. Let’s buy it.
3.     The food is cold. I can’t take it.
4.     The bread is stale.
5.     He has done well in his examinations and should pass. 

(g) Use before or ago.
1.     I will see him….next Thursday.
2.     I met him only a few days….I hadn’t met her…
3.     He asked me why I had not visited him…
4.     America was discovered by Columbus over 400 years…
5.     This clock stopped yesterday. I had bought it only a day….

Rewrite the following sentences using the adverbial expressions given in the brackets in proper order.
1.     She danced beautifully.(at the party, yesterday)
2.     He went (out of the hall, quietly)
3.     I will love her.(passionately, throughout my life)
4.     We can’t stay (all day, here)
5.     He answered all these questions.(yesterday, in the interview, confidently)
6.     We have our coffee (in the morning, at 7 o’clock, always)
7.     She acted (in the play, yesterday, well)

Use often in the correct position in the following sentences.
1.     I go to picture
2.     He is late for office.
3.     She has helped me with advice.
4.     He has been caught while copying.
5.     Do they go to visit their parents?
6.     They don’t come to visit us.

Complete the following sentences by using :
 hard or hardly
1.     She worked but failed.
2.     I know him.
3.     he ever visits his friend.
 high or highly
4.     The rocket flew in the sky.
5.     They praised him for his work.
6.     He got a paid job.
 near or nearly
7.     The examinations are at hand.
8.     He is a relative of mine.
9.     The bus is full.
 most or mostly     
10.  He eats everything but likes fish.
11.  A salesman is on tour.

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