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Term Definition

An adverb adjusts the meaning of other adverbs, verbs or adjectives. Adverbs usually end in -ly, however, not all words ending in -ly are adverbs.

Introduction to Adverbs

Are you looking to learn more about the meaning of the part of speech known as known as an adverb? If so, then you have fortunately found the right resource to perfectly suit your needs. Here at Ultius, we are committed to helping you understand the proper usage of the main parts of speech. 

You may or may not know this, but there are actually five adverbs present in the last three sentences you just read. (And there are two in just the preceding sentence.)

The purpose of the adverb is to modify verbs, and they tell you more information about that verb. A verb is basically an action word. So, an adverb tells you more about how something is done.  

Adverbs in Action - Usage Rules

Here is an example of an adverb being used properly in a sentence.

"He badly wanted to make it into the prestigious college without any problems; therefore, he went above and beyond in his efforts to study for his standardized exams."

There are two examples of the adverb in the above sentence. The first is "badly", which describes how he wanted something. The second is "above and beyond", which described how he went about his studying. 

Here is a grammatically incorrect sentence with adverbs, now. 

"The frighteningly class was meant for students who had already taken easily classes in the past and were thus prepared for it."

Here, one adverb is "frighteningly", and another is "easily". They are being used improperly because they are being applied to the noun "class" and not to any verb. 

For your reference, here are some basic rules that you can follow in order to make sure you are using know how to use the adverb correctly. 

1. An adverb always describes how something is done, was done, or should be done. You can find thus find the adverb in a sentence by focusing on the action words (verbs), and then looking for the other words that give more details about the action word. 

2. You may have heard that an adverb usually ends with the "-ly" suffix. This is the case a lot of the time, but definitely not all the time. For example, sometimes the adverb may be a place word, like "inside" or "outside". Also, sometimes the -ly suffix can also be found in adjectives (for example, in the phrase "a goodly portion of food"). 

Grammatical Purpose

One of the main purposes of an adverb is to give more detail about how actions were performed. If you were to go to a concert, then without adverbs, all you could say is something like, "The violinist played." You would need adverbs in order to say something further, such as whether the violinist played well or badly. If you think about the matter in this way, it becomes clear how truly fundamental adjectives are to ordinary language use. 

Another main purpose of the adverb is to describe what could be called the direction or position of a verb within time and space. So, the adverb does not necessarily just address the question of "how" in the narrow sense, but also the questions of "where" and "when". For example, an adverb may help explain that a man walked from the east to the west, or that he performed a given action for a certain specified period of time. 

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Synonyms: adverb

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