Learning Adverbs

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Adverbs are verbs like quickly, slowly, mainly, quietly today. Adverbs tell us more about the verb. They tell us where, when, how or how often something happens.

How are adverbs form?

  • Many adverbs are formed by adding – ly to the adjectives. The meanings of most such adjectives and adverbs are very close.

easy – easily          happy – happily     kind – kindly         nice – nicely

quick – quickly      slow – slowly

  • Adverbs that tell us where , when, and how much something happens usually do not have the  – ly ending.

The committee met  yesterday.                                                           She called me in the afternoon.

  • Many verbs have the same form as adjectives.

She ran fast   (adv)                   The next performer is Renu.        She worked hard.

  • Some adverbs have dual forms. One of them is the same as the adjective and the other is with – ly.

Can you make it quick?            She quickly ran to open the door

Where do adverbs come in sentence?

Some adverbs have a fixed position in a sentence. Some adverbs that refer to a whole clause or a large part of a sentence may come at different places in sentence.

At the beginning of a clause                           Recently I met my old friends in a seminar

At the end of a clause                                       The show ended haphazardly.

Before the verb                                                   She often  studied at night.

Between the auxiliary and the main verb     She could hardly see anything at night.

Before an adverbial                                            She left the school immediately in a huff.

Before an adjective                                              It was a fairly quick decision.

Before an adverb                                                  We agreed to meet again soon.

Common errors in the use of adverbs:

  • Adverbs of time – always, often , sometimes , never, ever, seldom, merely – are put before the verb they qualify.

          I meet him seldom.                   Incorrect

          I seldom  meet him.                   Correct

  • Use of adverb ‘ too’ – when ‘too’ is used in the comparative sense it should be followed by ‘to’ or substituted by ‘very’.

He is too old.                                 Incorrect

He is very old.                                Correct

OR    He is too old to walk            Correct

  • Use of adverb ‘much’ and ‘ very’ ;   MUCH is used with (i) comparative degree (ii) and past participle. VERY is used with (i) positive degree (ii) present participle.

It is much easy to handle .                      Incorrect

It is much easier to handle.                     Correct

This is much disappointing reply.         Incorrect

This is very disappointing reply.            Correct

  • Adverb ‘AS’  cannot be used with ‘elect’ , ‘appoint’ and consider but it must be used with ‘regard’.

They elected him as their representative.    Incorrect

They elected him their representative.          Correct

I regard Ramesh my  brother.                        Incorrect

I regard Ramesh as my brother.                    Correct

  • Hardly, scarcely are adverbs and must be followed by verb and later on by ‘when’.

Hardly he went out of the office then it began to rain.       Incorrect

Hardly he went out of the office when it began to rain.     Correct

  • NOT is an adverb and NO is an adjective. Double negatives cannot be used if we want to say something  negative.

I forbade him not to watch horror movie at night.                 Incorrect

I forbade  him to watch horror movie at night.                       Correct

Work lest you should not repent.                                               Incorrect

Work lest you should repent.                                                      Correct

I could not hardly work at night.                                                Incorrect

I could hardly work at night.                                                       Correct

  • WHERE and WHEN are adverbs and cannot be used to introduce noun clauses.

Erosion is where the soil is washed away.                             Incorrect

Erosion occurs when  the soil is washed away. OR                  Correct

Erosion  has occurred where the soil is washed away.

Illiteracy is when a man cannot read or write                                      Incorrect

Illiteracy  is the condition of the man who cannot read or write        Correct

  • Reason why _________ reason that

The word ‘why’ is an adverb; the word ‘that is either a pronoun or an adjective, according to its use.

A common error arises in the use of the adverb ‘why’ for the relative pronoun ‘that’.

The reason why he came is that he needs help.               Incorrect

The reason that he came is that he needs help.                Correct

Practice Exercise

Directions : (Q. Nos. 1 – 25 )  In this section a number of sentences are given. The sentences are divided into four  separate parts and each one is labelled  (a), (b) ,(c).and (d).  Read each sentences to find out whether there is an error in any one of the parts. No sentence has more than one error. When you find an error in any one of the parts (a),(b) and (c), indicate your response on the separate Answer Sheet. You may  sometimes feel that there is no error in a sentence. In that case option (e) will signify the response.

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