Skills

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Adverbs

Adverbs are used to describe actions. They may come before or after a verb, but not between a verb and its object.

Lucy softly sang. (Most common word order.)

Lucy softly sang. (Also possible.)

Lucy softly sang a lullaby.

Lucy sang a lullaby softly.

Lucy sang softly a lullaby. (Not correct.)

Adverbs may come between a main verb and its auxiliaries.

Lucy is softly singing a lullaby.

Lucy softly is singing a lullaby. (Not correct.)


Lucy has been softly singing that lullaby for a long time.

Some time and frequency adverbs are "movable." That is, they can be placed at various points in a sentence.

Yesterday I visited the dentist.

I visited the dentist yesterday.

Jack Prompt is here already.

Jack Prompt is already here.

Caution: Even though some adverbs can be used in certain sentence positions, others can not.

I yesterday visited the dentist. (Not okay.)

I already visited the dentist. (Okay.)

Already I visited the dentist. (Not okay.)

Adverbs such asquiteveryreallyextremely, and absolutely are used to modify adjectives and other adverbs.

They come directly before the words they describe.

Tony is quite happy with his new manager.

Lihua eats very slowly.

You're absolutely right!


Many adverbs can be formed by adding –ly to adjectives:

Jack is a quick runner.

Jack runs quickly.

Some adverbs are identical to adjectives in form. Others are completely different.

Carl is a fast runner. (Adjective)

Carl runs fast. (Adverb)


Jill is a good student. (Adjective)

Jill studies well. (Adverb)

Be careful with words like hardlyandlately, which have no relation to the adjectives/adverbshardandlate.

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