What are adverbs in English grammar?
Adverbs are words that function as adjectives. It is hard to think of a common example of an adverb in English that doesn’t include one of the English words strong, fast, far, wide, thick, or short. Adverbs are the “ing” words in sentences like “quickly”, “far off”, “thinly”, and “shortly”.
The word “quickly” might get your attention. But the word ” quick ” is important, not the adjective “quick”. Quickly is a common adverb that adds extra information. It shows how long something took or how fast the action happened. It can also describe the strength of action. You might say “I was quickly dropped off” if you want to emphasize that the taxi driver was doing a fast job of driving. The sentence “The taxi drove quickly” just means that it was a fast car.
Adverbs are tricky. While they are adjectives, they don’t have the same word class. Adverbs behave like adjectives in a lot of ways. But adverbs do not always get their meaning from the adjective they modify. Look at the sentence “I am writing quickly”. This sentence is similar to the sentence “I wrote quickly”, but it is telling you about the method in which I am writing. It says I am writing using a technique that lets me write quickly. The phrase “quickly” does not mean “fast” here. Instead, the “quickly” is telling you how I am writing.
An adverb can also be used as a modal. This means that you can say that an adverb describes a possibility. You could say “The boy might have been quickly asleep”, if you are talking about a hypothetical situation. You could say “But if the boy wakes up, he might be quickly tired.” You might even say that “I was quickly tired, when you called me at 1 am”, if you are describing an unusual circumstance.
You can use a lot of different kinds of adverbs. In addition to the ones I listed, you can use “so”, “always”, “very”, “once”, and “never”. You can use these kinds of adverbs to give information about actions, numbers, locations, verbs, things that are in the present, and things that will happen in the future.
Adverbs are important, because they add extra information to sentences. It is common to notice that adverbs are sprinkled through the English language, and it is a good idea to learn what adverbs are.