If you’re looking to get a little more familiar with adverbs, this is the article for you. In the next few minutes, we’re going to dive into the following topics:

  • General rules on adverbs in French
  • Placing an adverb in a sentence
  • Types of adverbs in French

By the end of this article, you’ll be an adverb expert! Let’s get started.

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General rules on adverbs in French

So what exactly is an adverb? They are a part of speech, modifying verbs and adjectives, or even prepositions and other adverbs.  To refresh your memory, take a look at these examples:

  • I finished the test fairly quickly
  • He really likes chocolate
  • She asked him politely

The adverbs here end in -ly, and French adverbs also have a common ending: -ment. Of course, not all French adverbs look the same, but many do.

Forming adverbs in French

There are two main methods of forming adverbs in French. Here’s the first:

  1. Take the adjective, e.g. parfait (“perfect”)
  2. Put it into the feminine, e.g. parfaite
  3. Add ment, e.g. parfaitement (“perfectly”)

Many adverbs can be formed using this method, such as heureusement (“luckily”) from heureux (“happy”, “lucky”).

For adjectives ending -ant and -ent, follow this method instead:

  1. For adjectives ending -ant: add -amment, e.g. suffisament
  2. For adjectives ending -ent: add -emment, e.g. fréquemment

These methods work most of the time but watch out for irregulars!

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Where do I put an adverb in a sentence?

When it comes to placing an adverb in a sentence, there is no one golden rule, as it can depend on the type of adverb and the context of the sentence. Generally speaking, you can follow one of the following structures:

  1. Verb + adverb
  2. Verb + adverb + verb
  3. Verb + verb + adverb
  4. Adverb + adjective/adverb
  5. Adverb + sentence

Study the below examples to see these different structures in practice:

  • Il court vite (“He runs quickly”)
  • Il a vite couru (“He ran quickly”)
  • Nous allons courir vite (“We’re going to run quickly”)
  • Il arrive trop tard (“He arrives too late”)
  • Parfois, il court vite (“Sometimes, he runs quickly”)

The ten types of adverbs

There are lots of types of different adverbs in French, which we can group into about ten categories depending on their function. We’ve provided some examples below of adverbs in each category, but there are many more to choose from.

#1 Place

Adverbs of place describe where an action occurs. For example:

  • Partout – everywhere
  • Ici – here
  • – there
  • Quelque part – somewhere
  • Dehors – outside

#2 Time

Adverbs of time describe when an action occurs. For example:

  • Bientôt – soon
  • Maintenant – now
  • Longtemps – for a long time
  • Déjà – already
  • Hier – yesterday

#3 Quantity

Adverbs of quantity describe how many or how much. For example:

  • Trop – too much
  • Assez – enough
  • Très – very
  • Peu – little
  • Beaucoup – a lot

#4 Comparative and superlative

These adverbs compare two or more things. For example:

  • Moins – less
  • Plus – more
  • Aussi – as
  • Le moins – the least
  • Le plus – the most

#5 Exclamative

Exclamative adverbs are used to describe surprise. For example:

  • Ce que – how, so
  • Comme – how, so
  • Combien (de) – so much, so many
  • Qu’est-ce que – how, so
  • Que (de) – how, so

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#6 Frequency

Adverbs of frequency describe how often an action occurs. For example:

  • Jamais – never
  • Parfois – sometimes
  • Rarement – rarely
  • Souvent – often
  • Toujours – always

#7 Negation

Negative adverbs are used to turn affirmations into interesting negative statements. For example:

  • Ne… jamais – never
  • Ne…pas – not
  • Ne…que – only
  • Ne…plus – not any more
  • Ne…guère – hardly

#8 Interrogation

Interrogative adverbs are used to form questions. For example:

  • Combien – how many
  • Quand – when
  • Comment – how
  • – where
  • Pourquoi – why

#9 Manner

Adverbs of manner describe how an action occurs. For example:

  • Bien – well
  • Mal – badly
  • Vite – quickly
  • Heureusement – luckily

#10 Pronominal

These adverbs in French are used to represent a place, quantity or preposition. There are two:

  • en – of it
  • y – there

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