TOEFL IBT – Adverbs

An adverb is a word that can modify any other word EXCEPT a noun.

Examples

Adverbs of manner describe how something happens. Placement of the adverb can sometimes change the meaning.

  • She patiently waited for her exam results. (describes the manner in which she waited)
    • She waited for her exam results patiently. (describes the manner in which she waited)
  • He asked me to leave the room quietly. (he asked for the manner in which he would leave the room to be quiet)
    • He quietly asked me to leave the room. (the manner in which he did the asking was quiet)

The suffix –ly can be added to an adjective to turn it into an adverb of manner:

  • quick -> quickly
  • hungry -> hungrily
  • slow -> slowly

Adverbs of place tell us where things happen. They always answer the question, Where?

  • Put the tray there. (Put the tray where? There)
  • My brother’s house is nearby. (My brother’s house is where? Nearby)

Adverbs of place ending in –where express a location without specifying a specific location.

  • Oh no, you got milk everywhere!
  • I think I saw her run somewhere over there.

Adverbs of place ending in –wards express a particular direction.

  • I’m not used to walking backwards.
  • The plane flew eastwards.

BE CAREFUL: Towards is a preposition, NOT an adverb!

  • He was walking towards the car when his phone rang. (modifies car)

Some common adverbs of place are:

abroad

back

down

everywhere

inside

there

across

backwards

downwards

here

outside

ahead

beyond

eastwards

indoors

overseas

BE CAREFUL:

  • If you want to see the stars, you should go outside. (here, outside is an adverb because there is no object – outside is where you need to go)
  • She is coloring outside the lines. (here, outside is a preposition because it has an object –lines)

Adverbs of time tell us when things happen. They tell us when, for how long, or how often an action happens or happened.

  • I need to clean the house tomorrow.
  • She was at the hospital for hours.
  • I often have a coffee before leaving for work.

The order for adverbs of time is as follows: 1) how long 2) how often 3) when

  • She worked in a hospital 1) for three days 2) every week 3) last year.

The position of certain adverbs can give the adverb a stronger or weaker meaning.

  • I visit Italy frequently. (stronger)
  • I frequently visit Italy. (weaker)
  • Often, I eat around 8:00. (stronger)
  • I often eat around 8:00. (weaker)

Yet is an adverb of time that can have two meanings.

  • Have you finished eating yet? (request for information)
  • No, not yet. (negative answer)

Use the adverb still to express continuity.

  • I am still waiting for you.
  • Do you still work for Le Monde?
  • Are you still hungry?

Some common adverbs of time are:

now

tonight

never

then

yesterday

often

today

always

Adverbs of degree are used to describe the intensity of an adjective or action.

  • She is almost ready to move on.
  • I am completely done with this book.

BE CAREFUL: Enough can be an adverb OR a determiner.

  • Is your coffee hot enough? (adverb modifying hot)
  • I have had enough coffee. (determiner modifying coffee)

Too at the end of a sentence can mean also, or excessively when it comes before an adjective or other adverb.

  • Do you have something for me too? (also)
  • I’d like to go too! (also)
  • The soup is way too hot! (excessively)
  • I thought the movie was too long. (excessively)

Some common adverbs of degree are:

extremely

quite

just

almost

very

too

enough

Tips:

  • If a word can be moved to a different position in the sentence, then the word is an adverb modifying a verb!
    • I hurriedly left for work. -> Hurriedly, I left for work. -> I left for work hurriedly.
  • If a word ends in –ly, it is most likely an adverb!

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