How Adverbs Work
An adverb describes or modifies verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Adverbs answer these questions: How? Where? Why? When? To what extent? In what way? Under what condition? They can appear before or after the word they modify. For example:
- This dress was designed specifically for Mrs. Johnson. (the adverb specifically modifies the verb designed)
- Sophia's life story is quite compelling. (the adverb quite modifies the adjective compelling)
- The employee was never thoroughly vetted for the job. (the adverb never modifies the adverb thoroughly)
An adverb will sometimes provide detail about a given situation, as indicated by the verb. The examples below show detail about manner, place, and time.
- John walked quickly. (the adverb quickly modifies the verb ate, providing detail about manner)
- Let's stop there. (the adverb there modifies the verb stop, providing detail about place)
- The kids played today. (the adverb today modifies the verb played, providing detail about time)
Adverbs can also modify adjectives and other adverbs. For example:
- She is unbelievably smart (the adverb unbelievably modifies the adjective smart)
- Janie is very stubborn (the adverb very modifies the adjective stubborn)
- My dog barked quite excitedly. (the adverb quite modifies another adverb, excitedly)
- The turtle moved really slowly. (the adverb really modifies another adverb, slowly)
Go here to learn how adjectives and adverbs differ.