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.