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§ 1. The adverb is a part of speech which expresses some circumstances that attend an action or state, or points out some characteristic features of an action or a quality.

The function of the adverb is that of an adverbial modifier. An adverb may modify verbs (verbals), words of the category of state, adjectives, and adverbs.


Annette turned her neck lazily, touched one eyelash and said: “He amuses

Winifred.” (Galsworthy)

And glancing sidelong at his nephew he thought... (Galsworthy)

For a second they stood with hands hard clasped. (Galsworthy)

And now the morning grew so fair, and all things were so wide awake.


The man must have had diabolically acute hearing. (Wells)

Harris spoke quite kindly and sensibly about it. (Jerome)


§ 2.As to their structure adverbs are divided into:

(1) simple adverbs (long, enough, then, there, etc.);

(2) derivative adverbs (slowly, likewise, forward, headlong, etc.); (The most productive adverb-forming suffix is ‑ly. There are also some other suffixes: ‑wards, ‑ward; ‑long, ‑wise.)

(3) compound adverbs (anyhow, sometimes, nowhere, etc.);

(4) composite adverbs (at once, at last, etc.).


§ 3. Some adverbs have degrees of comparison.

(a) If the adverb is a word of one syllable, the comparative degree is formed by adding ‑er and the superlative by adding -est.


fast — faster — fastest

hard — harder — hardest


(b) Adverbs ending in ‑ly form the comparative by means of more and the superlative by means of most.


wisely — more wisely — most wisely

beautifully — more beautifully — most beautifully


(c) Some adverbs have irregular forms of comparison:


well — better — best

badly — worse — worst

much — more — most

little — less — least


§ 4. According to their meaning adverbs fall under several groups:

(1) adverbs of time (today, tomorrow, soon, etc.);

(2) adverbs of repetition or frequency (often, seldom, ever, never, sometimes, etc.);

(3) adverbs of place and direction (inside, outside, here, there, backward, upstairs, etc.);

(4) adverbs of cause and consequence (therefore, consequently, accordingly, etc.);

(5) adverbs of manner (kindly, quickly, hard, etc.);

(6) adverbs of degree, measure and quantity (very, enough, half, too, nearly, almost, much, little, hardly, rather, exceedingly, quite, once, twice, firstly, secondly, etc.).

Three groups of adverbs stand aside: interrogative, relative and conjunctive adverbs.

Interrogative adverbs (where, when, why, how) are used in special questions.

Conjunctive and relative adverbs are used to introduce subordinate clauses.1

Some adverbs are homonymous with prepositions, conjunctions2 and words of the category of state.3


1 See Chapter XVII, The Complex Sentence.

2 See Chapter XII, The Preposition.

3 See Chapter VI, The Words of the Category of State.

Chapter X

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Infinitive constructions. | THE MODAL WORDS

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