Correct Usage of Adverbs

1. When an Adverb is used to describe a Verb:

The verb which reflects the action of the sentence is modified by the Adverb which describes as to how, when, why, where and to what extent and in what manner was the action performed.


·  She ran to the stage.

·  She quickly ran to the stage.

2.  When an Adverb is used to qualify an Adjective in a sentence and gives us additional information about it.


· She was a sad widow .(’sad’ being the adjective which describes the noun ‘widow’)

· She was an infinitely sad widow. (‘infinitely ‘ refers to the degree of sadness of the widow.)


3. When an Adverb is paired with another Adverb:

Sometimes an Adverb may be used to describe the quality or modify another Adverb.


·  She finished her work fast. (‘fast’ is an example of Adverb which qualifies the verb ‘finished’)

· She finished her work extremely fast. ( ‘extremely’ is an example of second Adverb which further qualifies the original Adverb)


4. When an Adverb is used to introduce a sentence: In such cases Adverbs are used at the beginning of the sentence,followed by a comma, to change the context of a sentence.


· The work remained unfinished.

· Unexpectedly, the work remained unfinished. (Lends it an additional meaning that the unfinished work was unprecedented )


5.  Adverbs are used to join Conjunctive Clauses:

Conjunctive Adverbs are sometimes used to join two or more clauses or independent sentences using a period or semi-colon.


·         She married him. She regretted it.

·         He married him.However, she regretted it.

·         She married him;however, she regretted it.

Rules of using Adverbs correctly

1.       Adverbs may not always be singular words but can be phrases too, which cannot independently stand as sentences since they do not have a Subject and a verb but which however modify the verb, adjective or another adverb in a sentence.


The finished the work on the table. (‘On the table’ is an example of prepositional phrase which function as an adverb in the sentence)

2.  There are degrees of Adverbs corresponding to Positive, Comparative and Superlative which must be used accordingly.


·         She runs fast. (Positive)

·         She runs faster than my sister. (Comparative)

·         She runs the fastest of them all. (Superlative)


3. ‘Position’ of an Adverb is also integral to its usage.

Connective Adverbs are usually found at the beginning of the sentence, such as ‘however’

Adverbs that modify certain parts of sentence are found in the middle, such as ‘only’

Adverbs that modify manner, place or frequency are found at the end of the sentence.


·         We finished our work. Afterwards we went for drinks.

·         We only played soccer during weekends.

·         He picked the career he was suited best.


4. Beware of using redundant Adverbs: In order to avoid writings that become too clumsy or cumbersome, one must be wary of suing too many repetitive Adverbs.


·         She exulted happily.

·         She exulted. (which in itself means to let out a shriek of joy)

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