Formation of Adverbs

1. Most adverbs are formed by adding the suffix ‘-ly’ to the end of the related Adjective.

Slow – slowly

Clever – cleverly

Quick – quickly

Beautiful – beautifully

Careful – carefully

Firm – Firmly

Strong - strongly

Delicate – delicately

Sad – sadly

2. However, in cases where the Adjective ends with ‘y’, there might be a need to replace ‘y’ with ‘I’ and then add the suffix –‘ly’.

Easy – easily

Lucky – luckily

Happy – happily

Busy – busily

Cozy – cosily

Heavy – heavily


3. In cases, where the adjective ends with ‘le’, ‘able’ or ‘ible’ the ‘e’ needs to be replaced with a ‘y’ to form the adverb.

gentle – gently

able – ably

capable – capably

eligible – eligibly

suitable – suitably

horrible – horribly


4. If the adjective ends with ‘ic’ , then the adverb shall be formed by adding ‘-ally’.

academic – academically

strategic – strategically

economic – economically

basic – basically

artistic – artistically

However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. For Example:

Public (adjective) – publicly – (adverb, adding the suffix –ly)


5. In case of adjectives that end with ‘cal’, the adverb can be formed adding the suffix ‘-ly’.

Chemical – chemically

Local- locally

Logic – logically

Tragic – tragically

Comic – comically


6. There are still some adjectives which retain their form while forming Adverbs.

The golden rule of identifying whether the word is an Adjective or Adverb in such case is to check the word it precedes. If it is a Noun, it occurs with, it is an Adjective, else it an Adverb.

fast - fast

Daily- daily

Late- late

Far- far

Early- early

close- close

free- free




straight- straight

wrong – wrong

Examples of the words being used as an Adjective:

It was a long meeting.

It was a short stay over.

It was a low wall.

It was a high –rise building.


Examples of the same words being used as an Adverb:

I will not be gone long.

The meeting was cut short.

He stooped low.

Don’t climb so high.


7.  However, there are certain adjectives which form the Adverb form, using a totally different word.

Good – well

8. Some Adverbs carry the same word form as Prepositions, except that prepositions are used before a Noun, while Adverbs have no such requirement. They are usually found at the end of clauses in such cases.

Examples: (Preposition)

  • He jumped in an attempt to cross the river.
  • She hurried over her assignment because she was late.

Examples (Adverb)

  • He jumped in.
  • She hurried over.

English Grammar and Composition

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