Today, my lovely readers, we’re going to talk about adverbs, which far too often take a backseat to their glamorous cousins, the adjectives.
However, adverbs play an equally important role in English grammar. They are used to modify, qualify, limit and describe by indicating things such as time, place, quantity and manner. They provide the answer to questions like: when? where? how? and how much? And don’t let their name fool you. While adverbs do modify verbs, they have also been known to modify adjectives, other adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and clauses.
In fact, adverbs are kind of like the miscellaneous bin of English grammar. Words that don’t easily fit into other categories usually end up labelled as adverbs.
So now that you have a little background, let’s look at some examples of adverbs modifying all those different parts of speech. The adverbs are in bold and the words they modify are in italics.
Adverb modifying a verb:
- The Weird Sisters stirred the cauldron vigorously.
Adverb modifying an adjective:
- Iago’s misguided revenge on Othello was incredibly twisted.
Adverb modifying another adverb:
- Once her mind was made up, Lady Macbeth acted very swiftly.
Adverb modifying a preposition:
- Hamlet showed Horatio the skull he had discovered just beneath his feet.
Adverb modifying a conjunction:
- That was exactly when Falstaff fell over.
Adverb modifying a clause:
- Apparently Oberon and Titania had a complicated relationship.
See, adverbs can be glamorous too! Be sure and spread the word.
Image credit: A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Meeting of Oberon and Titania, by Arthur Rackham (1905)