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How to Use the Adverbs in Your Speech

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How, when and in what manner. The Adverb’s definition and problems of classification

Before writing the first essay for your college course, you most probably have thrown a glance over different manuals on the way to write the academic paper. Many of those guidelines advise to address the general questions of “What?”, “How?” and “Why?”. This is where the almighty Adverb claims its right for the top place in your paper among other Parts of Speech.

Indeed, the Adverb is used quite often, not only in written English, but even more so in the spoken one.

  • Here!
  • Awesome! When?
  • Tomorrow. Late?
  • Precisely. Tonight?
  • Too swiftly. Until later.

Here’s a dialogue built completely with Adverbs. Though some of the additional meaning is behind the stage still it is conceivable that some argument took place and that the parties didn’t get a deal with it. If you’re not on short terms with Adverbs, the different educational tools and linguistic services may help in writing your texts, as the native speakers would do. In case your paper needs an impeccable presentation, our proofreading and editing services are always available for you on our website.

So the Adverb may be called almost universal part of speech as it is able to relay the sense by itself, without the help of other parts of speech. Let us look closer at this interesting grammar category and its diverse functions.

An Adverb is still defined as a separate Part of Speech and is taught so in school and college. However the modern linguists often argue such classification as they assert that there are if a few factors that are common for all Adverbs and much more that make them go apart. They suggest the Adverb as a category that gathers all the words not fitting clearly into other categories (e.g. Nouns, Adjectives, Verbs etc.). To prove or reject such view let us examine the traditional definition of an Adverb.

The Adverb is determined as a Part of Speech that functions as the modifier of the other Parts of Speech: Participles, Verbs, Adjectives, other Adverbs and so on.

The fire spread quickly over the wood. – modifies the Verb

They were too far away already to hear the tenants shouting the warnings. - modifies another Adverb

Your sister is remarkably beautiful, - he asserted. – modifies the Adjective

The only Part of Speech that stays aloof to the Adverb’s “charms” is the Noun – it cannot be described by the Adverb, only by the Adjective:

Lisa is an amazingly cook. – Lisa is an amazing cook.

As we see from the examples above, the Adverbs do not actually change the other words – they stay as they were, – but add a new meaning, reveal some details about them.

I walked three miles. – I scarcely walked three miles yesterday.

Adding the Adverbs brought a new meaning to the sentence, the picture became much more vivid. We know now the time when the event took place (yesterday) and the clarifying details (scarcely shows this distance seems a small one to the speaker and that some obstacle prevented him or her to walk more).

The Adverb, as any other Part of Speech has its specific question. The difference is that it has more than one or even two of such questions. Let us have a closer look at them:

  • How and Why? Such Adverbs are called the Adverbs of manner. They clarify the way something is done, detail the circumstances: They spoke loudly disregarding the particularly angry signs their neighbor was displaying.
  • When? The Adverbs of time specify the timing of the event and its actual time of happening: She called me the other day and I could not think of what to tell her.
  • Where? These Adverbs describe the location of the event: Nowhere seemed a right destination at the circumstances.
  • To what extent? The Adverbs of the degree specify to what limit the action is valid, or what extent the adjective has: You’d rather keep this paper for your upcoming conference.
  • How often? The Adverbs of frequency clarify the regularity of the events: I seldom publish new essays without consulting my editor.

As we see, the Adverbs of frequency and the Adverbs of the degree also address the question How? with some further refinement. Thus for practical need this classification may be narrowed just to three essential questions: How? When? Where?

Thus we can see that Adverbs, indeed, have a variety of meanings and different forms, too. However they all can be grouped by their function: modification of another word. Within this function, the Adverbs also divide into three sub-groups addressing different issues: manner, time and place.

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Formation of the Adverbs

Now that we know what an Adverb is let’s have a look at the way it is formed. You can get the Adverb in three ways:

1. Adding a –ly ending to the Adjective (restless – restlessly, happy – happily, vivid – vividly). This is a most common ending and also a formal attribute of the Adverb:

They fought against the wind breathlessly, scarcely being able to see anything through the mist of the waterfall.

Be sure never to rely on the form solely as some Adjectives and Nouns (also some Verbs) can have this ending as well. Always put a question to the word and if it is an adverbial one be sure you’ve got an Adverb there.

Those silly gooses walked along so importantly, it was impossible not to laugh at them. – Adjective and Adverb

    Supply our ally with the necessary provision, and we’ll guarantee you’d leave safely. – Verb, Noun, Adverb.

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2. Unchangeable forms of Adverbs that are formed out of the Adjectives. These are irregular forms and they must be remembered by heart or just identified by their function in the sentence:

The difficult task goes difficult. – Adjective, Adverb.

How fast is that fast train? – Adverb, Adjective.

They played their part well and the play looked really well. – Adverb, Adjective.

3. The Adverbs that do not origin from the Adjectives. These are the words that answer the adverbial questions only. These are Adverbs of place (here, somewhere), time (today, yesterday), manner (how, much, often):

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The Adverbs, like the Adjectives, can have a comparative and superlative degree. This function is available both for the Adverbs formed out of Adjectives and “adverbial Adverbs”:

  • The comparative degree is formed by adding intensifiers more / less:

The more vividly the conversation went on, the less willingly he agreed with the chairman that they had to leave immediately.

For the Adverb well the comparative degree is better:

They seemed to know better which way to take.

  • The superlative degree is formed by means of the words most / least:

The most horribly destructive person can be the most possibly optimal adviser.

With the well, it’s the best:

She was acting best when her head was somewhat in the sky.

Many of the Adverbs, though, do not possess the comparative and superlative degrees. These are, for example, time (now, ever) and place (there, downstairs) Adverbs, as well as some of the Adverbs of manner (random, much, clockwise).

The formation of an Adverb shows its having various grounds in its origin. However what unites all these non-similar words, except the grammar factors we listed above? It is their role in the sentence. Let us see what part they play in the syntactic orchestra of the sentence.

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  1. All About Dissertation Proofreading Service UK
  2. Choose The Best Cheap Rewriting Service
  3. How The Best Academic Editing Services Work
  4. The Best Paper Editor Will Edit Your Course Paper
  5. Several Important Ways Of Paper Editing

The syntactic role of an Adverb. The Adverbial clause

The Adverb has its own syntactic role called the Adverbial Modifier. It performs the function of the specification in the sentence, clarifying what time, place and manner the Predicate acted, or the way a Subject or a Supplement have manifested themselves:

She rang the bell violently until it was heard all over the house. 

Last time he saw that beautifully adorned garment it didn’t fit him at all.

The Adverbs may also serve as the indicator of the grammar correctness and logical consistency of the text. If you feel that your Adverbs do not fit in the text or all the How’ and Why’s are addressed wrongly, it is a sign the certain changes are required. The cheap yet top quality paper revision is available among other services on our website.

The Adverbs in most of the cases do not have a set place in the sentence, though they are often used close to the words they relate to:

Lately she had been crying.

She had been crying lately.

The syntactic role of the Adverbial Modifier can be fulfilled not only by the Adverbs but by other Parts of Speech as well:

  • Nominative constructions:

She left the premises early that morning.

  • Attributive constructions:

Gans was playing a melody as fluent and joyful as a forest brook.

  • Verbal forms and constructions – here the syntactic function may be defined only by the sense:

He had a reason for his escape – blackmailing the official.

The examples above show that the Adverbs are able to influence the style of the paper greatly. Choosing the Adverb out of the slang lexis for the essay on the Fine Literature would result in the incongruous, save ridiculous paper. However there are plenty of Adverbs available in any style of speech and writing. If you are checking your text by means of the selected assignment proofreading service, be sure at least three Adverbs are there: when, how and why.

Acting in the sentence, the Adverbs may modify not only a single word but a whole sentence as well.  The Adverbial Clause is a sentence that has three distinctive features that allow categorizing them as a special type of an Adverb / Adverbial modifier:

1. The Adverbial Clause consists of several words formed into a sentence by means of Subject and Predicate:

Until the work is done, no one is allowed to distract for the phone calls.

2. The Adverbial Clause relates to the whole sentence, not just some part of it:

We were hurrying due to heavy raining.

3. They always make a subordinate clause of the complex sentence, and can not form a complete sentence themselves:

                       Fortunately that train has been delayed.

4. These clauses answer the Adverb’s questions: When? Where? How?

At midnight, the bell chimed 12 solemnly.

Luckily for us, the lecture has been shortened by the professor.  

In Liverpool, we used to take a trolley and ride along the curvy streets.

Thus, apart from making a separate Part of Speech, an Adverb forms its own syntactic role that can be transferred to other Parts of Speech and their constructions as well.

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Some useful tips regarding the usage of the Adverbs

Now that you know ins and outs of the Adverb, let’s talk of how to implement this knowledge in your English.

Many of the Adverbs were formed out of the Adjectives. That is why the most common mistakes are made when these two Parts of Speech are mixed up within one sentence:

  • Using the Adjective instead of the Adverb:

The sportsmen ran very quick and the crowd was applauding loud. – The sportsmen ran very quickly and the crowd was applauding loudly.

Make sure you put the right question to the word you are going to specify: Ran in what manner? Was crying how? – here we have to use an Adverb.

  • Using the Adverb instead of an Adjective:

Laura brought me awful beautiful flowers. – Here instead of the Adverb of manner awfully the Adjective awful was used.

Be sure to define what Part of Speech the Adverb or Adjective relate to. If it is a Noun or a Pronoun, it will be an Adjective. If it is a Verb, Adverb, Adjective – it is an Adverb.

This difference can be particularly well represented in the following example:

Jason looked steadily. – clarification of the way of looking.

Jason looked steady. – qualification of John (his posture).

  • There are particular verbs that allow for the use of the Adverbs as well as for Adjectives after them. These are smell, taste, look. However the meaning of the sentence will be different so it is better to use the rule of defining the Part of Speech that is discussed:

These trees look good. – Adjective, the trees are beautiful, adorn the landscape.

These trees look well. – Adverb, the trees look in a good way, healthy and strong.

  • If you need to express the meaning with the construction Adverb+Adjective, think of the ultimate forms. There are most likely more meaningful words, Verbs or Adjectives or other Adverbs:

I desperately wanted to get the victory. – I craved for victory.

I was flabbily walking around. – I sauntered around.

It is so excitedly good! – It’s awesome!

The Adverb, making a “home” of grammar category for all the words that do not fit into other ones, still possesses its own characteristics. These are defined by the adverbial questions “how?”, “when?”, “where?” and is defined also by a syntactic role in the sentence. An Adverb thus is a semi-grammar, semi-syntactic category that unifies the words that act as the modifiers of the other words or whole sentences. The closest category to the Adverb is an Adjective, a large part of Adverbs origin from it. So the most attention must be paid for using these two categories in one’s speech.

If you’re fond of the English grammar tricks and its rules as well check our fascinating articles on this subject:

  1. How To Master The Subjunctive Mood
  2. How To Master Future Perfect Tense
  3. Frequent Grammar Mistakes Anyone Can Miss
  4. How To Learn English For Free And By Yourself?
  5. Usage Of Modal Verbs In Past And Present Tenses

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