Kinds of Adverbs

There are 9 kinds of Adverbs—

  1. Adverb of Time (showing ‘time’)—The following are the more common Adverbs of Time— Now, then, before, after, since, ago, soon, late, early, presently, instantly, immediately, already, afterwards, never, when, whenever, today, tomorrow, yesterday, ever.


  1. Adverb of Place (showing ‘place’/ ‘Where’)—The following are the more common Adverbs of Place— Here, there, where, hence, thence, hither, thither, in, out, within, without, above, below, inside, outside, far, near, everywhere, away, forward, backward.


  1. Adverb of Number (showing ‘how often’/ ‘frequency’)—The following are the more common Adverbs of Number— How often, once, twice, thrice, often, seldom, frequently, rarely, again, always, firstly, secondly, thirdly, sometimes.


  1. Adverb of Quantity/Degree (showing ‘how much’)—The following are the more common Adverbs of Quantity or Degree— Too, almost, fully, very, enough, so, altogether, no better, pretty well, any, quite, rather, partly, wholly,


  1. Adverb of Manner (showing ‘how’ or ‘in what manner’)—The following are the more common Adverbs of Manner— Cheerfully, unwillingly, clearly, soundly, strongly, bravely, hard, thus, so, cowardly, slowly, quickly, actively, fast, nobly, proudly, lovingly.


  1. Adverb of Reason or Cause (showing ‘reason’/‘cause’)—The following are the more common Adverbs of Reason or cause— Owing to, due to, consequently, hence, therefore.


  1. Adverb of Affirmation or Negation (showing ‘yes’ or ‘no’)—The following are the more common Adverbs of Affirmation or Negation— yes, no, not, certainly, certainly not, yea, may, by all means.


  1. Interrogative Adverb (for asking questions)— The following are the more common Interrogative Adverbs— Why, when, what, where, how, how many, how long, how far, whence, whither, what, wherefore.


  1. Relative Adverb (showing ‘relationship’) —These Adverbs show ‘relationship’. In form they are like Interrogative Adverbs. Like Relative Adjcetives, they must have an Antecedent, and the Adverb must refer to this Antecedent. If there is no Antecedent before it, it would become Interrogative Adverb, and not Relative Adverb. The more common Relative Adverbs are these— What, when, where, why, how,whence, whither, whatever, wherever.


Degrees of Comparison in Adverbs

Some Adverbs, specially Adverbs of Manner, Degree and Time have three Degrees of comparison like Adjectives. The three Degrees are—


Positive Degree, Comparative Degree and Superlative Degree. Their Degrees are formed in the following three ways.


  1. The Adverbs of one syllable in their Positive Degree become Comparative or Superlative by adding -er or -est respectively. As—


  1. The Adverbs which end with ly, become Comparative or Superlative by using more or most before them. As—
Swiftlymore swiftlymost swiftly
Skilfullymore skilfullymost skilfully
Wiselymore wiselymost wisely
Intelligentlymore intelligentlymost intelligently
Regularlymore regularlymost regularly
Diligentlymore diligentlymost diligently
Slowlymore slowlymost slowly
Powerfullymore powerfullymost powerfully


Note—But with early we use earlier or earliest.


  1. But some Adverbs are there the Comparative or Superlative Degrees of which are formed under no rules. They are called irregular Adverbs. As—


Position of Adverbs


Rule 1—Position of Adverbs—

It is very important to know the correct place or position at which an Adverb should be used in a Sentence. If the Adverb is not placed at the correct position in a sentence, the meaning of the sentence would change, or it may even become absurd or meaningless. For example, see the position of only in the following sentence. You will see that the meaning of the sentence changes with the change of position of the Adverb only in it.


  • Only he can read. (i.e. no other person except he)
  • He can only read. (i.e. he can only read, but can neither write nor speak.)
  • He can read only. (i.e. He can do nothing except reading)

The following are the Rules of correct position of an Adverb in a Sentence—


(a) Adverb of Manner—It is generally used after the Verb, but if the verb has its object also, the Adverb is used after the Object. As—

  • He speaks softly. (Not, He softly speaks)
  • He drives cautiously. (Not, He cautiously drives)
  • He reads his book carefully. (Not, He reads carefully his book)
  • I visit him regularly. (Not, I regularly visit him)
  • She loves him heartily. (Not, She heartily loves him)


(b) Adverbs or Adverb phrases of Time and Place.

They are also used after the Verb. As—


  • He will return soon. (Not, He soon will return)
  • He goes there. (Not, He there goes)
  • I go home next week. (Not, I next week go home)
  • There were flowers everywhere. (Not, There were everywhere flowers)


(c) If after the verb or its object two or more than two Adverbs are to be used, they should be placed in this order—adverb of manner, adverb of place, adverb of time. As—

  • He spoke impressively at the function yesterday.
  • She wept bitterly at the playground last evening.
  • He comes regularly at the stadium every morning.
  • You should reach home by this evening.


(d) Adverbs of frequency (e.g. always, never, often, rarely, usually, generally, almost, already, hardly, nearly, just, quite) They are used between the Subject and Verb if the verb is of one word only (as, goes, runs, play, etc.), but if the verb has more than one word (as, is going, has been working), the Adverb is placed after the first word of the verb. As—


  • I just saw him at the gate.
  • He has already finished his work.
  • He has rarely been coming to me.
  • He has frequently been absenting himself from the class.
  • We usually go there.


(e) All the Adverbs listed above (under d) are placed after the Auxiliary Verbs (i.e. is, are, am, was, were), but before other verbs. As—

  • I am always ready.
  • He is often late.
  • We were never happy there.
  • He seldom comes here.
  • He generally travels by bus.
  • I frequently meet him in the market.


(f) If some stress is to be laid on a verb, or if a reply is to be given in a short form, all the Adverbs (listed above under d) should be placed before the Auxiliary Verbs or single verb be. As—

  • “He has again forgotten to bring his books.” “Yes, he always does forget to bring his books.”
  • “Are you free this evening ?” “Yes, I usually am free in the evenings.”
  • “When does he go to Bombay ?” “He already has gone to Bombay.”
  • “Do you travel by plane ?” “Yes, I sometimes do.” (short form answer)


(g) The Adverb is placed before the Auxiliaries have to / used to. As—

  • I often have to go by bus.
  • He always used to be kind to me.
  • He never has to go alone.

(h) The Adverb is placed before the Adjective or another adverb which it modifies. As—

  • His lecture was very interesting.
  • He is very highly qualified.
  • Do you drive so fast ?
  • He is wonderfully intelligent.

(i) Adverb enough is always placed after the word it modifies. As—

  • He was good enough to help me.
  • This house is large enough for our purpose.
  • He is brave enough to face the situation.


(j) Adverb only is placed just before the word it modifies. As—


  • He worked only for two hours yesterday.
  • I attempted only twice to climb to the top.


Note—But in spoken English only can be used before the Verb. As—


  • He only worked for two hours yesterday.
  • I only attempted twice to climb to the top.

(k) Negative Adverb ‘not’ is always placed between the Auxiliary Verb and the Principal Verb. As—


  • He did not reach in time.
  • I shall not meet him.
  • He has not spoken a word.


Rule 2—If an Adverb modifies

(a) the whole sentence or

(b) if it is meant to give very great stress, it is placed at the very beginning of the sentence. As—

  • Unfortunately a very serious accident occurred.
  • Luckily no one was killed.
  • Out came the lion from the den and stood before us.


Rule 3—Double Negative Double Negatives should not be used in a sentence. Double Negatives give either Affirmative meaning or no meaning at all. Their use is, therefore, wrong.


  • I cannot walk no further now. (There should be ‘any further’ is place of ‘no further’.)
  • Nothing never happened. (There should be ‘ever’ in place of ‘never’.)
  • I don’t want nothing. (There should be ‘anything’ in place of ‘nothing’.)
  • He was not honest neither. (There should be ‘either’ in place of ‘neither’)
  • I forbid you not to go there. (‘not’ should be removed from here because ‘forbid’ is already negative.)


Use of Some Typical Adverbs


‘Too’ means more than enough. Therefore too should not be used in place of very or much, otherwise it would give absurd meaning. For example, if we say. “I am too happy to hear of your success”, it would mean that “I am happy to the extent I should not have been.” Certainly this cannot be the intention of the speaker.

The correct form of this sentence would be, “I am very happy to hear of your success.” It should be remembered that ‘too’ has a negative sense or the sense of undesirability. Too should be used keeping in mind this sense of its meaning and implication. For example, the following sentences are wrong—

  • You are too kind to me.
  • She is too beautiful.
  • He is too intelligent.
  • You are too faithful to me.


Against these the following sentences are correct—

  • The day is too hot.
  • The price is too high for me.
  • The house is too small for my family.
  • You are still too weak.
  • The weather is too cold.
  • It is too much for me to bear.

2.Too + Infinitive

In some sentences an Infinitive is used after too. In such sentences also the sense of too is negative. In these sentences the use of too would be correct if it is meant to be negative, but its use would be wrong if it is meant to be affirmative. For example, see the following sentences—

  • He is too poor to buy a car.
  • He is too rich to buy a car.


The first of these sentences is correct because it means that— “He is so poor that he cannot buy a car.” But the second sentence is wrong because it would mean “He is so rich that he cannot buy a car.” The correct form of the second sentence would be, “He is rich enough to buy a car.” The following sentences are correct—

  • He is too weak to run.
  • The river is too deep for me to cross.
  • The enemy is too strong to be overcome easily.
  • The problem is too difficult for me to solve.

3.Very and Much

‘Very’ is used with Present Participle, and ‘much’ with Past Parti-ciple or Verb. As—


  • It was very surprising.
  • The game was very exciting.
  • He was much surprised.
  • I was much shocked to hear the news.
  • He was much confused.
  • He talks much.
  • He drinks much.


Note—But with some Past Participles the use of very is correct. As—


  • I was very pleased to hear the news.
  • He was very tired at the end of the journey.


Very and Much There is one more difference in the use of very and much. Very is used before the Positive Degree of an Adjective or an Adverb, and much before the Comparative Degree of an Adjective or an Adverb. As—

  • Ram’s house is much bigger than Mohan’s.
  • Mohan is much more trustworthy than Sohan.
  • Hari is much better placed than Rajesh.
  • Ram is very intelligent. 5. Mahesh is very poor.


Note—Under the above rule very much can also be used (in place of much) in the Comparative Degree, but not in the Positive Degree.


  1.  Very and Much can both be used in the Superlative Degree also but the rule is that Very is used after the Article the, and much before the. As—


  • He is much the best boy of the class.
  • Rakesh is much the richest man of the town.
  • Cow is the very gentlest animal.
  • This is the very best book available here.

6.Much and Very Much

Very much can be used with the Verb in Affirmative sentences only, but in the Negative sentences only much can be used. As—


  • I love him very much.
  • I don’t love him much. (Wrong to say—“I don’t love him very much”)


7.Very much, Too much, Much too and only too

All these four phrases have different meanings. ‘Very much’ means ‘completely’, ‘too much’ and ‘much too’ mean ‘more than necessary or desirable’, only too means ‘much’. As—


  • I am very much obliged to you.
  • His performance is very much disappointing.
  • It gives me too much pain.
  • It is much too painful.
  • I am only too glad to be here.

8.Too and Even

The difference between too and even is that too is used only for empha-sis, while even is used in the sense of ‘against or contrary to hope or expectation.’ For example, a brother is normally expected to help a brother, but if a brother does not help, we shall say—   ‘Even my brother did not help me.’ Similarly—


  • He helped me and my friend too.
  • He is intelligent and industrious too.
  • Even my father did not support me.
  • I could not even recognize him.

9.Little and A Little

Little and a little as Adverbs have the same meaning as Adjectives. Little is negative in sense meaning ‘almost nothing’ while a little means ‘not much’. As—

  • I little expected that he would pass. (i.e. There was almost no hope.)
  • I was a little disappointed. (i.e. The disappointment was not much.)

10.Since and Ever Since

They are both Abverbs of time. Since means from a certain point of time in the Past, while ever since means from a certain point of time to the Present. They are used with the Present Perfect Tense, but in the Indirect Narration they are used with Past Perfect Tense. As—

  • I met him five years ago and have remembered him ever since.
  • We were together in school days but we have met only twice since.
  • He assured me that he had never done so since.
  • We lived in Kashmir several years ago but we have remembered those happy days ever since.

 11.Else …… but

Else is followed by but, not than.

  • None else but the Prime Minister will inaugurate the Seminar.
  • I met none else but your father.
  • It is nothing else but arrogance.

12.Seldom or never/Seldom if ever

The correct expressions are seldom or never (not ever) and seldom if ever (not never).

  •  He seldom or never misbehaves with anybody.
  • He seldom if ever drinks.

13.Before and Ago

Both these are Adverbs of Time. Before is used with Simple Past Tense or Present Perfect Tense, while Ago is used with Simple Past Tense only (not with Present Perfect Tense). As—

  • I never before met such a rude man.
  • I have seen Jaipur before also.
  • I met him a month ago.
  • His father died a month ago.


Note—Ago suggests Past Tense, therefore it should not be used with any form of the Present Tense. Therefore the following sentences are wrong—

  • I have arrived here only a little ago.
  • I have completed my work an hour ago.


14.Yet and Still

Yet means ‘till now’ and still means ‘even now’. Generally yet is used at the e n d of a sentence, and still after an auxiliary or before single verbs.

  • He is still in service.
  • You are still a student.
  • I still love you.
  • He still needs my help.
  • He has not come yet.
  • He is sleeping yet.

15.Yet and Already

Already is used in Affirmative sentences and it means before this point of time. Yet is used in Negative or Interrogative sentences, and it means even now or not till now. As—

  • I have already finished my work.
  • He has left for office already.
  • I have not yet finished my work.
  • He has not yet left for office.
  • Are you not yet ready ?

 16.Yet/Already/So far/uptil now

All these are generally used with Present Perfect Tense. As—

  • He has not yet come.
  • I have already met him.
  • He has not met me so far.
  • He has not met me uptil now.


(a) Just means right now / not long before. Normally it is used with Present Perfect Tense. As—


  • He has just arrived.
  • I have just finished my story.


(b) Just can be used with simple past tense also, and there it means only / barely. As—

  • He just caught the train.
  • He just managed to escape.

(c) Just has one more meaning suggesting the sense of at this very moment / exactly. As—

  • The clock has just struck two.
  • He has just gone out.
  • This is just what I wanted.


Fairly/Rather Both these are Adverbs of Quantity. The difference between them is that fairly has the sense of liking / appreciation, while rather has the sense of disliking / disapproval. Therefore, care should be taken not to use expressions in which there may be mingling of liking and  disliking. For example, the following expressions are wrong—


(a) Fairly dull, fairly ugly, fairly bad, fairly slow, fairly cunning

(b) rather intelligent, rather beautiful, rather good, rather quick, rather honest, rather gentle


In the expressions given above fairly should be used in place of rather, and rather in place of fairly.

  • The weather is fairly pleasant. (Not rather pleasant)
  • The day is rather hot. (Not fairly hot)
  • The house is fairly comfortable.
  • The house is rather uncomfortable.


(a) ‘No’ is used like an Adjective before a Noun—

  • I have no pen.
  • There is no boy in the class.


(b) Not is used after an auxiliary—

  • He does not read.
  • He is not there.


(c) After the under-noted verbs Not is used in place of a Noun Clause. By this use the sentence becomes short also. Hope, believe, think, expect, suppose, be afraid

  • Can you go there ? I am afraid not.
  • Will he pass ? I expect not.
  • Is he fair ? I suppose not.


(d) Not is also used before an Infinitive or a gerund.

  • I request you not to disturb me.
  • You are wrong in not inviting him.


(a) No is also used before a Positive or Comparative Degree Adjective or a Comparative Degree Adverb.

  • This is no good pen.
  • There is no better pen.
  • You can travel no faster by any means.

(b) We should use not in place of no if the Article a or an has been used before the Noun or Adjective. As—


  • Not a tree or bush was there.
  • There was not a man in the hall.


(c) We should use no (not not) before good or different. As—

  • This is no good abusing him.
  • This is no different from that.


(d) We should use none before too + Adjective / Adverb or the + Comparative Adjective/ Adverb used in a sentence. As—

  • His behaviour towards us was none too good.
  • He is none the better in spite of my help.


Hard/Hardly Normally Hard is an Adjective, but it can also be used as an Adverb. As an Adverb it means hard labour. It is used after the Verb. As—

  • He worked hard (not hardly) for the examination.
  • He tried hard (not hardly) to win the prize.


Hardly is an Adverb of Degree. It means ‘very little’ / scarcely. It is used before a Single verb or after the First auxiliary in a Compound Verb. As—

  • I have seen him only once and therefore I hardly know what type of man he is.
  • He was so changed that I could hardly recognize him.
  • It is a new medicine; it has hardly been tried yet.


Note—For emphasis ‘Hardly’ can be used at the beginning of a sentence also. As— Hardly had the train stopped when he jumped out.


Late as Adverb means late in time. As—

  • He comes late every day.
  • The theft was committed late at night.
  • He married late in life.


Lately means ‘recently’. As—

  • He has lately started a new business.
  • He has lately shifted to a new house.



Most as Adverb means ‘maximum’/ ‘greatest’. As—

  • The man whom I like most is John.
  • The man who talks most is often hollow.


Mostly means ‘largely’. As—

  • The audience consisted mostly of students.
  • The students were mostly inattentive.
  • His stock consists mostly of outdated things.

  24.The Split Infinitive

An Infinitive, as we know, consists of to + verb. Therefore no adverb should be placed between to and the Verb. If we do so, we shall be splitting the Infinitive. In Grammar it is called split infinitive fault. For example, look at this sentence— “I request you to kindly grant me leave.”

In this sentence kindly has been placed between to and grant. This is a grammatical fault. The correct form of this sentence would be—‘I request you kindly to grant me leave.’ Accordingly, the following sentences are correct—


  • I advise you to read the book carefully.
  • I instruct you to call the doctor immediately.
  • I direct you to reach the office punctually every day.

25.Present Perfect and Adverb

In a sentence in the Present Tense, no Adverb or Adverbial phrase suggestive of Past Tense should be used. As such the following sentences are wrong—

  • I have arrived here yesterday.
  • I have joined my duties last month.
  • I have passed M. A. last year.


The above noted sentences are in the Present Perfect Tense, while the adverbs connected with them are suggestive of Past Tense. Therefore, they are all wrong. The correct form of these sentences would be as follows—


  • I arrived here yesterday.
  • I joined my duties last month.
  • I passed M. A. last year.

26.Introductory ‘There’

Some sentences begin with There. In these sentences There, has no significance, nor is it an Adverb of Place. In these sentences after There comes an Intransitive verb or verb to be, and after that comes the Subject. As—

  • There is a book on the table.
  • There is a man in the room.
  • There came a tiger from the wood.
  • There is a function tomorrow.


27.Adverb and Preposition

(a) Normally no Preposition is used before an Adverb. Therefore no Preposition should be used before such Adverbs as—Respectfully, humbly, politely, kindly, slowly, etc. Therefore the following sentences are wrong.

  • With respectfully I beg to submit.
  • With humbly I state.
  • With politely I reply as under.


With should be removed from all these sentences.


(b) Sometimes some time-showing words, such as morning, evening, day, night, month, year, etc. have such qualifying words before them as this, that, next, last, all, etc. In that case no Preposition is used before them. As—


  • He came last evening.
  • He left the next morning.
  • He worked all day.
  • He is coming this evening.
  • He did not go that day.


(c) But if the time – showing words are used without the qualifying words (this, that, next, last, etc.), proper Preposition should be used before them. As—


  • I shall meet you in the evening.
  • I don’t sleep in the day.
  • I shall come on sunday.
  • Don’t come in the night.


(d) Home is normally a Noun. But it is also used as an Adverb of Place. In that case, neither a Preposition nor a relative Adjective should be used before it. As—

“I am going home.” This sentence is correct. But we cannot say— I am going to home. or I am going my home. The following sentences are correct—


  • Now we should return home.
  • When do you go home ?
  • I go home by bus. Some Common Rules



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