Section 1.5


Adverbs can modify any of three parts of speech: verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They often end in the letters ly — for example, gradually, regularly, languidly, and so on.

Some adverbs tell you how quickly something was done:

The executive assistant typed swiftly.

  • Swiftly modifies the verb typed.

Dr. Smith spoke slowly.

  • Slowly modifies the verb spoke.

Others tell you degree:

The supervisor was extremely disappointed.

  • Extremely modifies the adjective disappointed.

They wrote the speech very quickly.

  • Very modifies the adverb quickly, which in turn modifies the verb wrote.

Adverbs can also describe how often something takes place, when it takes place, where it takes place, and more. Other examples of adverbs include:

never sometimes
frequently late
there here
too not

Not all words that end in ly are adverbs. For instance, lovely is an adjective and, like other adjectives, can modify only nouns and pronouns.