What Are English Adverbs?

English adverbs are one word or a group of words that modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. Examples of adverb words include "very," "friendly," "quickly," "extremely" and "really."

A common method of changing adjectives to adverbs is adding "-ly" to the end of the word. For example, the adjective "slow" becomes the adverb "slowly." Adjectives that end with the letter "y" substitute it with the letter "i" before adding the "-ly." An example is the adjective "easy," which changes to the adverb "easily." Although "-ly" is the ending of many adverbs, not all words with the ending are adverbs.

When an adverb modifies a verb, it explains more about the verb, such as when, where, why or how the action is occurring. When an adverb modifies an adjective or another adverb, it adds a new degree to that word. An example of an adverb modifying an adjective is describing a car as "really fast," with the adverb "really" modifying the adjective "fast." In the example "very slowly," the adverb "very" modifies another adverb, "slowly." Adjectives can't modify adverbs.

A group of words with a subject and verb that serve as an adverb is called an adverb clause. A group that serves as an adverb without a subject and verb is an adverbial phrase.