Adverbs / Grammar

Adverbs: Meaning

What are adverbs?

Adverbs are words like now, then, today, tomorrow and carefully. An adverb modifies the meaning of a verb, an adjective or another adverb.

Read the following sentences:

  1. Alice smiled sweetly.
  2. Those mangoes were very sweet.
  3. He spoke quite loudly.

In sentence 1, the adverb sweetly shows how (or in what manner) Alice smiled. It modifies the verb smiled. In sentence 2, the adverb very says something about the sweetness of the mangoes. It modifies the adjective sweet. In sentence 3, quite says something about the manner in which he spoke. It modifies the adverb loudly.

Note that adverbs standing at the beginning of sentences sometimes modify the whole sentence, rather than a particular word.

Unfortunately no one was present there. (= It was unfortunate that no one was present there.) Probably I am mistaken. (= It is probable that I am mistaken.)

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