Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Technical stuff – part 9: adverbs

with 6 comments

A Bernese Mountain Dog has a nice yawn.
Image via Wikipedia

Adverbs are words that give us extra information, very often about the way something is being done. We use such words all the time.

In the following sentences the adverbs are in bold:

She strutted confidently along the catwalk and posed beautifully for the photographers.

He groaned quietly and violently pushed back his chair.

The dog yawned sleepily.

She spoke thoughtfully and carefully wrote down all the questions that were asked.

Adverbs are often formed by adding the letters ‘ly’ to an adjective (or describing word). For example:

‘Confident’ is an adjective: ‘confidently’ is an adverb.

‘Beautiful’ is an adjective: ‘beautifully’ is an adverb.

Nouns, verbs and adjectives

When adverbs go bad: a word of warning

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Written by Wordwatch

25/01/2010 at 1:43 pm

6 Responses

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  1. You explained that welly.

    Michael Farrell

    25/01/2010 at 3:40 pm

    • Troublemaker. ‘Well’ is an adverb as well as an adjective — and so no need to add the ‘ly’. I also had to use up calories looking up how to spell ‘mischievous’ — so no mid-morning cake or gold star for you today.

      Deborah

      25/01/2010 at 3:51 pm

  2. Moi?? *looking wounded*

    Michael Farrell

    25/01/2010 at 5:27 pm

    • OK — one dry biscuit then.

      Deborah

      26/01/2010 at 7:28 am

  3. For a lot of people, the trick is being able to use them in what they write. The trick for me is getting myself to lay off of them. If I only had a penny for every time I’ve had to go through a blog post’s draft and clean out all 35+ redundant adverbs. ha!

    I love your niche here. 🙂

    gemarrs

    26/01/2010 at 12:46 am

    • Hi gemarrs — Welcome, and thank you for your kind words. Yes, I know what you mean about weeding out adverbs. It can take discipline!

      Deborah

      26/01/2010 at 7:17 am


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