Origin of adverb
Related formsad·verb·less, adjective
Simply put, adverbs modify everything that adjectives don’t—including whole sentences! They are a grammatical wastebasket—the part of speech into which you toss anything you can’t otherwise categorize.
The source of bewilderment, then, may not be function but form. We think of adverbs as typically ending in -ly ( badly, quickly, completely ), unlike their adjective counterparts ( bad, quick, complete ). But some adjectives end in -ly ( cowardly lion, motherly affection, friendly persuasion), while some adverbs, called “flat” adverbs, do not (sit up straight, work hard, aim high ). To add to the ambiguity, a small number of words can function as adverbs with or without the classic ending (walk slow on the ice / speak more slowly; hold me close / a closely knit family). Still others shift meaning as they change form (She arrived late. Lately, she’s been doing that). And some are both adjectival and adverbial without changing form ( fast trains, run fast; early morning, wake up early ). No wonder the mind boggles.
Perhaps in response, there has been a resurgence of common adjectives used adverbially (You played amazing. It worked out fantastic. ) Similar flat adverbs, like sudden, extreme, and wondrous, were standard in early Modern English. But in the 18th century, grammar mavens began to disparage them, insisting on the -ly form, and for certain adverbs, that is now the norm. While our language may be shifting back toward increasing use of flat adverbs, an adjective where an adverb is expected may still be subject to criticism. It’s fine to use these newly flattened adverbs with friends, on social media, etc. But traditional cautions apply. It’s probably best to stay with established forms in academic writing, during a job interview, and in other circumstances that call for more formal language. You’re bound to do “great”!
Examples from the Web for adverb
King says comics exist largely to eliminate the adverb, and that for Grayson, action is character.The CIA Spook Turned Comic Book Scribe: Robin Grabs a Gun in ‘Grayson’|Rich Goldstein|June 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The influence of his deep acquaintance with French is shown in the position of the adverb in "I saw again somebody in the porch."Books and Persons|Arnold Bennett
The simple predicate may be modified by an adverb, an adverbial phrase, or an adverbial clause.An Advanced English Grammar with Exercises|George Lyman Kittredge
Just ask one of these questions and the word that answers it is the adverb in your sentence.
The second phrase, in earnest is modified by the adverb deeply.
These absolute constructions can ordinarily be rewritten into adverb clauses.
British Dictionary definitions for adverb
- a word or group of words that serves to modify a whole sentence, a verb, another adverb, or an adjective; for example, probably, easily, very, and happily respectively in the sentence They could probably easily envy the very happily married couple
- (as modifier)an adverb marker
Word Origin for adverb
Culture definitions for adverb
A part of speech that modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Adverbs usually answer such questions as “How?” “Where?” “When?” or “To what degree?” The following italicized words are adverbs: “He ran well”; “She ran very well”; “The mayor is highly capable.”