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Parts of Speech: Adverbs

    Definition

    • An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective or another adverb. Just like adjectives modify nouns, adverbs modify these other parts of speech. Capital Community College explains that adverbs "often tell when, where, why or under what conditions something happens or happened." Moreover, adverbs answer a question and provide more information about the verb, adjective or adverb they modify.

    Examples

    • Adverbs answer a question, providing additional information about the verb, adjective or adverb that they modify. In the sentence "The snow fell quickly," the adverb "quickly" answers the question "How fast did the snow fall?" and modifies the verb. In "The restaurant was extremely crowded," the adverb "extremely" serves as a modifier for "crowded." In cases when the adverb describes another adverb, such as "He performed rather impressively," the word gives more context to the adverb.

    Exercises

    • Teachers can improve students' understanding of adverbs with a number of in-class activities. Fill-in-the-blank activities are best because they challenge students to come up with the proper adverb. Teachers can compose sentences that require either an adjective or adverb. Let students choose which part of speech is correct.

      Teachers can also pair up students and have them interview each other. Require that students incorporate adverbs into their answers. For example, if one student asks, what is your best sport, the other student can respond with an adverb in the sentence, such as "I play soccer very well."

    Helpful Tips

    • You can often identify adverbs because they end in -ly -- words like "quickly," "easily" and "immediately" are adverbs. Not every -ly word is an adverb, however, so this is a guide to follow but not a hard and fast rule.

      Many writers confused "good" and "well." Remember that "good" is an adjective that describes a noun or pronoun, while "well" is an adverb. So, the student did a good job, but the student performed well.

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