follow Dictionary.com

Your favorite word could be our Word of the Day!

adverb

[ad-vurb] /ˈæd vɜrb/
noun, Grammar
1.
any member of a class of words that function as modifiers of verbs or clauses, and in some languages, as Latin and English, as modifiers of adjectives, other adverbs, or adverbial phrases, as very in very nice, much in much more impressive, and tomorrow in She'll write to you tomorrow. They relate to what they modify by indicating place (I promise to be there), time (Do your homework now!), manner (She sings beautifully), circumstance (He accidentally dropped the glass when the bell rang), degree (I'm very happy to see you), or cause (I draw, although badly).
See also sentence adverb.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; < Latin adverbium, equivalent to ad- ad- + verb(um) word, verb + -ium -ium; calque of Greek epírrhēma
Related forms
adverbless, adjective
Grammar note
For some, distinguishing adjectives from adverbs is impossibly confusing. Yet telling them apart should be easy. Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns (tight shoes, She is brilliant!), while adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs (drive carefully, rather hasty, more rapidly). Adjectives provide answers to “what kind,” “which one,” and “how many,” while adverbs answer “how,” “when,” and “where” (to boldly go, see you later, happening here).
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”!
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for adverb
  • The impact of the fifth iteration is found in the noun, verb, and adverb of the sentence.
  • However, the adjective and adverb forms of "southerly" can mean either "away" or "toward" the south, depending on the context.
  • Then is an adverb that denotes the passage of time.
  • The language flows less easily off the tongue with adjectives masquerading as adverbs.
  • Well is an adverb: I use the chocolate-maker well.
  • What adverb, almost invariably, accompanies the verb apologize? .
  • Knowing that "good" is not an adverb might help your cause.
  • Uninterested in lifting the hood, he focused ''maniacally'' -- a favorite adverb -- on what the machines would deliver.
  • Sound is both adjective (a sound sleep) and flat adverb (sound asleep).
  • Don't clutter up the lead, or the article, with adjectives and adverbs.
British Dictionary definitions for adverb

adverb

/ˈædˌvɜːb/
noun
1.
  1. 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
  2. (as modifier): an adverb marker
adv
Word Origin
C15–C16: from Latin adverbium adverb, literally: added word, a translation of Greek epirrhēma a word spoken afterwards
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for adverb
n.

late 14c., from Late Latin adverbium "adverb," literally "that which is added to a verb," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + verbum "verb, word" (see verb). Coined by Flavius Sosipater Charisius as a translation of Greek epirrhema "adverb," from epi- "upon, on" + rhema "verb."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
adverb in Culture

adverb definition


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.”

Note: Adverbs are often formed by adding -ly to an adjective, as in truly or deeply.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for adverb

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for adverb

12
14
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with adverb