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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.
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Examples from the web for adverbs
  • On a good day, she might write a grammatical sentence, provided that there were no confusing adjectives or adverbs.
  • The language flows less easily off the tongue with adjectives masquerading as adverbs.
  • They are direct and clean, the movie equivalent to prose that dispenses with adjectives and adverbs.
  • They are divested not only of adjectives and adverbs, but of words themselves, almost as if the authors didn't know any.
  • We have to use adverbs and adjectives, prepositional phrases and interjections all over the place to effectively communicate.
  • Modifying adverbs should be placed either before or after the infinitive, never in the middle.
  • Choose adverbs to describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.
  • Conjunctive adverbs provide transitional links in thoughts from one idea to the next.
  • The target words usually are adjectives or adverbs that suggest qualities of people, animals, or actions.
  • Conjunctive adverbs and semicolons are used to join clauses together.
British Dictionary definitions for adverbs

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
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Word Origin and History for adverbs

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
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adverbs 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.
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Word Value for adverbs

13
15
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