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An adverb is a word or an expression that modifies a
verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being ( ...
,
adjective In linguistics, an adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that grammatical modifier, modifies a noun or noun phrase or describes its referent. Its Semantics, semantic role is to change information given by the noun. ...
, another adverb, determiner,
clause In language, a clause is a part of the sentence that constitutes or comprises a predicate (grammar), predicate. A typical clause consists of a subject (grammar), subject and a predicate, the latter typically a verb phrase, a verb with any object ...
,
preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a part of speech, class of words used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark va ...
, or sentence. Adverbs typically express manner, place, time, frequency, degree, level of certainty, etc., answering questions such as ''how?'', ''in what way?'', ''when?'', ''where?'', and ''to what extent?''. This is called the
adverbial In grammar, an adverbial (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word (an adverb) or a group of words (an adverbial clause or adverbial phrase) that modifies or more closely defines the Sentence (linguistics), sentence or the verb. (Th ...
function, and may be performed by single words (adverbs) or by multi-word adverbial phrases and adverbial clauses. Adverbs are traditionally regarded as one of the parts of speech. Modern linguists note that the term "adverb" has come to be used as a kind of "catch-all" category, used to classify words with various types of
syntactic In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentences (sentence structure) in a given Natural language, language, usually including word order. The term ''syntax'' ...
behavior, not necessarily having much in common except that they do not fit into any of the other available categories (noun, adjective, preposition, etc.)


Functions

The English word ''adverb'' derives (through French) from Latin ''adverbium'', from ''ad-'' ("to"), ''verbum'' ("word", "verb"), and the nominal suffix ''-ium''. The term implies that the principal function of adverbs is to act as modifiers of
verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being ( ...
s or
verb phrase In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ph ...
s.Rodney D. Huddleston, Geoffrey K. Pullum, ''A Student's Introduction to English Grammar'', CUP 2005, p. 122ff. An adverb used in this way may provide information about the manner, place, time, frequency, certainty, or other circumstances of the activity denoted by the verb or verb phrase. Some examples: *She sang loudly (''loudly'' modifies the verb ''sang'', indicating the manner of singing) *We left it here (''here'' modifies the verb phrase ''left it'', indicating place) *I worked yesterday (''yesterday'' modifies the verb ''worked'', indicating time) *You often make mistakes (''often'' modifies the verb phrase ''make mistakes'', indicating frequency) *He undoubtedly did it (''undoubtedly'' modifies the verb phrase ''did it'', indicating certainty) Adverbs can also be used as modifiers of
adjective In linguistics, an adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that grammatical modifier, modifies a noun or noun phrase or describes its referent. Its Semantics, semantic role is to change information given by the noun. ...
s, and of other adverbs, often to indicate degree. Examples: * You are quite right (the adverb ''quite'' modifies the adjective ''right'') * She sang very loudly (the adverb ''very'' modifies another adverb – ''loudly'') They can also modify determiners,
prepositional phrase An adpositional phrase, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of lingu ...
s, or whole
clause In language, a clause is a part of the sentence that constitutes or comprises a predicate (grammar), predicate. A typical clause consists of a subject (grammar), subject and a predicate, the latter typically a verb phrase, a verb with any object ...
s or sentences, as in the following examples: * I bought practically the only fruit (''practically'' modifies the determiner ''the '' in the
noun phraseA noun phrase, or nominal (phrase), is a phrase that has a noun (or indefinite pronoun) as its head (linguistics), head or performs the same grammatical function as a noun. Noun phrases are very common linguistic typology, cross-linguistically, and t ...
, "the only fruit" wherein "only" is an
adjective In linguistics, an adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that grammatical modifier, modifies a noun or noun phrase or describes its referent. Its Semantics, semantic role is to change information given by the noun. ...
) * She drove us almost to the station (''almost'' modifies the prepositional phrase ''to the station'') * Certainly we need to act (''certainly'' modifies the sentence as a whole) Adverbs thus perform a wide range of modifying functions. The major exception is the function of modifier of
noun A noun (from Latin ''nōmen'', literally ''name'') is a word that functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Example nouns for: * Organism, Li ...
s, which is performed instead by adjectives (compare ''she sang loudly'' with ''her loud singing disturbed me''; here the verb ''sang'' is modified by the adverb ''loudly'', whereas the noun ''singing'' is modified by the adjective ''loud''). However, because some adverbs and adjectives are homonyms, their respective functions are sometimes conflated: *Even numbers are divisible by two *The camel even drank. The word "even" in the first sentence is an adjective, since it is a prepositive modifier that modifies the noun "numbers". The word "even" in the second sentence is a prepositive adverb that modifies the verb "drank." Although it is possible for an adverb to precede or to follow a noun or a noun phrase, the adverb nonetheless does ''not'' modify either in such cases, as in: *Internationally there is a shortage of protein for animal feeds *There is a shortage internationally of protein for animal feeds *There is an international shortage of protein for animal feeds In the first sentence, "Internationally" is a prepositive adverb that modifies the clause, "there is ..." In the second sentence, "internationally" is a postpositive adverb that modifies the clause, "There is ..." By contrast, the third sentence contains "international" as a prepositive adjective that modifies the noun, "shortage." Adverbs can sometimes be used as predicative expressions; in English, this applies especially to adverbs of location: *Your seat is there. *Here is my boarding pass (wherein "boarding pass" is the subject and "here" is the predicate in a syntax that entails a Subject–verb inversion in English, subject-verb inversion). When the function of an adverb is performed by an expression consisting of more than one word, it is called an adverbial phrase or adverbial clause, or simply an
adverbial In grammar, an adverbial (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word (an adverb) or a group of words (an adverbial clause or adverbial phrase) that modifies or more closely defines the Sentence (linguistics), sentence or the verb. (Th ...
.


Formation and comparison

In English language, English, adverbs of manner (answering the question ''how?'') are often formed by adding ''-ly'' to adjectives, but flat adverbs (such as in ''drive fast'', ''drive slow'', and ''drive friendly'') have the same form as the corresponding adjective. Other languages often have similar methods for deriving adverbs from adjectives (French language, French, for example, uses the suffix ''-ment''), or else use the same form for both adjectives and adverbs, as in German and Dutch, where for example ''schnell'' or ''snel'', respectively, mean either "quick" or "quickly" depending on the context. Many other adverbs, however, are not related to adjectives in this way; they may be derived from other words or phrases, or may be single morphemes. Examples of such adverbs in English include ''here, there, together, yesterday, aboard, very, almost'', etc. Where the meaning permits, adverbs may undergo comparison (grammar), comparison, taking comparative and superlative forms. In English this is usually done by adding ''more'' and ''most'' before the adverb (''more slowly, most slowly''), although there are a few adverbs that take inflection, inflected forms, such as ''well'', for which ''better'' and ''best'' are used. For more information about the formation and use of adverbs in English, see . For other languages, see below, and the articles on individual languages and their grammars.


Adverbs as a "catch-all" category

Adverbs are considered a part of speech in traditional English grammar, and are still included as a part of speech in grammar taught in schools and used in dictionaries. However, modern grammarians recognize that words traditionally grouped together as adverbs serve a number of different functions. Some describe adverbs as a "catch-all" category that includes all words that do not belong to one of the other parts of speech. A logical approach to dividing words into classes relies on recognizing which words can be used in a certain context. For example, the only type of word that can be inserted in the following template to form a grammatical sentence is a
noun A noun (from Latin ''nōmen'', literally ''name'') is a word that functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Example nouns for: * Organism, Li ...
: :The _____ is red. (For example, "The hat is red".) When this approach is taken, it is seen that adverbs fall into a number of different categories. For example, some adverbs can be used to modify an entire sentence, whereas others cannot. Even when a sentential adverb has other functions, the meaning is often not the same. For example, in the sentences ''She gave birth naturally'' and ''Naturally, she gave birth'', the word ''naturally'' has different meanings: in the first sentence, as a verb-modifying adverb, it means "in a natural manner", while in the second sentence, as a sentential adverb, it means something like "of course". Words like ''very'' afford another example. We can say ''Perry is very fast'', but not ''Perry very won the race''. These words can modify adjectives but not verbs. On the other hand, there are words like ''here'' and ''there'' that cannot modify adjectives. We can say ''The sock looks good there'' but not ''It is a there beautiful sock''. The fact that many adverbs can be used in more than one of these functions can confuse the issue, and it may seem like splitting hairs to say that a single adverb is really two or more words that serve different functions. However, this distinction can be useful, especially when considering adverbs like ''naturally'' that have different meanings in their different functions. Rodney Huddleston distinguishes between a ''word'' and a ''lexicogrammatical-word''. Grammarians find difficulty categorizing Affirmative and negative, negating words, such as the English ''not''. Although traditionally listed as an adverb, this word does not behave grammatically like any other, and it probably should be placed in a class of its own.Haegeman, Liliane. 1995. ''The syntax of negation''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


In specific languages

* In Dutch language, Dutch adverbs have the basic form of their corresponding
adjective In linguistics, an adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that grammatical modifier, modifies a noun or noun phrase or describes its referent. Its Semantics, semantic role is to change information given by the noun. ...
s and are not inflected (though they sometimes can be Comparison (grammar), compared). * In German language, German the term ''Adverb'' is differently defined than in the English language. German adverbs form a group of noninflectable words (though a few can be Comparison (grammar), compared). An English ''adverb'' which is derived from an adjective is arranged in German under the adjectives with ''adverbial use'' in the sentence. The others are also called adverbs in the German language. * In Scandinavian languages, adverbs are typically derived from adjectives by adding the suffix '-t', which makes it identical to the adjective's neuter form. Scandinavian adjectives, like English ones, are inflected in terms of comparison by adding '-ere'/'-are' (comparative) or '-est'/'-ast' (superlative). In inflected forms of adjectives, the '-t' is absent. Periphrastic comparison is also possible. * In Romance languages, many adverbs are formed from adjectives (often the feminine form) by adding '-mente' (Portuguese language, Portuguese, Spanish language, Spanish, Galician language, Galician, Italian language, Italian) or '-ment' (French language, French, Catalan language, Catalan) (from Latin ''mens, mentis'': mind, intelligence, or suffix ''-mentum'', result or way of action). Other adverbs are single forms which are invariable. * In Romanian language, Romanian, almost all adverbs are simply the masculine singular form of the corresponding adjective, one notable exception being ''bine'' ("well") / ''bun'' ("good"). However, there are some Romanian adverbs built from certain masculine singular nouns using the suffix ''"-ește"'', such as the following ones: ''băieț-ește'' (boyishly), ''tiner-ește'' (youthfully), ''bărbăt-ește'' (manly), ''frăț-ește'' (brotherly), etc. * Interlingua also forms adverbs by adding '-mente' to the adjective. If an adjective ends in ''c'', the adverbial ending is '-amente'. A few short, invariable adverbs, such as ''ben'', "well", and ''mal'', "badly", are available and widely used. * In Esperanto, adverbs are not formed from adjectives but are made by adding '-e' directly to the word root. Thus, from ''bon'' are derived ''bone'', "well", and ''bona'', "good". See also: special Esperanto adverbs. * In Hungarian language, Hungarian adverbs are formed from adjectives of any degree through the suffixes ''-ul/ül'' and ''-an/en'' depending on the adjective: ''szép'' (beautiful) → ''szépen'' (beautifully) or the comparative ''szebb'' (more beautiful) → ''szebben'' (more beautifully) * Modern Standard Arabic forms adverbs by adding the indefinite accusative ending '-an' to the root: ''kathiir-'', "many", becomes ''kathiiran'' "much". However, Arabic often avoids adverbs by using a cognate accusative followed by an adjective. * Austronesian languages generally form comparative adverbs by repeating the root (as in Wiki, WikiWiki) like the plural noun. * Japanese language, Japanese forms adverbs from verbal adjectives by adding /ku/ (く) to the stem (haya- "rapid" hayai "quick/early", hayakatta "was quick", hayaku "quickly") and from nominal (linguistics), nominal adjectives by placing /ni/ (に) after the adjective instead of the copula /na/ (な) or /no/ (の) (rippa "splendid", rippa ni "splendidly"). The derivations are quite productive, but from a few adjectives, adverbs may not be derived. * In the Celtic languages, an adverbial form is often made by preceding the adjective with a preposition: ''go'' in Irish language, Irish or ''gu'' in Scottish Gaelic, meaning 'until'. In Cornish language, Cornish, ''yn'' is used, meaning 'in'. * In Modern Greek, an adverb is most commonly made by adding the endings <-α> or <-ως> to the root of an adjective. Often, the adverbs formed from a common root using each of these endings have slightly different meanings. So, <τέλειος> (, meaning "perfect" and "complete") yields <τέλεια> (, "perfectly") and <τελείως> (, "completely"). Not all adjectives can be transformed into adverbs by using both endings. <Γρήγορος> (, "rapid") becomes <γρήγορα> (, "rapidly"), but not normally *<γρηγόρως> (*). When the <-ως> ending is used to transform an adjective whose tonal accent is on the third syllable from the end, such as <επίσημος> (, "official"), the corresponding adjective is accented on the second syllable from the end; compare <επίσημα> () and <επισήμως> (), which both mean "officially". There are also other endings with particular and restricted use as <-ί>, <-εί>, <-ιστί>, etc. For example, <ατιμωρητί> (, "with impunity") and <ασυζητητί> (, "indisputably"); <αυτολεξεί> ( "word for word") and <αυτοστιγμεί> (, "in no time"); <αγγλιστί> [ "in English (language)"] and <παπαγαλιστί> (, "by rote"); etc. * In Latvian language, Latvian, an adverb is formed from an adjective by changing the masculine or feminine adjective endings -s and -a to -i. "Labs", meaning "good", becomes "labi" for "well". Latvian adverbs have a particular use in expressions meaning "to speak" or "to understand" a language. Rather than use the noun meaning "Latvian/English/Russian", the adverb formed form these words is used. "Es runāju latviski/angliski/krieviski" means "I speak Latvian/English/Russian" or, literally, "I speak Latvianly/Englishly/Russianly". If a noun is required, the expression used means literally "language of the Latvians/English/Russians", "latviešu/angļu/krievu valoda". *In Russian language, Russian, and analogously in Ukrainian Language, Ukrainian and some other Slavic languages, most adverbs are formed by removing the adjectival suffices "-ий" "-а" or "-е" from an adjective, and replacing them with the adverbial "-о". For example, in Ukrainian, "швидкий", "гарна", and "смачне" (fast, nice, tasty) become "швидко", "гарно", and "смачно" (quickly, nicely, tastefully), while in Russian, "быстрый", "хороший" and "прекрасный" (quick, good, wonderful) become "быстро", "хорошо", "прекрасно" (quickly, well, wonderfully). Another wide group of adverbs are formed by gluing a
preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a part of speech, class of words used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark va ...
to an oblique case form. In Ukrainian, for example, (до ''onto'') + (долу ''bottom'') → (додолу ''downwards''); (з ''off'') + (далеку ''afar'') → (здалеку ''afar-off'') . As well, note that adverbs are mostly placed before the verbs they modify: "Добрий син гарно співає." (A good son sings nicely/well). There is no specific word order in East Slavic languages. * In Korean language, Korean, adverbs are commonly formed by replacing the -다 ending of the dictionary form of a descriptive verb with 게. So, 쉽다 (easy) becomes 쉽게 (easily). They are also formed by replacing the 하다 of some compound verbs with 히, e.g. 안녕하다 (peaceful) > 안녕히 (peacefully). * In Turkish language, Turkish, the same word usually serves as adjective and adverb: ''iyi bir kız'' ("a good girl"), ''iyi anlamak'' ("to understand well''). * In Chinese language, Chinese, adverbs end in the word "地(的)". * In Persian language, Persian, many adjectives and adverbs have the same form such as "خوب", "سریع", "تند" so there is no obvious way to recognise them out of context. The only exceptions are Arabic adverbs with a "اً" suffix such as "ظاهراً" and "واقعاً".


See also

* Flat adverb (as in ''drive fast'', ''drive slow'', ''drive friendly'') * :Adverbs by type * Prepositional adverb * Pronominal adverb * Grammatical conjunction


References


Bibliography

*Ernst, Thomas. 2002. ''The syntax of adjuncts''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. *Jackendoff, Ray. 1972. ''Semantic Interpretation in Generative Grammar''. MIT Press,


External links


The Online Dictionary of Language Terminology
{{Authority control Parts of speech