Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hi, I'm Stephanie. Welcome to Oxford Online English! In this lesson, you can learn about adverbs. What do adverbs do? What's the difference between adjectives and adverbs? How do you use adverbs in English? You can learn the answers to these questions in this lesson. Let's start with a challenge. Can you write down five English adverbs? Pause the video and do it now. Ready? I'm guessing you wrote down words ending with -ly. For example: quickly slowly Or: clearly These are all adverbs. However, there are many other adverbs. Many of them don't end with -ly, like these: fast too Or: often Many adverbs aren't just one word. Adverbs can be two words, or even whole phrases. For example: last week in a very strange way for the last six years So you might be thinking: what do adverbs actually do? What are adverbs? Adverbs are describing words. They add information to something else in your sentence. Adverbs can describe many different things. You can use an adverb to describe a verb, like this: He speaks very loudly. Does everyone drive that fast in this city? I think I sound better than I did the first time. The adverbs add information to the verbs These adverbs all describe the verbs by saying how someone did something. For example, look at the first sentence: he speaks very loudly. The adverb loudly tells you how he speaks. You can also use adverbs to add information to verbs in other ways. For example: I kind of enjoyed it, but it could have been better. We talked a little, but we didn't have time to discuss everything. What else? Well, you can use an adverb to show when, where, or how often something happens. For example: Let's meet at eight o'clock. She moved overseas after she graduated. I don't often have time to cook for myself. Remember that adverbs can be phrases; adverbs aren't always single words. Another point: adverbs can add information to adjectives, or even to other adverbs! How does this work? Can you think of any examples of this? Here are some examples: It was a really exciting trip. It's too hot in here. She works incredibly hard. You can see two examples where an adverb describes an adjective… …and one example where an adverb describes another adverb. Remember that hard here is an adverb, because it describes a verb, works. Is that everything? No, not quite! Adverbs can do one more thing. Adverbs can also express your opinion about a situation. Look at three sentences: She's obviously the best of the candidates we've seen so far. Apparently, they're not sure they want to get married any more. Fortunately, we were able to recover most of the files. These adverbs are different because they don't just add information to one word; they add information to the whole sentence. So, you can see that adverbs can do many, many different things. They can describe verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, or even whole sentences. But, there's a connection. Do you remember what we said at the start of this section? Adverbs describe other things. They add information to something else in your sentence. Now, let's look at our next question: how do you form adverbs? Actually, this question isn't always relevant. For most English adverbs, you don't need to 'form' them. They just exist! For example: too, very, sometimes, always, here and soon are all adverbs, and you don't need to do anything to them. So, why ask the question at all? For some adverbs, you can form them from adjectives. This is mostly true for adverbs which describe verbs: adverbs which describe how someone does something. For example, slow is an adjective. How can you make an adverb from it? Look at a sentence and complete the missing word: He eats very s________. Do you know the answer? The answer is slowly. You add -ly to the adjective to make an adverb. This is the same for many adverbs which describe verbs. For example: quiet → quietly nice → nicely clear → clearly Can you use these adverbs in a sentence? Pause the video and write down three sentences using these adverbs. Of course, there are many possibilities! Here are some suggestions: Everyone was sitting quietly and reading. He sings very nicely. You clearly told me that you would be here at ten thirty. However, even here, you can't just think 'add -ly to an adjective'. It doesn't always work! First, if an adjective ends with -y, you need to change -y to -ily to make an adverb. For example: healthy → healthily lazy → lazily happy → happily Secondly, some words don't change their form. The same word can be either an adjective or an adverb. For example: He's a really fast worker. He works really fast. You're a better dancer than you used to be. You dance better than you used to. Fast and better can be used as adjectives or adverbs, and the form of the word doesn't change. Thirdly, some adjectives already end in -ly like ugly, friendly, likely or oily. These adjectives can't be made into adverbs. Finally, some adverbs are irregular. Words which don't change, like fast or better, are examples of irregular adverbs. There's one more important one: what's the adverb from the adjective good? The answer is well. For example: She's a good writer. She writes well. Now, you know how to form adverbs from adjectives. Remember that you don't need to 'form' most adverbs. Most adverbs are ready for you to use, and you don't have to do anything to them! So, now seems like a good time to ask a new question: what's the difference between adjectives and adverbs? Hopefully, you have enough information from parts one and two to answer this question. Do you know the answer? Adjectives and adverbs both describe other words. Adjectives describe nouns. For example: Are you a good cook? He has a loud voice. My computer is so slow! Adverbs describe everything else: verbs, adjectives, adverbs and whole sentences. That sounds easy, right? So, let's test your skills! Look at four sentences. Is the word in red an adjective or an adverb? It's unlikely that we'll be there on time. I found the exam really hard. I worked really hard preparing for the exam. He hardly studied at all, but he got a high score! What do you think? Pause the video if you want more time to think about it. Unlikely and hard are adjectives. Hard and hardly are adverbs. Did you get the right answers? There are two things to pay attention to here. One: the form of the word doesn't tell you if it's an adjective or an adverb. Unlikely ends in -ly, but it's not an adverb; it's an adjective. Hard in the third sentence doesn't end in -ly, but it's an adverb which describes a verb. Two: the same word can be an adjective or an adverb in different sentences, like hard, which is an adjective in the second sentence, but an adverb in the third sentence. So, what can you do here? You can't depend on memory. If you think something like, 'Hard is an adjective', that won't work all the time. Don't look at the form of the word; look at what the word does in the sentence. Does the word describe a noun? It's an adjective. Does it describe something else: a verb, an adjective, another adverb, or the whole sentence? It's an adverb. Next, let's look at one more important question: how do you use adverbs in a sentence? More specifically: where should you put the adverb? Let's start with a simple point: word order rules for adverbs in English are complicated. There are many rules, and as usual the rules don't work all of the time. So, if you want to use an adverb and you're not sure where it should go in the sentence, trust your instinct first.