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  • 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:

  • quietquietly nicenicely

  • clearclearly

  • 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:

  • healthyhealthily lazylazily

  • happyhappily

  • 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.

  • If it sounds right, it probably is.

  • If you want to understand word order rules in depth, you need to divide adverbs into

  • five different categories.

  • You already saw these categories in part one, although we didn't give them names.

  • Let's review now!

  • Adverbs of manner describe a verb.

  • They describe how someone does something.

  • For example: fast, lazily, or well.

  • Adverbs of time and place describe where or when something happens.

  • For example: yesterday, here, or in five minutes.

  • Adverbs of frequency describe how often something happens.

  • For example: often, sometimes, or never.

  • Adverbs of degree mostly add information to other adjectives or adverbs.

  • For example: very, too, or a little.

  • Comment adverbs describe a whole sentence or situation.

  • For example: unfortunately, basically, or obviously.

  • Here you have five different categories of adverb.

  • Mostly, where you put the adverb depends on the type of adverb it is.

  • So, for example, comment adverbs follow different rules to adverbs of manner.

  • 'Mostly'?

  • Why 'mostly'?

  • Of course, there are exceptions!

  • Remember, trust your instinct when you can.

  • Now, let's look at how to use these different types of adverb in an English sentence.

  • Adverbs of manner go after the verb or verb phrase which they describe.

  • For example:

  • He drives slowly.

  • She sings well.

  • Here, you have very simple examples: a verb followed by an adverb.

  • Remember that adverbs of manner can also follow a verb phrase.

  • For example:

  • She didn't handle the situation well.

  • Adverbs of time and place usually go at the end of the sentence or phrase, like this:

  • Let's leave in half an hour.

  • Is there a bank nearby?

  • If you have both, then adverbs of place go before adverbs of time:

  • She was here ten minutes ago.

  • Adverbs of frequency usually go before the main verb.

  • For example:

  • I usually get up early.

  • They hardly ever talk to each other.

  • There's one important exception here: if the main verb is be, adverbs of frequency

  • go after it:

  • He isn't often so talkative.

  • Adverbs of degree go before the word they describe:

  • It's absolutely freezing in here!

  • She took the news very calmly.

  • Comment adverbs usually go at the beginning of the sentence:

  • Basically, you've got two options.

  • Eventually, we had to admit that things weren't going how we expected.

  • That's a lot of rules!

  • It's good to have an idea of the rules, or know where to find them in case you want

  • to look something up.

  • However, you don't need to carry all of these in your head all the time.

  • Remember that you can (and should) use your instinct.

  • Finally, here are two important points which you can carry in your head and which you should

  • remember:

  • One: if the verb has two parts, most adverbs will go in the middle, before the main verb.

  • Try it: look at five sentences, and put the adverb in the right place.

  • Pause the video, and start again when you think you have the answers.

  • Ready?

  • Let's look at the answers:

  • 1.

  • They didn't even tell us they'd be late.

  • 2.

  • I've just spoken to her.

  • 3.

  • He's quickly becoming one of our most valuable team members.

  • 4.

  • I can probably do it by next Wednesday.

  • 5.

  • She hasn't always been like that.

  • Did you get them all right?

  • This is a useful rule, and many of the mistakes that English learners make with adverb word

  • order are related to this rule, so remember it!

  • We said before that there are two important points.

  • What's the second?

  • There can be more than one possible position for an adverb.

  • For example:

  • He can be very moody sometimes.