Unit 9.1

Adverbs Formation


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Introduction

Adverbs are expressions that function as modifiers of other elements in the clause. They can provide a wide range of information.

Form

Adverbs can be formed from adjectives according to their suffix. The various cases of the formation of adverbs can be regular, with exceptions or irregular.

Regular

The adverbs are generally formed by just adding -ly to adjectives.

Adjective Adverb
bad badly
beautiful beautifully
complete completely
extreme extremely
slow slowly

Exceptions

There are different exceptions to the regular formation:

  • adjective with suffix -y : change to -i before adding -ly:
Adjective Adverb
easy easily
happy happily
nasty nastily
  • if an adjective ends with consonant + -le, -e becomes -y:
Adjective Adverb
gentle gently
idle idly
noble nobly
  • adjective with suffix -ic: add -ally:
Adjective Adverb
drastic drastically
enthusiastic enthusiastically
tragic tragically

Irregular

There are also some irregular adverbs:

Adjective Adverb
full fully
public publicly
shy shyly
true truly

Friendly and timely are adjectives and if we want to use them as adverbs, we follow these structures:

  • friendly ⇒ in a friendly manner;
  • timely ⇒ in a timely manner.

Example

Regular:

  • I was badly injured in a car accident.
  • Honesty is extremely important to me. 
  • They asked me to speak more slowly. 

Exceptions:

  • I easily moved to another flat.
  • She gently opened the door.
  • The audience clapped enthusiastically. 

Irregular:

  • I publicly accused him of fraude. 
  • She shyly asked a question.
  • We offered her some orange juice in a friendly manner.

Use

We use an adverb to describe or give more information about a verb, adjective, phrase or another adverb.

Summary

Adverbs are expressions that function as modifiers of other elements in the clause. They give more information. In most cases, we are able to make an adverb from an adjective by simply adding -ly.

For example:
“Beautiful” ⇒ “Beautifully“. = We add -ly at the end of the adjective.

There are some exceptions, depending on the ending of the adjectives.

For example:
— With suffix-y, we change -y to -i and add -ly: “Easy ⇒ “Easily“.
— With Consonant + -le, we change -e to -y: “Noble ⇒ “Nobly“.
— With suffix -ic, we add -ally: “Drastic ⇒ “Drastically“.

Some adverbs are irregular and there is no rule for their formation (fully, publiclyin a timely manner…).

For example:
— “Publicly” ⇒ “Publicly”.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. And take a look to the [Examples] that show its use within a context.

Exercises

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