What is an Adverb?
An adverb can modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a phrase, or a clause. An adverb indicates manner, time, place, cause, or degree and answers questions such as "how," "when," "where," "how much".
While some adverbs can be identified by their characteristic "ly" suffix, most of them must be identified by untangling the grammatical relationships within the sentence or clause as a whole. Unlike an adjective, an adverb can be found in various places within the sentence.
In the following examples, each of the highlighted words is an adverb:
- The seamstress quickly made the mourning clothes.
In this sentence, the adverb "quickly" modifies the verb "made" and indicates in what manner (or how fast) the clothing was constructed.
- The midwives waited patiently through a long labour.
Similarly in this sentence, the adverb "patiently" modifies the verb "waited" and describes the manner in which the midwives waited.
- The boldly spoken words would return to haunt the rebel.
In this sentence the adverb "boldly" modifies the adjective "spoken."
- We urged him to dial the number more expeditiously.
Here the adverb "more" modifies the adverb "expeditiously."
- Unfortunately, the bank closed at three today.
In this example, the adverb "unfortunately" modifies the entire sentence.
You can use a conjunctive adverb to join two clauses together. Some of the most common conjunctive adverbs are "also," "consequently," "finally," "furthermore," "hence," "however," "incidentally," "indeed," "instead," "likewise," "meanwhile," "nevertheless," "next," "nonetheless," "otherwise," "still," "then," "therefore," and "thus." A conjunctive adverb is not strong enough to join two independent clauses without the aid of a semicolon.
The highlighted words in the following sentences are conjunctive adverbs:
- The government has cut university budgets; consequently, class sizes have been increased.
- He did not have all the ingredients the recipe called for; therefore, he decided to make something else.
- The report recommended several changes to the ways the corporation accounted for donations; furthermore, it suggested that a new auditor be appointed immediately.
- The crowd waited patiently for three hours; finally, the doors to the stadium were opened.
- Batman and Robin fruitlessly searched the building; indeed, the Joker had escaped through a secret door in the basement.
Written by Heather MacFadyen