What is Adverb | kinds of Adverb

An adverb is a word which usually modifies the meaning of a verb, adjective, another adverb, a preposition or a conjunction; as,

  1. A verb: The tortoise ran slowly but steadily.
  2. An adjective: That is a very sweet apple.
  3. An Adverb: He acted quite brilliantly.
  4. A Preposition: He failed in the examination entirely through his fault.
  5. A Conjunction: I sold the horse simply because it was lame.
  6. A sentence: Possibly, he did not mean all he said.

Formation of adverbs

Adverbs are formed in the following ways:

  1. By adding ‘ly’ to adjective; as, quickly, slowly, wisely, kindly.
  2. By adding ‘ly’ to Nouns; as, daily, monthly, weekly, yearly.
  3. By adding ‘ly’ to Participles; as, hurriedly, lovingly, etc.
  4. A few adverbs are formed by prefixing ‘a’ or ‘Prepositions’ to nouns, adjectives and verbs.
    • Nouns; as abroad, asleep, ahead, aside, beside, today, tomorrow, ashore, abed, etc.
    • Adjectives; as, afresh, along, anew, alone, beyond, between, behind, etc.
    • Adjectives; as herein, whereof, hereby, thereby, henceforth.
  5. Some Adverbs are formed by combining a Noun and an adjective; as. Yesterday, midway, meantime, sometimes, homewards, afterwards, straightaway.
  6. Adverbs of Number are formed thus one, once; two, twice; three, thrice; four, fourfold.

Kinds of Adverbs

According to their use, Adverbs are divided into three classes:

  1. Simple Adverbs : He runs fast. Do it now.
    The answers is quite correct.
  2. Interrogative Adverbs : Where do you live?
    Why are you late?
  3. Relative Adverbs : I know the time when he will come.
    This is the place where he lives.

Simple Adverbs

Simple Adverbs simply qualify the meaning of the words to which they are added. So, according to their meaning, Simple Adverbs are further sub-divided into the following classes:

  1. Adverbs of Time. Adverbs of Time show when the action is done; as,
    • He will return soon.
    • I have known him before.
    • He takes exercise daily.
    • John came back yesterday.
    • The Delhi Mail arrived late.
    • Do it now.
    • We leave for Haryana tomorrow.
  2. The words tomorrow, soon, before, daily, yesterday, late, now are Adverbs of Time. They show when the action is done. They answer the question “When ?” The words recently, lately, already, immediately, ago, before, are also Adverbs of Time.

  3. Adverbs of Place. Adverbs of Place show where the action is done; e.g.,
    • Come here
    • He lives there.
    • The thief ran away.
    • My father has gone out.
    • Your book is nowhere to be found.

    The words here, there, away, out and nowhere are adverbs of Place. They answer the question “Where ?” The words in, out, up, down, above and below are also used as adverbs of Place.

  4. Adverbs of Manner. Adverbs of Manner show how the action is done; e.g.,
    • He runs fast.
    • She walked slowly.
    • She sings sweetly.
    • He writes neatly.
    • The Child slept soundly.
    • The soldiers fought bravely.
    • You should not do so.

    The words fast, slowly, sweetly, neatly, soundly, bravely, hard and so, are Adverbs of Manner. The answer the question “How?”

  5. Adverbs of number or Frequency show how often an action taken place; e.g.,
    • He often helps the poor.
    • You should always speak the truth.
    • He seldom tells a lie.
    • I have told you once.
    • He went to Agra twice.

    The words often, always, seldom, never, sometime, once, twice are Adverbs of Number or frequency. They answer the question “How often ?”

  6. Adverbs of Degree or Quantity show how much or in what degree or to what extent; as,
    • These Apples are almost ripe.
    • She sings pretty well.
    • His lecture is rather dull.
    • The moon is very beautiful.
    • You are altogether mistaken.

    The words almost, pretty, rather, very and altogether in the above sentences are Adverbs of Degree or Quantity. They answer the question “How much?”. The words so, as, any, too, fully, fairly ans enough may also be used as Adverbs of Degree.

  7. Adverbs of Reason

    Notice the words in italics in these sentences:

    • His father has died, and he will, therefore, leave the school.
    • He is ill, hence unable to go to office.
    • As he was late, he was fined.

    The words hence, therefore, as, so, consequently, are used as Adverbs of Reason.

  8. Adverbs of Affirmation and Negation:

    Notice the words in italics in these sentences:

    • Do you know him? Yes, I do.
    • Has he left? No, he has not left so far.
    • You are certainly mistaken.
    • He will surely pass in first division.
    • Truly you are great.
    • He is decidedly a superior man.
    • No, I am not at all willing to go.

    Surely, certainly, truly, decidedly and yes are Adverbs of Affirmation. No, not, may, not at all, etc. are Adverbs of Negation.

Interrogation Adverbs

When adverbs are used in asking question, they are called Interrogative Adverbs. These adverbs are:

When ? Why ? How ? Where ? How for ? How long ? How often ? etc.


  • When do you get up?
  • Why are you late?
  • How do you do?
  • Where does he live?
  • How often do you pray to God?
  • How much milk did you buy yesterday?

Relative Adverbs

Relative Adverbs are the same in form as Interrogation Adverbs but instead of asking question they join two sentence together. Conjunctions also join clauses or sentence, but Relative adverbs modify the words with which they are used; as,

  • This is the house where I was born.
  • Sunday is the day when we take rest.
  • This is the reason why he was angry.

When, where and why in the above sentence are Relative Adverbs. They do double work, the work of an Adverbs and the work of a conjunction. They relate or refer back to their antecedents (nouns preceding  them) and  are, therefore, known as Relative Adverbs.

Note: Some Adjectives can be used as Adverbs also. These are: fast, hard, loud, early, enough, much.

Adjective                                                           Adverb

This is a fast train                                  This train runs fast.

This is a hard nut to crack.                          I am working hard these days.

There is much water in the tank.                      I am much better now.

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