Definition and Types of Adverb | Parts of Speech

Definition of an Adverb

An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb. It provides us with further information about a verb, adjective or another adverb. It tells us in which manner, at what place or time, something happened, or is/was done. Look at the examples below.

  • Ali walks swiftly.
  • She took the grocery out of the shopping bags very
  • That is a really sweet child.

In the first example, the adverb swiftly is modifying the verb walks and is telling us the manner in which Ali walks.

In the second example, the adverb very is modifying another adverb, carefully.

In the third one, the adverb really is modifying the word sweet, which is an adjective.

Definition of adverb in dictionary

Definitions of adverb vary according to dictionaries. Click here for the definition of adverb in Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Kinds of Adverbs

Adverbs are categorized into many kinds, such as Adverbs of Time, Adverbs of Place, Adverbs of Frequency, Adverbs of Degree, Adverbs of Manner, Adverbs of Reason, Relative Adverbs, Interrogative Adverbs, Adverbs of Affirmation and Negation.

Adverbs of Time

Adverbs of time tell us about which time an action was performed. These answer the question: When? Common words which come under the category of adverbs of time are:

Ago, before, after, later, already, now, never, formerly, soon, since, etc

Examples in sentences:

  • I called my friend a few days ago.
  • formerly worked at the pizza shop.

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of Place tell us about at what place an action took place. These answer the question: Where? Common words which come under the category of adverbs of place are:

Here, there, up, out, in, within, away, etc

Examples in sentences:

  • Mr. Saud was visiting here an hour ago.
  • I’m going out with my family.

Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency show us about how often or how many times a thing took place. These answer the question: How often? Common words used as adverbs of frequency are:

Once, twice, again, often, seldom, rarely, always, frequently, etc

Examples in sentences:

  • often go to visit my grandparents.
  • It rarely rains around here.

Adverbs of Degree

Adverbs of Degree inform us about to what degree or an extent something happens. These answer the question: How much? Adverbs of Degree are also known as Adverbs of Quantity. Common words used as Adverbs of Degree or Quantity are:

Too, any, almost, so, pretty, rather, quite, partly, altogether, enough, etc

Examples in sentences:

  • I was pretty busy yesterday.
  • The sauce I bought today was good enough for making my pizza.

In the above examples, we can see that the words pretty and enough both answer the question of how much.

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of Manner give us information about how or in which manner some action is proceeded. These answer the question: How? Adverbs of manner usually are derived from adjectives and mostly end in -ly. Following are some common words that come under the adverbs of manner category:

Swiftly, clearly, foolishly, well, so, slowly, etc

Examples in sentences:

  • Hassan caught the loose snake bravely.
  • Her hair is always well combed.
  • She should do so.

Adverbs of Reason

Adverbs of Reason are the words that are used to state the reason or cause of some happening. These are also known as Adverb of Cause and answer the question: Why? The common words that come under this category are:

Because, hence, therefore, so, etc

Example in sentences:

  •  I therefore went to the market by myself.
  • He was hungry, so he went to the restaurant.

Adverbs of Affirmation and Negation

Adverbs of Affirmation are the words that are used to affirm or declare something as true. These validate things. These are the words that are commonly used as adverbs of affirmation:

Surely, certainly, definitely, very, obviously, yes, indeed, etc.


  • Surely it rained yesterday.
  • I am obviously going to get an A+ on my test.

Adverbs of negation are the words which denote a statement, action or an idea as false. It is used to negate something. Words commonly used to falsify something are:

No, never, invalidly, etc

Examples in sentences:

  • He never went to Italy.
  • no longer like to play table tennis.

Relative Adverbs

Relative Adverbs are the words which come before an adjective clause. These are: When, where and why.

Examples in sentences:

  • That was the reason why Harris came.
  • The place where I parked my car is very deserted.
  • She forgot the time when we went to the States.

Interrogative Adverbs

Interrogative Adverbs are the verbs used to ask questions. These are placed in the beginning of the sentence which contains the question. These words are commonly used as interrogative adverbs:

Why, where, how, when

Examples in sentences:

  • When will you come to visit?
  • How was the roast cooked?

Degrees of Adverbs

Like adjectives, adverbs also have Degrees of Comparison. But, only Adverbs of time, degree and manner admit to the comparison. Adverbs like now, then, there, once, etc cannot be compared because of their nature.

Degrees of Comparison

Adverbs of Manner, Degree and Time are changed in form very often to denote comparison. The degree to which these adverbs change, determines their degree. These degrees are called Degrees of Comparison.

There are three degrees of comparison: Positive Degree, Comparative Degree and Superlative Degree.

Positive Degree

An adverb with a positive degree is an adverb in its simple and original form. There is no comparison going on with anything. It just lets it known that some quality exists in something or someone. Look at the examples below.

  • She walked slowly.
  • The car is parked at a near location.

Comparative Degree

The comparative degree of an adverb shows that the presence of a quality in one thing is more or higher than its presence in the Positive. This degree is used when the comparison of two things is happening. Look at the examples below to get a more clear idea.

  • She walked more slowly than her friends.
  • The car is parked at a nearer location.

Superlative Degree

The Superlative Degree of Comparison is used when some quality in one thing or person is highest than anything or anyone else. Superlative degree is used when a thing or person is in comparison against more than one thing or person.


  • Of all the people, she walked the most slowly.
  • The car is parked at the next location.

In the above examples, we have compared the thing we were talking about with all the other things of the like. This is the highest form of comparison and hence is the Superlative Degree.