An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, determiner, clause, preposition, or sentence. Adverbs typically express manner, place, time, frequency, degree, level of certainty, etc., answering questions such as how?, in what way?, when?, where?, and to what extent?. This function is called the adverbial function, and may be realized by single words (adverbs) or by multi-word expressions (adverbial phrases and adverbial clauses).
Adverbs are traditionally regarded as one of the parts of speech. However, modern linguists note that the term "adverb" has come to be used as a kind of "catch-all" category, used to classify words with various different types of syntactic behavior, not necessarily having much in common except that they do not fit into any of the other available categories (noun, adjective, preposition, etc.)
The English word adverb derives (through French) from Latin adverbium, from ad- ("to"), verbum ("word", "verb"), and the nominal suffix -ium. The term implies that the principal function of adverbs is to act as modifiers of verbs or verb phrases. An adverb used in this way may provide information about the manner, place, time, frequency, certainty, or other circumstances of the activity denoted by the verb or verb phrase. Some examples:
Adverbs can also be used as modifiers of adjectives, and of other adverbs, often to indicate degree. Examples:
Adverbs thus perform a wide range of modifying functions. The major exception is the function of modifier of nouns, which is performed instead by adjectives (compare she sang loudly with her loud singing disturbed me; here the verb sang is modified by the adverb loudly, whereas the noun singing is modified by the adjective loud). However, because some adverbs and adjectives are homonyms, their respective functions are sometimes conflated:
The word “Even”' in the first sentence is an adjective, since it is a prepositive modifier that modifies the noun, “numbers” (compare “these even numbers ...”). By contrast, the word “Even”' in the second sentence is a prepositive adverb that modifies the clause, “'camels need to drink.” The word “Even” in the third sentence also is a prepositive adverb that modifies the clause containing the “a camel” a noun phrase. Although it possible for an adverb to precede or to follow a noun or a noun phrase, the adverb nonetheless does not modify either in such cases, as in:
In the first sentence, “Internationally” is a prepositive adverb that modifies the clause, “'there is…” In the second sentence, “internationally” is a postpositive adverb that modifies the clause, “There is…” By contrast, the third sentence contains “international” as a prepositive adjective that modifies the noun, “shortage.”
Adverbs can sometimes be used as predicative expressions; in English this applies especially to adverbs of location:
In English, adverbs of manner (answering the question how?) are often formed by adding -ly to adjectives. Other languages often have similar methods for deriving adverbs from adjectives (French, for example, uses the suffix -ment), or else use the same form for both adjectives and adverbs, as in German and Dutch where for example schnell or snel, respectively, can mean either "quick" or "quickly", depending on the context. Many other adverbs, however, are not related to adjectives in this way; they may be derived from other words or phrases, or may be single morphemes. Examples of such adverbs in English include here, there, together, yesterday, aboard, very, almost, etc.
Where the meaning permits, adverbs may undergo comparison, taking comparative and superlative forms. In English this is usually done by adding more and most before the adverb (more slowly, most slowly), although there are a few adverbs that take inflected forms, such as well, for which better and best are used.
For more information about the formation and use of adverbs in English, see English grammar § Adverbs. For other languages, see § In specific languages below, and the articles on individual languages and their grammars.
Adverbs are considered a part of speech in traditional English grammar, and are still included as a part of speech in grammar taught in schools and used in dictionaries. However, modern grammarians recognize that words traditionally grouped together as adverbs serve a number of different functions. Some describe adverbs a "catch-all" category that includes all words that do not belong to one of the other parts of speech.
A logical approach to dividing words into classes relies on recognizing which words can be used in a certain context. For example, the only type of word that can be inserted in the following template to form a grammatical sentence is a noun:
When this approach is taken, it is seen that adverbs fall into a number of different categories. For example, some adverbs can be used to modify an entire sentence, whereas others cannot. Even when a sentential adverb has other functions, the meaning is often not the same. For example, in the sentences She gave birth naturally and Naturally, she gave birth, the word naturally has different meanings: in the first sentence, as a verb-modifying adverb, it means "in a natural manner", while in the second sentence, as a sentential adverb, it means something like "of course".
Words like very afford another example. We can say Perry is very fast, but not Perry very won the race. These words can modify adjectives but not verbs. On the other hand, there are words like here and there that cannot modify adjectives. We can say The sock looks good there but not It is a there beautiful sock. The fact that many adverbs can be used in more than one of these functions can confuse the issue, and it may seem like splitting hairs to say that a single adverb is really two or more words that serve different functions. However, this distinction can be useful, especially when considering adverbs like naturally that have different meanings in their different functions. Rodney Huddleston distinguishes between a word and a lexicogrammatical-word.
Grammarians find difficulty categorizing negating words, such as the English not. Although traditionally listed as an adverb, this word does not behave grammatically like any other, and it probably should be placed in a class of its own.
An adverbial clause is a dependent clause that functions as an adverb; that is, the entire clause modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. As with all clauses, it contains a subject and predicate, although the subject as well as the (predicate) verb may sometimes be omitted and implied (see below).An adverbial clause is commonly, but not always, fronted by a subordinate conjunction—sometimes called a trigger word. (In the examples below the adverbial clause is italicized and the subordinate conjunction is bolded.)
Mary, the aspiring actress, became upset as soon as she saw the casting list.
(subject: she; predicate: saw the casting list; the clause modifies the verb became)
Peter Paul, the drama teacher, met with Mary after she came to the next class.''
(explicit subject: she; predicate: came to the next class.; predicate (verb): came; the clause modifies the verb met)
He talked carefully in order to appear fair.
He talked carefully in order .. [that 'he'] appear fair.
(implied subject, he, is omitted; predicate (verb): appear; the clause modifies the adverb carefully)
The little boy preferred fierce dinosaurs, as [was] T rex.
(subject of the clause: T rex; predicate of the clause: [was], implied; the clause modifies the adjective fierce.)According to Sidney Greenbaum and Randolph Quirk, adverbial clauses function mainly as adjuncts or disjuncts, which parts also perform in a sentence as adverbial phrases or as adverbial prepositional phrases (Greenbaum and Quirk,1990). Unlike clauses, phrases do not contain a subject and predicate; they are contrasted here:
We left the convention the day before.
(adverbial phrase; contains no subject or predicate)
We left before the speeches.
(adverbial prepositional phrase; contains no subject or predicate—and no verb (action) is implied)
We left after the speeches ended.
(adverbial clause; contains subject and predicate)
We left after the speeches.
or, (".. after the speeches [ended]")
(adverbial clause; contains subject and predicate, but the verb 'ended' is omitted and implied)Adverbial phrase
In linguistics, an adverbial phrase ("AdvP") is a multi-word expression operating adverbially: its syntactic function is to modify other expressions, including verbs, adjectives, adverbs, adverbials, and sentences. Adverbial phrases can be divided into two types: complement adverbs versus modifier adverbs. For example, in the sentence She sang very well, the expression very well is an adverbial phrase, as it modifies the verb sing. More specifically, the adverbial phrase very well contains two adverbials, very and well: while well modifies the verb to convey information about the manner of singing (for example, She sang well versus She sang badly), very is a degree modifier that conveys information about the degree to which the action of singing well was accomplished (for example, Not only did she sing well, she sang very well).Comparison (grammar)
Comparison is a feature in the morphology or syntax of some languages, whereby adjectives and adverbs are inflected or modified to indicate the relative degree of the property defined by the adjective or adverb. The comparative expresses a comparison between two (or more) entities or groups of entities in quality, quantity, or degree; the superlative is the form of an adverb or adjective that is the greatest degree of a given descriptor.
The grammatical category associated with comparison of adjectives and adverbs is degree of comparison. The usual degrees of comparison are the positive, which simply denotes a property (as with the English words big and fully); the comparative, which indicates greater degree (as bigger and more fully); and the superlative, which indicates greatest degree (as biggest and most fully). Some languages have forms indicating a very large degree of a particular quality (called elative in Semitic linguistics). Other languages (e.g. English) can express lesser degree, e.g. beautiful, less beautiful, least beautiful.
The comparative is frequently associated with adjectives and adverbs because these words take the -er suffix or modifying word more or less (e.g., faster, more intelligent, less wasteful); it can also, however, appear when no adjective or adverb is present, for instance with nouns (e.g., more men than women). One preposition, near, also has a superlative form, as in Find the restaurant nearest your house.Conjunctive adverb
A conjunctive adverb, adverbial conjunction, or subordinating adverb is an adverb that connects two clauses by converting the clause it introduces into an adverbial modifier of the verb in the main clause. For example, in “I told him; thus he knows” and “I told him. Thus he knows”, “thus” is a conjunctive adverb.Demonstrative
Demonstratives (abbreviated DEM) are words, such as this and that, used to indicate which entities are being referred to and to distinguish those entities from others. They are typically deictic; their meaning depending on a particular frame of reference and cannot be understood without context. Demonstratives are often used in spatial deixis (where the speaker or sometimes the listener are to provide context), but also in intra-discourse reference (including abstract concepts) or anaphora, where the meaning is dependent on something other than the relative physical location of the speaker, for example whether something is currently being said or was said earlier.
Demonstrative constructions include demonstrative adjectives or demonstrative determiners, which qualify nouns (as in Put that coat on); and demonstrative pronouns, which stand independently (as in Put that on). The demonstratives in English are this, that, these, those, and the archaic yon and yonder, along with this one or that one as substitutes for the pronoun use of this or that.Dependent clause
A dependent clause is a clause that provides a sentence element with additional information, but which cannot stand as a sentence. A dependent clause can either modify an adjacent clause or serve as a component of an independent clause. Some grammarians use the term subordinate clause to refer only to adverbial dependent clauses.The different types of dependent clauses include content clauses (noun clauses), relative (adjectival) clauses, and adverbial clauses.Disjunct (linguistics)
In linguistics, a disjunct is a type of adverbial adjunct that expresses information that is not considered essential to the sentence it appears in, but which is considered to be the speaker's or writer's attitude towards, or descriptive statement of, the propositional content of the sentence, "expressing, for example, the speaker's degree of truthfulness or his manner of speaking."A specific type of disjunct is the sentence adverb (or sentence adverbial), which modifies a sentence, or a clause within a sentence, to convey the mood, attitude or sentiments of the speaker, rather than an adverb modifying a verb, an adjective or another adverb within a sentence.
More generally, the term disjunct can be used to refer to any sentence element that is not fully integrated into the clausal structure of the sentence. Such elements usually appear peripherally (at the beginning or end of the sentence) and are set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma (in writing) and a pause (in speech).Flat adverb
In English grammar, a flat adverb or bare adverb is an adverb that has the same form as a related adjective. It does not end in -ly, e.g. "drive slow", "drive fast". A flat adverb is sometimes also called simple adverb. Flat adverbs were once quite common but have been largely replaced by their -ly counterparts. In the 18th century, grammarians believed flat adverbs to be adjectives, and insisted that adverbs needed to end in -ly. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "It's these grammarians we have to thank for ... the sad lack of flat adverbs today". There are now only a few flat adverbs, and some are widely thought of as incorrect. Despite bare adverbs being grammatically correct and widely used by respected authors, they are often incorrectly stigmatized. There have even been public campaigns against street signs with the traditional text "go slow" and the innovative text "drive friendly".Interrogative word
An interrogative word or question word is a function word used to ask a question, such as what, when, where, who, whom, why, and how. They are sometimes called wh-words, because in English most of them start with wh- (compare Five Ws). They may be used in both direct questions (Where is he going?) and in indirect questions (I wonder where he is going). In English and various other languages the same forms are also used as relative pronouns in certain relative clauses (The country where he was born) and certain adverb clauses (I go where he goes).
A particular type of interrogative word is the interrogative particle, which serves to convert a statement into a yes–no question, without having any other meaning. Examples include est-ce que in French, ли li in Russian, czy in Polish, ĉu in Esperanto, কি ki in Bengali, 吗 ma in Chinese, mı/mi in Turkish, pa in Ladin, か ka in Japanese and ko/kö in Finnish. (The English word whether has a similar function but only in indirect questions; and Multicultural London English may use "innit", even in the absence of the pronoun "it".) Such particles contrast with other interrogative words, which form what are called wh-questions rather than yes–no questions.
For more information about the grammatical rules for forming questions in various languages, see Interrogative.Locative adverb
A locative adverb is a type of adverb that refers to a location or to a combination of a location and a relation to that location. Generally, a locative adverb is semantically equivalent to a prepositional phrase involving a locative or directional preposition. In English, for example, homeward is a locative adverb, specifying a location "home" and a relation "toward" (in this case a direction), and is equivalent to the phrase "toward home". The relation need not be a direction, as it can be any relation that can be specified by a locational preposition such as to, from, in, at, near, toward, or away from. For example, the word home is itself a locative adverb in a sentence like "I took him home today" or "I found him home today"; in the former case, it is equivalent to the phrase "to home", and in the latter to the phrase "at home".
Pro-form locative adverbs generally form a closed class and are particularly important in a language. Examples in English include there (meaning "at that place"), whither (= "to what place"), and hence (= "from this place"). As can be seen from these examples, the anaphoric locative adverbs generally have a close relationship with the demonstratives (in English, this and that). They are also usually closely related to locative interrogative adverbs; in English, there is (or, at least, once was) a formal relationship between "where/there/here", "whither/thither/hither", and "whence/thence/hence".Part of speech
In traditional grammar, a part of speech (abbreviated form: PoS or POS) is a category of words (or, more generally, of lexical items) which have similar grammatical properties. Words that are assigned to the same part of speech generally display similar behavior in terms of syntax—they play similar roles within the grammatical structure of sentences—and sometimes in terms of morphology, in that they undergo inflection for similar properties.
Commonly listed English parts of speech are noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction, interjection, and sometimes numeral, article, or determiner. Other Indo-European languages also have essentially all these word classes; one exception to this generalization is that the Slavic languages as well as Latin and Sanskrit do not have articles. Beyond the Indo-European family, such other European languages as Hungarian and Finnish, both of which belong to the Uralic family, completely lack prepositions or have only very few of them; rather, they have postpositions.
Other terms than part of speech—particularly in modern linguistic classifications, which often make more precise distinctions than the traditional scheme does—include word class, lexical class, and lexical category. Some authors restrict the term lexical category to refer only to a particular type of syntactic category; for them the term excludes those parts of speech that are considered to be functional, such as pronouns. The term form class is also used, although this has various conflicting definitions. Word classes may be classified as open or closed: open classes (like nouns, verbs and adjectives) acquire new members constantly, while closed classes (such as pronouns and conjunctions) acquire new members infrequently, if at all.
Almost all languages have the word classes noun and verb, but beyond these two there are significant variations among different languages. For example,
Japanese has as many as three classes of adjectives, where English has one (not to be confused with the seven types of English adjectives, or the fact that English adjectives can modify both nouns and pronouns);Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese have a class of nominal classifiers; andMany languages do not distinguish between adjectives and adverbs, or between adjectives and verbs (see stative verb).Because of such variation in the number of categories and their identifying properties, analysis of parts of speech must be done for each individual language. Nevertheless, the labels for each category are assigned on the basis of universal criteria.Prepositional adverb
A prepositional adverb is a word - mainly a particle - which is very similar in its form to a preposition but functions as an adverb. Prepositional adverbs occur, for example, in English, German and Dutch. Unlike real prepositions, they occur mainly at the end of a phrase and not before nouns. They also modify the verb, which a preposition does not.
An example of a prepositional adverb in English is inside in He came inside.Pro-form
In linguistics, a pro-form is a type of function word or expression that stands in for (expresses the same content as) another word, phrase, clause or sentence where the meaning is recoverable from the context. They are used either to avoid repetitive expressions or in quantification (limiting the variables of a proposition).
Pro-forms are divided into several categories, according to which part of speech they substitute:
A pronoun substitutes a noun or a noun phrase, with or without a determiner: it, this. (Compare also prop-word; this denotes a word like one in "the blue one".)
A pro-adjective substitutes an adjective or a phrase that functions as an adjective: so as in "It is less so than we had expected."
A pro-adverb substitutes an adverb or a phrase that functions as an adverb: how or this way.
A pro-verb substitutes a verb or a verb phrase: do.
A pro-sentence substitutes an entire sentence or subsentence: Yes, or that as in "That is true".An interrogative pro-form is a pro-form that denotes the (unknown) item in question and may itself fall into any of the above categories.
The rules governing allowable syntactic relations between certain pro-forms (notably personal and reflexive/reciprocal pronouns) and their antecedents have been studied in what is called binding theory.Pronominal adverb
A pronominal adverb is a type of adverb occurring in a number of Germanic languages, formed in replacement of a preposition and a pronoun by turning the former (the preposition) into a prepositional adverb and the latter (the pronoun) into a locative adverb, and finally joining them in reverse order.
For that → therefor
In that → therein
By this → hereby
To this → hereto
In which → whereinProper adjective
In English orthography, the term proper adjective is sometimes applied to adjectives that take initial capital letters, and the term common adjective to those that do not. For example, a person from Boston is Bostonian. Bostonian is a proper adjective. These terms are used informally only; they are not used by grammarians or linguists.Sic
The Latin adverb sic ("thus", "just as"; in full: sic erat scriptum, "thus was it written") inserted after a quoted word or passage indicates that the quoted matter has been transcribed or translated exactly as found in the source text, complete with any erroneous, archaic, or otherwise nonstandard spelling. It also applies to any surprising assertion, faulty reasoning, or other matter that might be likely interpreted as an error of transcription.
The usual usage is to inform the reader that any errors or apparent errors in quoted material do not arise from errors in the course of the transcription, but are intentionally reproduced, exactly as they appear in the source text. It is generally placed inside square brackets to indicate that it is not part of the quoted matter.
Sic may also be used derisively by the proofreader, to call attention to the original writer's spelling mistakes or erroneous logic, or to show general disapproval or dislike of the material.Split infinitive
In the English language, a split infinitive or cleft infinitive is a grammatical construction in which a word or phrase comes between the to and the bare infinitive of the to form of the infinitive verb. Usually an adverb or adverbial phrase comes between them.
A well-known example occurs in the opening sequence of the Star Trek television series: "to boldly go where no man has gone before"; the adverb boldly is said to split the infinitive to go. Sometimes more than one word splits the infinitive, as in: "The population is expected to more than double in the next ten years".
In the 19th century, some linguistic prescriptivists sought to introduce a prescriptive rule against the split infinitive. The construction is to some extent still the subject of disagreement, but modern English usage guides have dropped the objection to it.
Lexical categories and their features