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ELC Boston English Grammar Lesson – Adverbs! October 28th, 2016

Why You Should Study Adverbs Sincerely! Extensively! Voraciously!

english grammar lesson adverbs

What is it?
Adverbs modify (change) verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs

Why are they important?
To explain the importance of the adverb, let’s look at two similar sentences and see if we can notice a difference. Can you find the adverb in the sentences?

I speak English.
I speak English well.

The adverb ‘well’ tells us HOW I speak English.
Now, let’s look at the possible conversations we could make with these two sentences.

A)
Sara: My sister Vivian is visiting me next week! I haven’t seen her in 2 years.
Melissa: That’s cool. Are you going to show her the city?
Sara: I have class all day, but I know she speaks English, so she should be fine.
Melissa: Oh, she must be pretty good at speaking English to explore on her own. The Boston accent is tough for some people to understand.
Sara: Well, I know she speaks English…
ONE WEEK LATER
Melissa: Hi Vivian! It’s so nice to meet you. I’m a very good friend of your sister.
Vivian: Hello. My name is Vivian. Nice to meet you.
Melissa: Are you excited to be in Boston? What things do you want to do and see?
Vivian: Nice to meet you!
Melissa: Yeah…nice to meet you too. So, how was your flight?
Vivian: Nice to meet you!
Melissa: Okay, well…have fun today.

B)
Sara: My sister Vivian is visiting me next week! I haven’t seen her in 2 years.
Melissa: That’s cool. Are you going to show her the city?
Sara: I have class all day, but I know she speaks English, so she should be fine.
Melissa: Oh, she must be pretty good at speaking English to explore on her own. The Boston accent is tough for some people to understand.
Sara: Well, I know she speaks English well…
ONE WEEK LATER
Melissa: Hi Vivian! It’s so nice to meet you. I’m a very good friend of your sister.
Vivian: Wow, great to meet you Melissa. Sara has told me so much about you.
Melissa: I’m very impressed with your English. Your sister said you spoke English well, but I didn’t know you spoke so fluently.
Vivian: I actually used to study here in Boston at ELC, and got to practice every day.
Melissa: That’s lucky. Well, have a fun day out in the city. Don’t forget to buy a Halloween costume!
Vivian: Will do! Thanks!

Adverbs answer how, when, where, why, or to what extent—how often or how much.
Without adverbs, we don’t have depth of meaning when we write or speak, and our actual message can be confused. Students often complain that “I can’t say exactly what I want in English the way I would say it in my native language.” Often times, when you start to use adverbs, English can come alive and sound as good as, if not better than the same sentence in your first language.

How do we form adverbs?
The basic rule is that -ly is added to the end of the adjective:

Adjective Adverb
quick quickly
sudden suddenly
straightforward straightforwardly

If the adjective has two syllables and ends in -y, then you need to replace the final -y with -ily:

Adjective Adverb
happy happily
hungry hungrily
lazy lazily

Adjectives that end in -ly, such as friendly or lively, can’t be made into adverbs by adding -ly. You have to use a different form of words, e.g. ‘in a friendly way’ or ‘in a lively way’ instead.

What now?
Go out into the world and practice adverbs endlessly! There are endless possibilities, and you English will flourish beautifully with the addition of the powerfully built adverb.