An adverb is a word which modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb.
1. The storm ceased suddenly.
2. A very disastrous storm swept the coast.
3. The storm ceased very suddenly.
Adverbs are classified according to their meaning as
(1) adverbs of manner
(2) adverbs of time
(3) adverbs of place
(4) adverbs of degree
1. Adverbs of manner answer the question “How?" “In what way?"
They modify verbs or adjectives, rarely adverbs. Most of them are formed from adjectives by adding LY.
1. Tom answered courageously.
2. The poor child looked helplessly about.
3. Softly and silently fell the snow.
4. The pain was terribly severe.
5. The river rose surprisingly fast.
2. Adverbs of time answer the question “When?" They usually modify verbs. Thus…..
1. The old castle is now a museum.
2. He was recently promoted.
3. I have been disturbed lately.
4. My friend arrives to-day.
5. James was then a boy of seven.
6. I have already rung the bell.
7. Afterwards he regretted his haste.
3. Adverbs of place answer the question “Where?" They usually modify verbs. Thus….
1. Come here.
2. Yonder stands the culprit.
3. An old sailor came forward.
4. My sister is out.
5. I was abroad that winter.
4. Adverbs of degree answer the question “To what degree or extent?" They modify verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Thus….
1. Arthur is rather tall.
2. Father was much pleased.
3. Father was very much pleased.
4. The task seemed utterly hopeless.
5. That is hardly possible.
6. That is not possible.
Some adverbs have the same form as the corresponding adjectives.
1. You have guessed right.
2. How fast the tide ebbs!
3. The horse was sold cheap.
4. Tired men sleep sound.
Other examples are wrong, straight, early, late, quick, hard, far, near, slow, high, low, loud, ill, well, deep, close, just, very, much, little.
Under this head come certain adverbs of degree used to modify adjectives.
1. His eyes were dark blue. [Compare : very blue.]
2. That silk is light yellow. [Compare : rather yellow.]
3. These flowers are deep purple. [Compare : intensely purple.]
4. The water was icy cold. [Compare : extremely cold.]
That dark, light, etc., are adverbs in this use appears from the fact that they answer the question “How?"
His eyes were blue.
Note : In the oldest English many adverbs ended in -ë, as if formed directly from adjectives by means of this ending. Thus, the adjective for hot was hāt, side by side with which was an adverb hātë (dissyllabic), meaning hotly. In the fourteenth century this distinction was still kept up. Thus, Chaucer used both the adjective hōt and the dissyllabic adverb hōtë, meaning hotly. Between 1400 and 1500 all weak final e’s disappeared from the language. In this way the adverb hotë, for example, became simply hot. Thus these adverbs in -ë became identical in form with the corresponding adjectives. Hence in the time of Shakespeare there existed, in common use, not only the adjective hot, but also the adverb hot (identical in form with the adjective but really descended from the adverb hotë). One could say not only “The fire is hot" (adjective), but “The fire burns hot" (adverb of manner).
The tendency in modern English has been to confine the form without ending to the adjective use and to restrict the adverbial function to forms in -ly. Thus, a writer of the present time would not say, in prose, “The fire burns hot," but “The fire burns hotly." Nevertheless, a number of the old adverbs without ending still remain in good use, and must not be regarded as erroneous.
In poetry, moreover, such adverbs are freely employed such as….The boy like a gray goshawk stared wild." [In prose: stared wildly.]
YES and NO are peculiar adverbs used in assenting and denying. Thus….
Are you hungry?
Note : As now used, YES and NO stand for complete sentences. Originally, however, they were modifiers and hence they are still classed as adverbs. The original meaning of NO was never. Compare never as an emphatic negative in modern English such as….
Will you surrender?
The oldest affirmative adverb was yea. YES was originally a compound of yea with a form of so, and was used in emphatic affirmatives (like our just so!).
Other adverbs or adverbial phrases are sometimes used like yes or no. Such are certainly, assuredly, by no means, not at all. In these cases, however, the modifying effect of the word or phrase may easily be seen when the sentence is supplied. Thus…..
Will you help me?
Certainly [I will help you].
THERE is often used merely to introduce a sentence in the inverted order .
1. There is a hole in my shoe.
2. There are many strangers in town.
3. There rose a thick smoke from the volcano.
In this use, THERE is sometimes called an expletive (or filler). It is unemphatic and has lost all its force as an adverb of place. Contrast “There [emphatic] stood an Indian under a tree" with, “There [unemphatic expletive] stood an Indian under a tree."
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