Adverb groups

One way to be even more specific about our meaning is to combine adverbs together in an adverb group.

(For the sake of simplicity, for the rest of this lesson we'll label single adverbs as adverb groups as well.)

Take a look at this snippet. In what way are the foxes sloping the tunnel?

Slowly, wearily, the foxes began to slope the tunnel up towards the surface.

The foxes weren't just slowly sloping the tunnel; they were slowly, wearily sloping the tunnel.

In this instance, the adverb group gives you a more vivid picture of what the foxes are doing.

(Also: notice how this time the adverb group is nowhere near the verb group? Adverb groups can appear in all sorts of places!)

It's worth mentioning that standard writing advice is to be sparing in the use of -ly adverbs. As with most things, more is not always better:

He slowly, wearily, steadily, tiredly, thoughtfully dug the tunnel...

Not so great!

When used sparingly, they can add flavour and depth; if overused, they become mushy and meaningless.

Let's rewrite this snippet and change the adverbs.

We'll give you a list of suggestions again, and this time think about whether you need to choose two adverbs of the same type, and what happens if you mix types.

Positive manner adverbs: boldly, eagerly, bravely, deftly, gleefully, gracefully, happily, innocently, merrily, victoriously, warmly...

Negative manner adverbs: angrily, anxiously, foolishly, irritably, jealously, lazily, glumly, selfishly, rudely, cruelly, sadly...

'Depends on context' manner adverbs: accidentally, awkwardly, blindly, defiantly, crazily, doubtfully, dramatically, evenly, exactly, hastily, hungrily, sharply, sulkily, sternly, widely, unexpectedly...

Timing adverbs: always, eventually, often, rarely, sometimes, seldom, usually, finally...

Speed adverbs: quickly, slowly, promptly, rapidly...

Note that most of these adverbs end with -ly? Not all adverbs have -ly endings! (And not all -ly words are adverbs.) We'll talk more about this later.

Write your own version of how the foxes slope their tunnel. Change the whole adverb group, using two adverbs of the same type from the suggestion list.
Write another version, this time using adverbs of different types.