Quick recap

What have we learnt so far?

  • When we want to communicate the qualities of an action or process, we will often use words called adverbs (for example, 'He spoke calmly').
  • When we have more than one adverb working together, we call them an adverb group.
  • One way we create adverb groups is by adding more adverbs as qualities to the verb (e.g. 'Slowly, wearily, the foxes dug').
  • Another way we create adverb groups is when we add an intensifier adverb to a qualifier adverb (e.g. 'Very cautiously, she peeked')—though you'll find that many writers dislike intensifiers and say they are evidence of lazy writing.
  • Adverbs can appear at almost any point in a sentence—they are probably the most flexible of all the word types.
  • Adverbs can often move around in a sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence—unless they become attached to a different verb group.
  • One of the best ways to identify and analyse adverbs is to move them around in a sentence and see how the meaning of the sentence changes (or doesn't change).
  • Adverbs with that distinctive -ly ending often describe manner or in what way a process happened.
  • But there are all sorts of other types of adverbs—in fact, if you're ever uncertain about what type of word a word is, there's a good chance it's an adverb.

That's already quite a lot of info, and it's okay if you're a little overwhelmed. Adverbs are perhaps the slipperiest of all the word types because of the way they can slide around and embed themselves in other word groups.

For this next part of the lesson, we're going to explore the kinds of meanings we create with common adverb groups and phrases.

Meme: My editor wrote, "Never use adverbs." I wrote back, "Never is an adverb." Still no response.