Adverbials of manner

Level: beginner

Adverbs of manner are usually formed from adjectives by adding –ly:

badbadly quietquietly sudden > suddenly

but sometimes there are changes in spelling:

easy > easily gentle > gently careful > carefully

The adverb formed from good is well:

You speak English very well.

Adverbs of manner normally come after the verb:

He spoke angrily.

or after the object:

He opened the door quietly.

Adverbials of manner 1


Adverbials of manner 2


Level: intermediate

If an adjective already ends in -ly, we use the phrase in a …. way to express manner:

silly: He behaved in a silly way.
friendly: She spoke in a friendly way.

A few adverbs of manner have the same form as the adjective:

They all worked hard.
She usually arrives late/early
I hate driving fast.


Be careful!

hardly and lately have different meanings from hard and late:

 He could hardly walk. = It was difficult for him to walk.
 I haven't seen John lately. = I haven't seen John recently.

We often use phrases with like as adverbials of manner:

She slept like a baby.
He ran like a rabbit.

Adverbials of manner and link verbs

We very often use adverbials with like after link verbs:

Her hands felt like ice.
It smells like fresh bread.

Be careful!

We do not use adverbs of manner after link verbs. We use adjectives instead:

They looked happy. (NOT happily)
That bread smells delicious. (NOT deliciously)

Adverbials of manner 3


Adverbials of manner 4



Average: 3.9 (36 votes)
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Submitted by agustinae on Thu, 02/05/2024 - 18:14



Can you please help me with these sentences?

I go quickly to the station.

I go to the station quickly.

Are both ok? 
My understanding is that adverbs should go after intransitive verbs. But the second sentence doesn’t sound bad to me. 

Thank you very much.

Hi agustinae,

Yes, both sentences are grammatically fine. Putting the adverb straight after the verb can be considered as the typical position, but somebody might put the adverb at the end of the sentence if they wish to emphasise it more.

Hope that helps.


LearnEnglish team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Thu, 11/01/2024 - 18:54


Hello. Could you please help me? Is the following sentence correct using "hardly"? Why?
- A lot went wrong during our holiday because it was hardly planned.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

No, I'm afraid that's not natural. I'm struggling to come up with a clear explanation of why, but what I can do is suggest an alternative. I would recommend something like 'because it was poorly planned' or 'it wasn't planned well'.

Hope that helps.

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by howtosay_ on Sat, 24/06/2023 - 03:14


Hello, dear teachers and team!

Could you please help me with the following:

Which option (if any) is correct:

1. They realize the importance of this problem, but not fully.

2. They realize the importance of this problem, but not completely.

3. They realize the importance of this problem, but not to the full extent.

I'm very very grateful for your constant help and thank you very much for answering this comment beforehand!!!

Hello howtosay_,

All are grammatically correct. I think the last one is a little less natural sounding to my ear. The first two sound fine.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by iuliver on Mon, 31/10/2022 - 07:55


Hi teacher. Could you help me to explain the difference between "The children quietly finished their homework" and "The children finished their homework quietly"? Are they the same?

Hi iuliver,

Yes, their basic meaning is the same. However, the word "quietly" seems more emphasised in sentence 2, as it's the final word in the sentence. Somebody might say this if "quietly" is the thing they want to highlight most of all. On the other hand, if the most important thing is "finished their homework", they would probably say the first sentence.

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by NavamH on Mon, 01/08/2022 - 09:27


Dear Sir, I find identifying adverbials a little bit tricky and complex. Hope you'll help me out with the following example:
John ate his dinner with Anne and Mary.
*I want to label the clause elements of this sentence.
Here's how i did:
John: Subject
ate: verb
his dinner: direct object
with Anne and Mary: Adverbial of manner

*I'm not much sure if i labelled "with Anne and Mary" right.

little guidance here would be extremely appreciated.

Hi NavamH,

Yes, right. It's an adverbial - though I wouldn't call it an adverbial of manner, as it indicates people who were also present, rather than the way that the verb was done. 


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by g-ssan on Sun, 17/07/2022 - 09:30


Hello teachers ,

You said there is difference in spelling in some words if we add ly . Is there any base to know them ?or just memorize them all together .

Hi g-ssan,

There are a few common changes:

  • consonant + -le changes to consonant + -ly (e.g. possible --> possibly; gentle --> gently; but note that whole --> wholly)
  • -y changes to -ily (e.g. happy --> happily; tidy --> tidily; except for single-syllable adjectives, which just add -ly: e.g. wry --> wryly; shy --> shyly)
  • -ue changes to -uly (e.g. true --> truly)
  • -ic changes to -ically (e.g. basic --> basically; dynamic --> dynamically; but exception: public --> publicly)
  • -ll changes to -lly (e.g. full --> fully)

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Faii on Fri, 20/05/2022 - 09:44


What should we reply if someone asks "how are you?" Should we say "I'm good " or "I'm well"?.If "am" here is a linking verb,then I think "I'm good" is correct as we put adjective after linking verb.But I have also heard people saying "I'm well".So Are both correct and why ?

Submitted by uxnon on Sat, 26/03/2022 - 04:15


Hello! For the same adverbial of manner, in one sentence, if I put it in different position, will the meaning have little difference? For example: "He shut the door angrily" and "He angrily shut the door".

Hello uxnon,

There's no difference in meaning between these two sentences. Adverbs of manner typically go in 'end position' (at the end), but sometimes go in 'mid-position' (before the verb) when the sentence or object are very long. When they go in mid-position, there's also usually slightly less emphasis on the adverb.

Hope this helps!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Jason C on Sun, 10/01/2021 - 14:30

Hello I wanted to know if an adverbial should be put at the front, middle or back.
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Mon, 11/01/2021 - 13:41

In reply to by Jason C


Hello Jason C,

That really depends on the adverbial, the context and the exact meaning you want to convey. In most situations, though, adverbials of manner come after the verb. You can read a bit more about this on this Cambridge Dictionary page.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Claudia on Fri, 14/08/2020 - 16:40

Hello! In the las excercise in the subsection "intensifiers and mitigators" there is this sentence: "The children waited _rather anxiously_ for their new teacher". I'm a little confused, because lessons say adverbials usually goes after the verb and the complement. Or shouldn't we consider "their new teacher" as the complement of the verb "waited"? Thanks a lot.

Hello Claudia,

The position of adverbial phrases is very flexible in English. All of the following are possible:

The children waited rather anxiously for their new teacher.

The children rather anxiously waited for their new teacher.

The children waited for their new teacher rather anxiously.

Rather anxiously, the children waited for their new teacher

I think the third form is the most common and the fourth the least common, but all are grammatically possible.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by anssir66 on Fri, 31/07/2020 - 15:04

Is "regardless of" an adverb(ial) of manner? "He did it regardless of our opinions to the contrary."

Hello anssir66,

I wouldn't call 'regardless' an adverbial of manner. To be honest, I'm not sure what type of adverb it is. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with any commonly accepted classification of adverbs that includes it.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Fri, 03/07/2020 - 04:31

It's really encapsulating.

Submitted by raphway on Fri, 21/02/2020 - 10:30

Is this sentence, "corruption is very widespread in Nigeria" correct please?

Hello raphway

I answered your other nearly identical comment on the Adverbials page. Please do not post your comments in more than one place.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by raphway on Fri, 21/02/2020 - 04:38

Is this sentence, "corruption is very widespread" cotter please?

Hello raphway,

I'm not sure what you mean by 'cotter'. If you want to know if the sentence is grammatically correct or not then I can tell you that it is correct. It means that there is corruption not only in one place but in many places or areas.



The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks, just what wanted to know. Which is correct, "a round delicious chocolate" or '' a delicious round chocolate "?

Submitted by arwa on Tue, 21/01/2020 - 21:55

The adjective that follows the linking verb functioning as a compliment, isn't it?

Hello arwa,

That's almost correct. The adjective after the linking verb is a complement (the spelling is different). Specifically, it is a predicate adjective, which is a kind of subject complement.

You can read more about subject complements on this page.



The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by AminulIslam. on Sun, 24/02/2019 - 09:54

Sir,would you please help me. 1.He is coming towards me. 2.we were waiting outside the office. In the above sentences, towards me and outside the office are adverb?

Hello AminulIslam

'towards' and 'outside' are both prepositions in these sentences and so the phrases they head are prepositional phrases. These prepositional phrases are adverbial, though -- that is, they function as adverbs in the sentences. 'towards me' is an adverbial of direction in this case, and 'outside the office' an adverbial of location.

Does that make sense?

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Yuriy UA on Tue, 27/11/2018 - 19:24

Hello The LearnEnglishTeam, Many thanks for being so helpful. Could you help one more time, please? Which is correct: We heard it perfect. OR We heard it perfectly. According to the Grammar tips provided above one should use adjectives (not adverbs) after verbs such as "look/smell/taste". What about the verb "hear"? Thanks a lot for your reply.

Hello Yuriy UA,

The correct form here is the adverb: We heard it perfectly.

'Hear' is something that a person does, not a characteristic of an item. The word which goes with look/smell/taste is not hear but sound:

It sounds perfect!



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Fri, 24/08/2018 - 13:14

Hello Sir I would like to know whether adverbs like: just, recently could be use any type of tenses or only with perfect tenses especially ' just.' Please let me know. Thank you. Regards Lal

Submitted by omarmohamed99 on Fri, 22/06/2018 - 01:56

dear sir at task 1 the 8th question how do we say " the cat looked greedily" and we can't use adverbials of manner after link verbs like " they looked happily " and thanks in advance
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Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 22/06/2018 - 07:09

In reply to by omarmohamed99


Hello omarmohamed99,

The verb look has more than one use.

In the first sentence the verb means to use your eyes to see something and in this use an adverb is used as a modifier.

In the second sentence look means to have a certain appearance and in this use and adjective is used as a modifier, in the same way that we use adjectives with other verbs relating to how we are perceived by other (smell, feel, sound etc).



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by seelan65 on Sun, 13/05/2018 - 11:23

Dear Teacher I'm not sure about what the examples mean - the Adverbs of manner and link verbs We very often use adverbials with like after link verbs: Her hands felt like ice. It smells like fresh bread. But we do not use other adverbials of manner after link verbs. We use adjectives instead In the 1 st example they say we very often use adverbials with like. In the 2 nd example they say we do not use other adverbials of manner after link verbs. can you please explain little more

Hi seelan65,

Normally we don't use adverbials after link verbs -- instead we use adjectives, for example 'He looks happy' ('happy' is an adjective). But there is an exception to this -- we can use 'like' plus a noun phrase ('like' plus a a noun phrase is a kind of adverbial), as in the examples given on this page.

Does that help?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Jaypee on Fri, 16/02/2018 - 19:24

Good morning teachers What is difference between 'seldom if ever' and 'seldom or never'.....which kind of meaning these convey??? Neagtive or positive

Hello Jaypee,

The phrase 'seldom if ever' means that something happens very rarely, and may never happen. The phrase 'seldom or never' could have the same meaning, depending on the context, but in most contexts would suggest an either-or pair of alternatives rather than an uncertainty:

He seldom if ever smiles. [he smiles rarely and possibly never]

We can arrange meetings seldom or never. [you can choose which option you prefer]



The LearnEnglish Team