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

bad > badly; quiet > quietly; sudden > suddenly

but there are sometimes changes in spelling:

easy > easily; gentle > gently

If an adjective 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.
I hate driving fast.

Note: hardly and lately have different meanings:
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.


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:

They looked happily happy.
That bread smells deliciously delicious.

Try these exercises to practice your use of adverbials of manner.

Try these tasks to practice your use of placement of adverbials.

Task 1


Task 2


Task 3


Task 4




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

Hi Teachers,

Isn't "recently" an adverb of time rather than manner?

I would also like to seek your advice regarding the use of "how". Typically, we use How to enquire on the method (by what means) or the quality of an action (i.e. in what style), but my question is how do we know which one is the info we are looking for? For instance, why is it when i say "how did they play?", people would understand it to mean an enquiry about the quality of an action, and thus usually reply "they play well, or very well"; however, if I were to say "how does that machine work?", people would understand it to mean an enquiry about "what means or method or action", and might reply "this machine works by first shredding the raw materials, followed by.......". Is it simply a case of the context of the question (including the tense fo the question)?


Hello Tim,

That's a very interesting question! In many cases, certainly context provides the information that leads speakers to focus on one aspect or another of the action, but of course people's assumptions (including the listener's ideas about the questioner's intentions) also play a key role. Indeed the differences between people's views of the situation can lead to quite a lot of confusion.

Yes, you're right about 'recently'. I've removed it from the list and thank you for pointing this out to us.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,

So I suppose my understanding on the use of "how" (i.e. to enquire on the means/method, or to enquire on the quality of action/Style) is correct?

And returning to my example "how did they play?", I guess most of the time people mean to enquire on the condition/quality and hence would reply "well, very well or badly etc". But I guess depending on context, people can also reply "They played the game by first taking up positions on the field and then by,," to mean in the sense of what action/means/method "they" actually took?

Sorry for the further clarifications, and thanks!


Hi Tim,

Yes, what you explain in both your previous comment and this one is correct: usually context provides the frame that people need to answer the question in the way the questioner expects it.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Teachers,

May I know how advebrs (espicially adverbs of manner) are used in passive sentences? Espicially with regards to their positions. For instance, is it right to state "he was violently killed", or "he was killed violently"? And what if there are more than one auxilliary verbs, where would the adverb be placed at? Kindly provide some examples.

Appreciate your advice, thanks!


Hello Tim,

The adverb can be placed before the main verb or after it. Thus you can say either of these:

She had been badly treated by her friend for a long time.

She had been treated badly by her friend for a long time.

I don't think the number of auxiliary verbs makes any difference here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir
Could you please tell me wether I am right or wrong? I would say the first is wrong but the second is correct.
eg. Your brothers as well as your mother has come.
Your brothers as well as your mother have come.
Thank you
Andrew international

Hello Andrew international,

Yes, the second one is correct and the first one is not.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team