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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




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

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

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

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 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!