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

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Adverbials of manner 2

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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

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Adverbials of manner 4

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

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Hello I wanted to know if an adverbial should be put at the front, middle or back.

Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 11/01/2021 - 13:41

In reply to by Jason C

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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,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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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,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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It's really encapsulating.

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

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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

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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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.

 

Peter

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

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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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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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

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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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!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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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

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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

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 22/06/2018 - 07:09

In reply to by omarmohamed99

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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).

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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

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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]

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Timothy555 on Sun, 08/10/2017 - 10:10

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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)? Regards, Tim

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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Timothy555 on Sat, 12/08/2017 - 02:06

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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! Regards, Tim

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,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Andrew international on Thu, 06/07/2017 - 11:15

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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

Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 06/07/2017 - 13:39

In reply to by Andrew international

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Hello Andrew international,

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

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Jurgen Hesbania on Mon, 10/04/2017 - 21:22

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Hello, In task 1 sentence 2 the right answer is well (other side played really well) and in task 3 sentence 6 the right answer is good (This milk doesn’t smell very good). Why do we use good instead of well in this second example? Greetings Jurgen

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 11/04/2017 - 07:09

In reply to by Jurgen Hesbania

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Hello Jurgen,

Good is an adjective form and well is an adverb. With most verbs we use the adverb. However, verbs relating to senses (look, sound, smell, taste and feel) take adjectives:

It looks good.

It smells nice. (not 'nicely')

This shirt feels wonderful. (not 'wonderfully')

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by domatescim on Fri, 10/03/2017 - 15:05

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Hello, I would like to ask a question. I do not understand that sometimes we use -ly for adverbs, sometimes we do not use -ly. For example; we cant say "they looked happily, we should say they look happy. But in the exercises:"The hungry cat looked greedily (greedy) at the chicken on the dinner table" is the true answer. Thanks for reading.

Hello domatescim,

Yes, I can see how that's confusing, but I'm afraid that English, like most languages, is not always consistent. There are many adverbs that end in 'ly', but many of the most commonly used adverbs do not end in 'ly', and in fact many have the same form as common adjectives. I'd recommend that you look carefully at words that you think are adverbs to make sure that they are functioning as adverbs in sentences.

For example, in 'They look happy', 'happy' is not an adverb but rather an adjective. This is because 'look' in this sentence is a link verb (like the verb 'be'), and link verbs are followed by an adjective (or it's also possible for a noun to come after them). If you used 'look' in a different way, you could use the adverb 'happily' with it -- for example, 'The children happily looked for Easter eggs'. In this case, 'look' has a different meaning ('search'). The sentence in the exercises is similar to the example I just gave, in which 'look' is not a link verb.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by msrom on Wed, 22/02/2017 - 20:06

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Here's double "writes" in task 2.

Submitted by Jarek_O on Mon, 19/12/2016 - 21:33

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Hi Guys, In the one of the exercises I see: Have you ever eaten frogs’ legs? As I'm going through the grammar section one by one, I'm just after the noun modifier part. There you can find a warning note: "We do not talk about: The car’s door;"... So what makes that example different? The only thing that comes to my mind is that the legs are no longer a part of a frog :-).

Hello Jarek_0,

That's very observant of you! The difference between 'the car's door' and 'frogs' legs' is that a car is an inanimate object and frogs are animals. In other words, 's is most often used with people, animals or groups of living beings, and not with inanimate objects.

This is not a hard-and-fast rule that always works, but is good rule of thumb to keep in mind and adequately explains this case.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Petals on Mon, 12/12/2016 - 10:26

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Hello, What's the difference between 'too' and 'as well' when placed at the end of a sentence ? Is there a situation where one is preferable to the other ? Regards Petals

Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 12/12/2016 - 13:29

In reply to by Petals

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Hello Petals,

They mean the same thing, but are used a bit differently. 'as well' is more common in speaking than writing, and almost always comes at the end of a sentence. 'too' can be used in other positions and is common in both formal and informal situations. The Cambridge Dictionary has a page that you might find useful.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by amol on Sat, 10/12/2016 - 14:00

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Hello, If "a relative adverb" introduces a group of words, or a clause, that tells more about a "noun", then WHY should we call it ADVERB. On the other hand, an adverb tells us more about a VERB.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 11/12/2016 - 08:01

In reply to by amol

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Hello amol,

There is no reference to this on this page, so you are asking us to comment on a grammar rule you have found elsewhere, which is not our role here.

You need to be careful of reducing the complexity of language to overly simply and inflexible rules. Adverbials have many roles and are not limited to modifying verbs. They are some of the most flexible words and phrases in English in terms of the roles they can have in the sentence. For a list of functions which adverbials can have see this page.

Reflexive adverbs can introduce clauses which have adverbial functions, which is what you are describing here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by amol on Sat, 10/12/2016 - 13:49

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Hello, What are the use/s of relative adverb?

Submitted by amol on Thu, 08/12/2016 - 15:42

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"He talks much slowly" OR "He talks very slowly" Which one is more correct? or both are correct?
Dear Sir, Thanks for the reply. Could you please explain me the reason for the same?

Hello amol,

'very' is an adverb of degree, and as such can modify suitable adjectives or adverbs. 'slowly' is one such suitable adverb, and so 'very slowly' is a correct expression.

'much' is quite a versatile word. It can be a quantifier and also an adverb. But as an adverb of degree, it is not used to modify another adverb (as is the case here). Be sure to follow the links I have provided, where you'll find lots of examples.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by billk20 on Tue, 15/11/2016 - 17:07

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Hi there bottle of pills/ coat pocket,,,, I don't think so..... it should read " In my coat pocket you'll find a bottle of pills" unless your name's Harold Pinter or Samuel Beckett or maybe Joe Orton, cheers billk20

Hello billk20,

I'm afraid I don't understand your comment, as I don't see any reference to a bottle of pills or coat pocket on this page. If there's something we can help you with, could you please clarify?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team