ENG2: Adverbs of Manner

This unit is a continuation of Adverbs and focuses on Adverbs of manner

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner tell us how something happens. They are usually placed either after the main verb or after the object.

  • He swims well.
  • He ran quickly.
  • She spoke softly.
  • James coughed loudly to attract her attention.
  • He plays the flute beautifully. (after the direct object)
  • He ate the chocolate cake greedily. (after the direct object)

An adverb of manner cannot be put between a verb and its direct object. The adverb must be placed either before the verb or at the end of the clause.

  • He ate greedily the chocolate cake. [incorrect]
  • He ate the chocolate cake greedily[correct]
  • He greedily ate the chocolate cake. [correct]
  • He gave us generously the money. [incorrect]
  • He gave us the money generously[correct]
  • He generously gave us the money. [correct]

If there is a preposition before the verb’s object, you can place the adverb of manner either before the preposition or after the object.

  • The child ran happily towards his mother.
  • The child ran towards his mother happily.

Adverbs of manner should always come immediately after verbs which have no object (intransitive verbs).

  • The town grew quickly after 1997.
  • He waited patiently for his mother to arrive.

These common adverbs of manner are almost always placed directly after the verb: well, badly, hard, & fast

  • He swam well despite being tired.
  • The rain fell hard during the storm.

The position of the adverb is important when there is more than one verb in a sentence. If the adverb is placed before or after the main verb, it modifies only that verb. If the adverb is placed after a clause, then it modifies the whole action described by the clause. Notice the difference in meaning between the following sentences.

Example Meaning
She quickly agreed to re-type the letter. the agreement is quick
She agreed quickly to re-type the letter. the agreement is quick
She agreed to re-type the letter quickly. the re-typing is quick
He quietly asked me to leave the house. the request is quiet
He asked me quietly to leave the house. the request is quiet
He asked me to leave the house quietly. the leaving is quiet

Sometimes an adverb of manner is placed before a verb + object to add emphasis.

  • He gently woke the sleeping woman.
  • She angrily slammed the door.

Some writers put an adverb of manner at the beginning of the sentence to catch our attention and make us curious.

  • Slowly she picked up the knife.
  • Roughly he grabbed her arm.

Adverbs of degree tell us about the intensity of something. Adverbs of degree are usually placed before the adjective, adverb, or verb that they modify, although there are some exceptions. The words “too”, “enough”, “very”, and “extremely” are examples of adverbs of degree.

Adverb of degree Modifying Example
extremely adjective The water was extremely cold.
quite adjective The movie is quite interesting.
just verb He was just leaving.
almost verb She has almost finished.
very adverb She is running very fast.
too adverb You are walking too slowly.
enough adverb You are running fast enough.

Use of Enough

Enough can be used as both an adverb and as a determiner.


Enough as an adverb meaning ‘to the necessary degree’ goes after the adjective or adverb that it is modifying, and not before it as other adverbs do. It can be used both in positive and negative sentences.

  • Is your coffee hot enough?
  • This box isn’t big enough.
  • He didn’t work hard enough.
  • I got here early enough.

Enough is often followed by “to” + the infinitive.

  • He didn’t work hard enough to pass the exam.
  • Is your coffee hot enough to drink?
  • She’s not old enough to get married.
  • I got here early enough to sign up.

Enough can also be followed by “for someone” or “for something”.

  • The dress was big enough for me.
  • She’s not experienced enough for this job.
  • Is the coffee hot enough for you?
  • He didn’t work hard enough for a promotion.

Enough as a determiner meaning ‘as much/many as necessary’ goes before the noun it modifies. It is used with countable nouns in the plural and with uncountable nouns.

  • We have enough bread.
  • You have enough children.
  • They don’t have enough food.
  • I don’t have enough apples.

Use of  “Too”

“Too” is always an adverb, but it has two distinct meanings, each with its own usage patterns.


Too as an adverb meaning “also” goes at the end of the phrase it modifies.

  • I would like to go swimming too, if you will let me come.
  • Can I go to the zoo too?
  • Is this gift for me too?
  • I’m not going to clean your room too!

Too as an adverb meaning “excessively” goes before the adjective or adverb it modifies. It can be used in both affirmative and negative sentences.

  • This coffee is too hot.
  • He works too hard.
  • Isn’t she too young?
  • I am not too short!

Too is often followed by “to” + the infinitive.

  • The coffee was too hot to drink.
  • You’re too young to have grandchildren!
  • I am not too tired to go out tonight.
  • Don’t you work too hard to have any free time?

Too can also be followed by “for someone” or “for something”.

  • The coffee was too hot for me.
  • The dress was too small for her.
  • He’s not too old for this job.
  • Sally’s not too slow for our team.

Use of “Very”

Very goes before an adverb or adjective to make it stronger.

  • The girl was very beautiful.
  • The house is very expensive.
  • He worked very quickly.
  • She runs very fast.

If we want to make a negative form of an adjective or adverb, we can add “not” to the verb, we can use an adjective or adverb of opposite meaning, or we can use “not very” with the original adjective or adverb. The meanings of the phrases are not identical. Usually the phrase using “not very” is less direct, and thus more polite, than the other phrases.

Original phrase Opposite meaning with “not” Opposite meaning with “not very” Opposite meaning with an opposite word
The girl was beautiful. The girl was not beautiful. The girl was not very beautiful. The girl was ugly.
He worked quickly. He did not work quickly. He did not work very quickly. He worked slowly.

There is a big difference in meaning between “too” and “very”. “Very” expresses a fact while “too” suggests there is a problem.

  • He speaks very quickly.
  • He speaks too quickly for me to understand.
  • It is very hot outside.
  • It is too hot outside to go for a walk.

Some common adverbs are used in the same way as “very” to heighten the degree of adjectives and adverbs.

Expressing very strong feelings Expressing strong feelings Expressing somewhat doubtful feelings
extremely, terribly, amazingly, wonderfully, insanely especially, particularly, uncommonly, unusually, remarkably, quite pretty, rather, fairly, not especially, not particularly
The movie was amazingly interesting. The movie was particularly interesting. The movie was fairly interesting.
She sang wonderfully well. She sang unusually well. She sang pretty well.
The lecture was terribly boring. The lecture was quite boring. The lecture was rather boring.

Inversion with negative Adverbs

Normally the subject goes before the verb, however, some negative adverbs can cause an inversion when placed at the beginning of the clause. The order is reversed and the verb goes before the subject. This inversion is only used in writing, not in speaking.

Adverb Normal word order Inversion
Never I have never seen such courage. Never have I seen such courage.
Rarely She rarely left the house. Rarely did she leave the house.
Not only She did not only the cooking but the cleaning as well. Not only did she do the cooking, but the cleaning as well.
Scarcely I scarcely closed the door before he started talking. Scarcely did I close the door before he started talking.
Seldom We seldom cross the river after sunset. Seldom do we cross the river sunset.

Adverbs of Certainty

Adverbs of certainty express how certain we feel about an action or event. Adverbs of certainty go before the main verb unless the main verb is ‘to be’, in which case the adverb of certainty goes after.

  • He definitely left the house this morning.
  • He surely won’t forget.
  • He is probably in the park.
  • He is certainly a smart man.

If there is an auxiliary verb, the adverb of certainty goes between the auxiliary and the main verb.

  • He has certainly forgotten the meeting.
  • He will probably remember tomorrow.
  • He is definitely running late.

Sometimes these adverbs of certainty can be placed at the beginning of the sentence.

  • Undoubtedly, Winston Churchill was a great politician.
  • Certainly, I will be there.
  • Probably, he has forgotten the meeting.

When the adverb of certainty surely is placed at the beginning of the sentence, it means the speaker thinks something is true, but is looking for confirmation.

  • Surely you’ve got a bicycle.
  • Surely you’re not going to wear that to the party.

Adverbs that expresses View point

There are some adverbs and adverbial expressions which tell us about the speaker’s viewpoint or opinion about an action, or make some comment on the action. These adverbs are different from other adverbs because they do not tell us how an action occurred. Commenting and viewpoint adverbs modify entire clauses rather than single verbs, adverbs, or adjectives. There is no real distinction between commenting adverbs and viewpoint adverbs, except in their sentence placement. Many adverbs that can be used as viewpoint adverbs can also be used as commenting adverbs. However, in some cases, an adverb is far more common as one or the other.


Viewpoint adverbs are placed at the beginning, or more rarely, at the end of the sentence. They are usually separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma. Commenting adverbs are placed before the main verb unless the verb “to be” is used, in which case placement can be either before or after the verb. In some cases, commenting adverbs placed before the main verb will also be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas, although in most cases they will not be. In the examples below, viewpoint and commenting adverbs are shown in the correct sentence placements. When a sentence placement is unusual, stilted, or too formal for spoken language, it is marked with an asterisk.

Viewpoint or commenting adverb At the start of a sentence Before the main verb At the end of a sentence
clearly Clearly, he doesn’t know what he is doing. He clearly doesn’t know what he is doing. He doesn’t know what he is doing, clearly.
obviously Obviously, you are acting silly. You are obviously acting silly You are acting silly, obviously.
personally Personally, I’d rather go by train. I’d personally rather go by train. I’d rather go by train, personally.
presumably Presumably, he didn’t have time to go to the post office. He presumably didn’t have time to go to the post office. He didn’t have time to go to the post office, presumably.
seriously Seriously, I can’t give this speech. seriously can’t give this speech. I can’t give this speech, seriously.
surely Surely you tried to get here on time. You surely tried to get here on time. You tried to get here on time, surely.
technically Technically, we cannot fly to Mars and back. We technically cannot fly to Mars and back. We cannot fly to Mars and back, technically.
undoubtedly Undoubtedly, he has a good reason not to come. He undoubtedly has a good reason not to come. He has a good reason not to come, undoubtedly.
bravely Bravely, I kept on walking. bravely kept on walking. *I kept on walking, bravely.
carelessly Carelessly, she threw her book into the pond. She carelessly threw her book into the pond. *She threw her book into the pond, carelessly.
certainly Certainly you should be there. You certainly should be there. / You should certainlybe there. You should be there, certainly.
cleverly Cleverly, Sally hid the jellybeans. Sally cleverly hid the jellybeans. *Sally hid the jellybeans, cleverly.
definitely *Definitely, you are smart. You defintely are smart. / You are definitely smart. *You are smart, definitely.
foolishly Foolishly, they cried out. They foolishly cried out. They cried out, foolishly.
generously Generously, he donated the money. He generously donated the money. *He donated the money, generously.
stupidly Stupidly, they played in the street. They stupidly played in the street. *They played in the street, stupidly.
obviously Obviously, we are lost. We are obviously lost. / *We obviously are lost. We are lost, obviously.
kindly Kindly, she fed the cat first. She kindly fed the cat first. She fed the cat first, kindly.
luckily Luckily, you got here on time. You luckily got here on time. You got here on time, luckily.
fortunately Fortunately, we found the boat. We fortunately found the boat. We found the boat,fortunately.
naturally Naturally, you cannot be in the circus now. You naturally cannot be in the circus now. You cannot be in the circus now, naturally.
wisely Wisely, she stayed home to take a nap. She wisely stayed home to take a nap. She stayed home to take a nap, wisely.
confidentially Confidentially, I never gave him the envelope. I never gave him the envelope, confidentially.
theoretically Theoretically, we could send astronauts to Mars. We could theoretically send astronauts to Mars. / We theoretically could send astronauts to Mars. We could send astronauts to Mars, theoretically.
truthfully Truthfully, I don’t like chocolate much. truthfully don’t like chocolate much. I don’t like chocolate much, truthfully.
disappointingly Disappointingly, she got fourth place. She disappointingly got fourth place. She got fourth place, disappointingly.
thoughtfully Thoughtfully, I turned away. thoughtfully turned away. I turned away, thoughtfully.
simply *Simply, I don’t want to come. simply don’t want to come.
unbelievably Unbelievably, she showed up late again. She unbelievably showed up late again. She showed up late again, unbelievably.
unfortunately Unfortunately, there is no more room. There is unfortunately no more room. / There unfortunately is no more room. There is no more room, unfortunately.

ASSIGNMENT : ENG: Adverbs Assignment MARKS : 10  DURATION : 3 days

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