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Adverbs are used to describe actions. They may come before or after a verb, but not between a verb and its object.

  • Mrs. JennerĀ softlyĀ sang.Ā (Most common word order.)
  • Mrs. JennerĀ softlyĀ sang.Ā (Also possible.)
  • Mrs. JennerĀ softlyĀ sang a lullaby.
  • Mrs. Jenner sang a lullabyĀ softly.
  • Mrs. Jenner sang softly a lullaby. (Not correct.)

Adverbs may come between a main verb and its auxiliaries.

  • Mrs. Jenner isĀ softlyĀ singing a lullaby.
  • Mrs. Jenner softly is singing a lullaby. (Not correct.)
  • Mrs. Jenner has beenĀ softlyĀ singing that lullaby for a long time.

Some time and frequency adverbs are ā€œmovable.ā€ That is, they can be placed at various points in a sentence.

  • YesterdayĀ I visited the dentist.
  • I visited the dentistĀ yesterday.
  • Jack Prompt is hereĀ already.
  • Jack Prompt isĀ alreadyĀ here.

Caution: Even though some adverbs can be used in certain sentence positions, others can not.

  • I yesterday visited the dentist. (Not okay.)
  • I already visited the dentist. (Okay.)
  • Already I visited the dentist. (Not okay.)

Adverbs such asĀ quite,Ā very,Ā really,Ā extremely, andĀ absolutelyĀ are used to modify adjectives and other adverbs.

  • They come directly before the words they describe.
  • Greg is quite happy with his new boss.
  • Sue eats very slowly.
  • Youā€™re absolutely right!

Many adverbs can be formed by adding ā€“ly to adjectives:

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