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CHAPTER 25.  ADVERBS OF MANNER AND ADVERBS USED IN COMPARISONS

1. Adverbs of manner


Adverbs of manner are the largest group of adverbs. Most adverbs of manner are closely related to corresponding adjectives. Although some words can be used as either adjectives or adverbs, in most cases, adverbs of manner are formed by adding ly to the corresponding adjectives.

a. Spelling rules for adding ly
In most cases, ly is simply added to the positive form of the adjective. For example:

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  bad  badly
  complete  completely
  normal  normally
  surprising  surprisingly

i. Adjectives ending in ic
However, when the adjective ends in ic, the syllable al is usually added before the ly ending. For example:

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  dramatic  dramatically
  scientific  scientifically
  specific  specifically


ii. Adjectives ending in le
When the adjective ends in le preceded by a consonant, the final e is usually changed to y, to form the ly ending. For example:

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  favorable  favorably
  humble  humbly
  simple  simply

When the adjective ends in le preceded by a vowel, in most cases, ly is simply added to the positive form of the adjective. For example:

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  agile  agilely
  sole  solely

However, in the case of the adjective whole, the final e is removed before the ending ly is added:

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  whole  wholly


iii. Adjectives ending in ll
When the adjective ends in ll, only y is added. For example:

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  dull  dully
  full  fully
  shrill  shrilly


iv. Adjectives ending in ue
When the adjective ends in ue, the final e is usually omitted before the ending ly is added. For example:

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  due  duly
  true  truly


v. Adjectives ending in y
When the adjective ends in y preceded by a consonant, the y is usually changed to i before the ending ly is added. For example:

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  busy  busily
  easy  easily
  happy  happily

However, in the case of the adjectives shy and sly, ly is simply added to the positive form of the adjective:

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  shy  shyly
  sly  slyly

When the adjective ends in y preceded by a vowel, in most cases, ly is simply added to the positive form of the adjective. For example:

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  coy  coyly
  grey  greyly

However, in the case of the adjective gay, y is changed to i before the ending ly is added:

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  gay  gaily


See Exercise 1.

It should be noted that while most adverbs which end in ly are adverbs of manner, other types of adverb may also end in ly. For instance, consequently and subsequently are connecting adverbs. The following are adverbs of frequency which are formed by adding ly to the corresponding adjectives.

AdjectiveAdverb of Frequency
  frequent  frequently
  rare  rarely
  usual  usually


b. Adverbs which do not use the ending ly
The adverb of manner well appears unrelated to the corresponding adjective, good. Good and well both have the comparative form better and the superlative form best.

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  good  well

It should be noted that in addition to being used as an adverb, the word well can also be used as an adjective with the meaning healthy. The adjective well is most often used as a predicate adjective.
e.g. Well used as an Adjective: I hope you are well.
      Well used as an Adverb: He did well on the examination.
In the first example, well is a predicate adjective, modifying the pronoun you. In the second example, well is an adverb of manner, modifying the verb did.

The following table gives examples of adverbs of manner, location, time and frequency which have the same forms as the corresponding adjectives.

AdjectiveAdverb of Manner
  fast  fast
  hard  hard
  little  little
  loud  loud or loudly
  much  much
  straight  straight
   
AdjectiveAdverb of Location
  far  far
  high  high
  low  low
  near  near
  wide  wide
   
AdjectiveAdverb of Time
  early  early
  first  first
  late  late
  long  long
   
AdjectiveAdverb of Frequency
  daily  daily
  monthly  monthly
  weekly  weekly
  yearly  yearly


See Exercise 2.

It should also be noted that there are several adjectives ending in ly which have no corresponding adverbs:

      friendly
      likely
      lively
      lonely
      silly
      ugly

When it is desired to use one of these words to modify a verb, an adverb phrase of manner may be used. In the following examples, the adverb phrases are underlined.
e.g. He behaved in a friendly manner.
      They acted in a silly way.

The following table gives examples of pairs of adverbs which are closely related, but which have different meanings.

Adverbs With and Without ly Endings


AdverbMeaning AdverbMeaning
  hard  with effort   hardly  scarcely
  high  opposite of low   highly  very; very well
  late  opposite of early   lately  recently
  near  opposite of far   nearly  almost
  wide  opposite of narrow   widely  commonly

The meanings of these adverbs are illustrated in the following examples.
e.g. I worked hard.
      I have hardly enough time to finish.

      He threw the ball high into the air.
      He is highly successful in what he does.

      The class began late.
      The weather has been cold lately.

      I held my breath as the squirrel crept near to get the nuts.
      I have nearly finished reading the book.

      I opened the door wide.
      That theory is widely believed.

c. The differing functions of adjectives and adverbs
When an adverb differs in form from a corresponding adjective, it is necessary to distinguish between the functions of adjectives and adverbs in order to determine which form should be used in a given situation.

Whereas adjectives modify nouns, pronouns, and expressions which serve the same grammatical functions as nouns; adverbs modify verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

i. Adjectives which modify nouns compared with adverbs which modify verbs
The following examples illustrate the distinction which must be made between adjectives which modify nouns and adverbs which modify verbs. The adjectives and adverbs are printed in bold type, and the words which are modified are underlined.
e.g. Adjective: It has been a quiet afternoon.
      Adverb: The afternoon passed quietly.

      Adjective: She is a good musician.
      Adverb: She plays the flute very well.

In the first pair of sentences, the adjective quiet modifies the noun afternoon, whereas the adverb quietly modifies the verb passed. In the second pair of sentences, the adjective good modifies the noun musician, whereas the adverb well modifies the verb plays.

In informal English, adjectives are sometimes used to modify verbs.
e.g. She plays good.
In this example, the adjective good is used to modify the verb plays. However, this use of adjectives is considered to be grammatically incorrect.

See Exercise 3.

ii. Adjectives which modify nouns compared with adverbs which modify adjectives
The following examples illustrate the distinction which must be made between adjectives which modify nouns and adverbs which modify adjectives.
e.g. Adjective: a large wooden building
      Adverb: a largely wooden building

      Adjective: conspicuous dark clouds
      Adverb: conspicuously dark clouds

In the first pair of phrases, the adjective large modifies the noun building, and the adverb largely modifies the adjective wooden. Thus, the phrase a large wooden building has the meaning a big wooden building, whereas the phrase a largely wooden building has the meaning a building mostly made of wood.

In the second pair of phrases, the adjective conspicuous modifies the noun clouds, and the adverb conspicuously modifies the adjective dark. Thus, the phrase conspicuous dark clouds means that the clouds themselves are noticeable; whereas the phrase conspicuously dark clouds means that the darkness of the clouds is noticeable.

See Exercise 4.

iii. Predicate adjectives which modify the subjects of verbs compared with adverbs which modify verbs
As pointed out previously, certain verbs, called linking verbs, can be followed by predicate adjectives. A distinction must be made between predicate adjectives which modify the subjects of linking verbs, and adverbs which modify verbs.

A few linking verbs, such as the verb to be, can be followed by predicate adjectives, but cannot be modified by adverbs of manner. In the following examples using the verb to be, the nouns which are modified are underlined.
e.g. He is happy.
      The wind was strong.
In these examples, the predicate adjectives happy and strong modify the subjects he and wind.

However, there are several verbs which can be used either as linking verbs followed by predicate adjectives, or as non-linking verbs modified by adverbs of manner. The following examples illustrate the use of the verb to appear as a linking verb and as a non-linking verb.
e.g. Linking Verb: His uncle appeared kind.
      Non-linking Verb: His uncle appeared punctually at ten o'clock.

In the first example, kind is a predicate adjective which modifies the noun uncle. In the second example, punctually is an adverb of manner which modifies the verb appeared.

The verbs below can be used either as linking or non-linking verbs:

  to appear  to become
  to feel  to grow
  to look  to remain
  to smell  to sound
  to taste  to turn

If the subject of the verb is to be modified, a predicate adjective is required after such verbs; whereas if the verb is to be modified, an adverb is required. In the pairs of examples below, the verbs to grow, to look and to turn are used first as linking verbs followed by adjectives, and then as non-linking verbs modified by adverbs. The adjectives and adverbs are printed in bold type, and the words which are modified are underlined.

e.g. Adjective: As he became old, he grew slow at remembering dates.
      Adverb: The tree grew slowly.

      Adjective: They looked anxious.
      Adverb: We looked anxiously up the street.

      Adjective: The weather turned cold.
      Adverb: She turned coldly away from the salesman.

In these examples, the predicate adjectives slow, anxious and cold modify the subjects he, they and weather; whereas the adverbs of manner slowly, anxiously and coldly modify the verbs grew, looked and turned.

See Exercise 5.

 

2. Adverbs used in comparisons


a. The formation of comparative and superlative forms of adverbs
It should be noted that many adverbs, such as sometimes, never, here, there, now, then, first, again, yesterday and daily have no comparative or superlative forms.

i. Adverbs used with More and Most
Most adverbs used in comparisons, including those formed from corresponding adjectives by adding the ending ly, form the comparative with the word more, and the superlative with the word most. For example:

Positive FormComparative FormSuperlative Form
  carefully  more carefully  most carefully
  easily  more easily  most easily
  frequently  more frequently  most frequently
  slowly  more slowly  most slowly
  softly  more softly  most softly


ii. Adverbs used with the endings er and est
Adverbs which have the same positive forms as corresponding adjectives generally also have the same comparative and superlative forms as the corresponding adjectives. For example:

Positive FormComparative FormSuperlative Form
  early  earlier  earliest
  fast  faster  fastest
  hard  harder  hardest
  high  higher  highest
  late  later  latest
  long  longer  longest
  low  lower  lowest
  near  nearer  nearest
  straight  straighter  straightest

The adverb of time soon also uses the endings er and est:

Positive FormComparative FormSuperlative Form
  soon  sooner  soonest

It should be noted that adverbs formed by adding ly to one-syllable adjectives are sometimes used with the endings er and est.
e.g. We walked slower and slower.
      They sang the softest.

However, in modern English, it is generally considered to be more correct to write:
      We walked more and more slowly.
      They sang the most softly.

iii. Irregular adverbs
The irregular adverbs have the same comparative and superlative forms as the corresponding irregular adjectives:

Positive FormComparative FormSuperlative Form
  badly  worse  worst
  far  farther or further  farthest or furthest
  little  less  least
  much  more  most
  well  better  best


b. Positive forms of adverbs used in comparisons
The constructions employed when adverbs are used in comparisons are very similar to those employed when adjectives are used in comparisons.

i. The construction with As ... As
When used in making comparisons, the positive form of an adverb is usually preceded and followed by as. This construction is summarized below, followed by examples.

    as   +  positive form   +  as 
      of adverb   
         
        I can run  as  fast  as  you can.
        He moves  as  slowly  as  a snail.
        Her eyes shone  as  brightly  as  stars.

If desired, an adverb may be placed before the first occurrence of as:

    adverb   +  as   +  positive form   +  as 
        of adverb   
           
        I can run  twice  as  fast  as  you can.
        Her eyes shone  almost  as  brightly  as  stars.


ii. Ellipsis
Ellipsis is often employed in comparisons using adverbs. For instance, in the second half of such comparisons, instead of repeating the verb, the first auxiliary may be used, or the verb may be omitted entirely. In the following examples, the words which would usually be omitted are enclosed in square brackets.
e.g. I can run as fast as you can [run].
      He moves as slowly as a snail [moves].
      Her eyes shone as brightly as stars [shine].

c. Comparative forms of adverbs used in comparisons

i. The construction with Than
When used in making comparisons, the comparative form of an adverb is usually followed by than. This construction is summarized below, followed by examples.

    comparative form   +  than 
    of adverb   
       
        He can swim  farther  than  I can.
        She sings  more beautifully  than  her sister does.

As is the case with comparisons using adjectives, comparisons using adverbs can be combined with phrases or clauses.
e.g. She performs better in front of an audience than she does in rehearsal.
      They walked faster when they were on their way to school than they did
        when they were on their way home.

In the first example, the two situations being compared are distinguished by the phrases in front of an audience and in rehearsal. In the second example, the two situations being compared are distinguished by the clauses when they were on their way to school and when they were on their way home. The use of ellipsis should be noted. In the first example, the auxiliary does is used instead of repeating the verb performs. In the second example, the auxiliary did is used instead of repeating the verb walked.

See Exercise 6.

ii. Progressive comparisons
The comparative forms of adverbs can be used in progressive comparisons. For adverbs with the ending er, the following construction is used:

    comparative form   +  and   +  comparative form
    of adverb    of adverb
       
e.g.   The plane flew  higher  and  higher.
        The team performed  better  and  better.

The meanings expressed in these examples can also be expressed as follows:
e.g. The plane flew increasingly high.
      The team performed increasingly well.

For adverbs which form the comparative with more, the following construction is used:

    more   +  and   +  more   +  positive form
          of adverb
         
        He solved the problems  more  and  more  easily.
        We visited them  more  and  more  frequently.

The meanings expressed in these examples can also be expressed as follows:
e.g. He solved the problems increasingly easily.
      We visited them increasingly frequently.

iii. The construction with Less and Less
A similar construction, employing the expression less and less, can also be used. The expressions less and less and more and more have opposite meanings.

    less   +  and   +  less   +  positive form
          of adverb
         
        He solved the problems  less  and  less  easily.
        We visited them  less  and  less  frequently.

The meanings expressed in these examples can also be expressed as follows:
e.g. He solved the problems decreasingly easily.
      We visited them decreasingly frequently.

See Exercise 7.

iv. The construction with The ..., the ...
Two clauses, each beginning with the, and each containing a comparative form of an adjective or adverb, can be used together in order to indicate a cause and effect relationship between two different things or events. This construction is summarized below, followed by examples.

    comparative  1st part of    comparative  2nd part of
  The   +  form of adverb   +  comparison,   +  the   +  form of adverb   +  comparison
    or adjective      or adjective 
           
  The  more  they eat,  the  fatter  they get.
  The  faster  we skated,  the  warmer  we felt.

The following are further examples of the use of this type of construction. In these examples, the comparative forms are underlined.
e.g. The more cleverly we hid the Easter eggs, the more enthusiastically the children searched for them.
      The more I scold her, the worse she behaves.
As shown in the examples, in this type of construction the two clauses beginning with the must be separated by a comma.

d. Superlative forms of adverbs used in comparisons

i. The construction with The
When used in making comparisons, the superlative form of an adverb is usually preceded by the. This construction is summarized below, followed by examples.

    the   +  superlative form 
      of adverb 
       
        He jumped  the  highest  of all the boys in the class.
        Our team plays  the  best  of all the teams in the league.
        They sing  the  most sweetly  of all the choirs I have heard.

See Exercises 8 and 9.

In the case of adverbs which form the superlative with the ending est, the superlative is sometimes preceded by a possessive adjective, instead of by the definite article, the. In the following examples, the possessive adjectives are printed in bold type.
e.g. He ran his fastest.
      I did my best.

ii. The construction with The Least
Adverbs may also be preceded by the expression the least. This construction is summarized below, followed by examples. The words least and most have opposite meanings.

    the   +  least   +  positive form 
        of adverb 
         
        She speaks  the  least  loudly  of all the children.
        This bus runs  the  least  often. 

 

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