Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner give us more information about how the verb is done. To learn their grammatical function and how to use them, read this.

"Adverbs of Manner" in the English Grammar

What Are Adverbs of Manner?

Adverbs of manner are a type of adverb used to modify verbs and describe how an action or event is done or takes place. They provide information about the way or manner in which something happens.

Adverbs of Manner: Structure

Adverbs of manner can often be formed from adjectives by adding the suffix '-ly'. For example:

  • quick + -ly → quickly
  • easy + -ly → easily
  • quiet + -ly → quietly

When forming adverbs, there can be some changes in the spelling. For example, when an adjective ends in -y we have to change the -y to '-i' and then add -ly:

  • easy + -ly → easily
  • happy + -ly → happily
  • angry + -ly → angrily

If the adjective already has as -ly in the end, we use the phrase in a (...) way/manner to form an adverbial of manner. Pay attention to the examples:

  • brotherly → in a brotherly manner

He treats his relatives in a brotherly manner.

  • silly → in a silly way

She behaved in a silly way last night.

  • deadly → in a deadly way

He stared at his opponent in a deadly way.

Some adverbs of manner have the same form as their corresponding adjectives. These adverbs are called flat adverbs, bare adverbs, or simple adverbs.

  • hard

She worked hard on that project.

  • late

Can you stay late?

  • early

I arrived early.

  • fast

Our son is growing up fast.

  • high

He kicked the ball high.

using an adverb of manner in a sentence

Warning

Some adjectives have different meanings when they are modified by the '-ly' suffix to become adverbs of manner. For example:

  1. hardly
  2. lately
  3. highly

I was so shocked I could hardly speak.

'Hardly' as an adverb means barely or only just.

What have you been doing lately?

As an adverb, 'lately' means recently or in the recent past.

He's a highly successful athlete.

As an adverb, 'highly' means very or to a great extent.

Adverbs of Manner: Placement

Adverbs of manner are usually placed:

  1. after the main verb and or its object or object phrase
  2. between the auxiliary and the main verb
  3. at the beginning or at the end of a sentence

She plays the piano beautifully.

He couldn't calmly open the safe.

She carefully opened the safe.

Cheetahs run fast.

Warning

Adverbs of manner cannot be placed between a verb and its direct object. Instead, they should be placed either before the verb or at the end of the clause clause (after the verb).

She ate hungrily a slice of bread.

She ate a slice of bread hungrily. Or She hungrily ate a slice of bread.

He walked slowly towards his house.

He walked towards his house slowly.

Tip!

In literary usage, writers may place adverbs of manner at the beginning of a sentence or before a verb + object to draw attention to the adverb and create emphasis.

She kindly took the baby in her arms.

Suddenly she turned back.

Is the Place of Adverbs of Manner Important?

The position of an adverb of manner is important when we have more than one verb in the sentence.

  • If we put the adverb before or after the main verb, it only describes that verb.
  • If we put the adverb after a clause, it describes the whole clause.

Mary secretly told Alan to leave her house.

Here, 'secretly' modifies the verb 'tell'

Mary told Alan secretly to leave her house.

Here too, 'secretly' modifies the verb 'tell'

Mary asked Alan to leave her house secretly.

Here, 'secretly' modifies the verb 'leave'

Warning

We cannot use adverbs of manner after linking verbs. We use adjectives instead:

The girl seemed happy. (Not The girl seemed happily.)

The flowers smelled pleasant. (Not The flowers smelled pleasantly.)

Review

Adverbs of manner modify verbs and they are either placed at the end of the sentence or after the subject. Remember we cannot use adverbs of manner with linking verbs, and they never modify linking verbs.

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