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.

Intermediate
"Adverbs of Manner" in the English Grammar

What Are Adverbs of Manner?

Adverbs of manner modify a verb to indicate how an action is done.

They show the way something is happening in a sentence. Take a look at some examples:

You have to walk quickly to be able to catch the bus.

Here, we are showing the pace and the way of something.

I found the restroom easily.

He tried to open the door quietly.

How Do We Make Adverbs of Manner?

We can usually form an adverb of manner from adjectives by adding the suffix –ly.

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

However, there can be some changes in the spelling. For example, when an adjective ends in -y we have to change the -y to -i 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:

  • 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 look exactly the same as the adjectives. These adverbs are called flat adverbs (also called 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 of these adjectives have different meanings when they take an -ly in the end:

  1. hardly
  2. lately
  3. highly

I was so shocked I could hardly speak.

What have you been doing lately?

He's a highly successful athlete.

Adverbs of Manner: placement

Adverbs of manner are usually placed:

  1. after the main verb and or its object or object phrase
  2. after the auxiliary and before 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 come between a verb and its direct object. We put them either before the verb or at the end of the 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!

Especially in a literary usage, writers put adverbs of manner at the beginning of a sentence or before a verb + object to put emphasis and draw our attention to the adverb.

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

Mary secretly told Alan to leave her house.

The telling is secret.

Mary told Alan secretly to leave her house.

The telling is secret.

Mary asked Alan to leave her house secretly.

The leaving is secret

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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