Adverbs are words that modify (1) verbs, (2) adjectives, and (3) other adverbs. They tell how (manner), when (time), where(place), how much (degree), and why (cause). Why is a common one-word adverb that tells why. Adverbs that tell us how, when, where, and why always modify the verb. These adverbs can shift location in the sentence without changing meaning or what they modify. Adverbs that tell us how much modify adjectives or other adverbs. Adverbs that tell how muchwill come just before the adjectives or adverbs that they modify. These adverbs are also called qualifiers because they strengthen or weaken the words they modify. Examples: He kicked the ball solidly (how). He kicked the ball immediately (when). He kicked the ball forward (where). He kicked the ball toohard (how much).
Not and its contraction n’t are adverbs. They really modify the entire sentence, but we will have them modify the verb as it is the most important word in the sentence. This is a common practice in grammar books.
Instruction: Find the adverbs modifying other adverbs in the following sentences and tell what word they modify.
1. The announcer should speak less loudly.
2. You should do much better.
3. People shouldn’t change their jobs too often.
4. Very slowly the car started down the hill.
5. The contestant answered the question rather uncertainly.
–For answers scroll down.
1. less modifies loudly
2. much modifies better
3. too modifies often
4. very modifies slowly
5. rather modifies uncertainly
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