Adverbs of manner
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Most adverbs of manner are formed by adding -ly to an adjective, but sometimes other spelling changes are needed.

  • We cannot form adverbs from adjectives that end in "-ly".
  • Some adverbs have the same form as adjectives.
  • We do not use adverbs after link verbs, you use adjectives.
  • Adverbials of manner are sometimes prepositional phrases or noun groups.

1. Adverbs of manner are often formed by adding -ly to an adjective.

 bad badly
 beautiful beautifully
 careful carefully
 quick quickly
 quiet quietly
 soft softly

 2. Adverbs formed in this way usually have a similar meaning to the adjective.

She is as clever as she is beautiful.
He talked so politely and danced so beautifully.
"We must not talk. We must be quiet," said Sita.
She wanted to sit quietly, to relax.

3. There are sometimes changes in spelling when an adverb is formed from an adjective.

  • -le changes to -ly
  • -y changes to -ily
  • -ic changes to -ically
  • -ue changes to -uly
  • -ll changes to -lly
 Adjectives  Adverbs
 gentle  gently
 easy  easily
 automatic  automatically
 true  truly
 full  fully

Note that 'public' changes to 'publicly', not 'publically'.


WARNING: We cannot form adverbs from adjectives that already end in '-ly'. For example, you cannot say "He smiled at me friendlily.". We can sometimes use a prepositional phrase instead: "He smiled at me in a friendly way".

4. Some adverbs of manner have the same form as adjectives and have similar meanings, for example fast, hard, and late.

I've always been interested in fast cars. (adjective)
The driver was driving too fast. (adverb)

Note that hardly and lately are not adverbs of manner and have different meanings from the adjectives hard and late.

It was a hard decision to make.                 X                                         I hardly had any time to talk to her.
The train was late as usual.                       X                                         Have you seen John lately?

5. The adverb of manner related to the adjective good and well.

He is a good dancer.
He dances well.
Note that 'well' can sometimes be an adjective when it refers to someone's health.
"How are you?"- "I am very well, thank you."

6. We do not use adverbs after linking verbs such as be, become, feel, get, look, and seem. You use an adjective after these verbs.

For example, you do not say "Sue felt happily". You say "Sue felt happy".

7. We do not often use prepositional phrases or noun groups as adverbials of manner. However, we occasionally need to use them, for example when there is no adverb form available. The prepositional phrases and noun groups usually include a noun such as way,  fashion, or manner, or a noun that refers to someone's voice.

She asked me in such a nice manner that I couldn't refuse..
He did it the right way..
They spoke in angry tones.
Prepositional phrases with 'like' are also used as adverbials of manner.
I slept like a baby..
He drove like a madman.