ADVERBS: POSITION IN A SENTENCE
Words which are used to modify verbs or adjectives are usually referred to as adverbs. For instance, the adverbs in the following sentences are printed in bold type, and the words they modify are underlined.
e.g. I often visit the library.
It is surprisingly hot today.
In the first example, the adverb often modifies the verb visit. In the second example, the adverb surprisingly modifies the adjective hot.
Words which are used to modify adverbs can also be referred to as adverbs.
e.g. The train travels very quickly.
In this example, the adverb very modifies the adverb quickly.
1. Adverbs which modify adjectives and other adverbs
Adverbs which modify adjectives or other adverbs usually immediately precede the words they modify.
e.g. The package is extremely large.
We experienced relatively few difficulties.
Buses depart quite regularly.
In these examples, the underlined adverbs immediately precede the words they modify. Extremely modifies the adjective large, relatively modifies the adjective few, and quite modifies the adverb regularly.
The adverbs ago and enough are exceptional, since they usually follow the adjectives or adverbs they modify.
e.g. That happened long ago.
He is old enough to make his own decisions.
We ran fast enough to catch the bus.
In these examples, the adverbs ago and enough follow the words they modify. Ago modifies the adverb long, and enough modifies the adjective old and the adverb fast.
It should be noted that in modern English, when enough is used as an adjective modifying a noun, it precedes the noun. For instance, in the following example, the adjective enough precedes the noun apples.
e.g. Do we have enough apples to make a pie?
However, when ago is used with a noun, it follows the noun. For instance, in the following example, ago follows the noun months.
e.g. That happened six months ago.
The reason for this may be found in the history of the word. Ago, formerly spelled agone, was originally a past participle.
An adverb which is used to modify adjectives and adverbs, but which is not usually used to modify verbs, can be referred to as an intensifier. In the following examples, the intensifiers are printed in bold type.
e.g. I am very happy.
The film was quite good.
You did that rather well.
Must you leave so soon?
In these examples, very modifies the adjective happy, quite modifies the adjective good, rather modifies the adverb well, and so modifies the adverb soon.
The following words are commonly used as intensifiers:
In addition, the word really is often used as an intensifier in informal English.
e.g. The film was really good.
You did that really well.
2. Adverbs which modify verbs
The following table gives examples of six different types of adverb which can be used to modify verbs.