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LEARN SPANISH ADVERBS

Spanish Adverbs are invariable words, that is, they do not distinguish between masculine and feminine or singular and plural. Adverbs are types of words that we use to define or describe verbs, adjectives and other adverbs in the sentence.

Example

Él aprende Inglés rápido. (He learns English fast)

Ella aprende Inglés rápido. (She learns English fast)

In these examples, "rápido" (fast) describes they way "él / ella" (he / she) "aprende Inglés" (learns English) If the adverb describes the adjective normally it goes before it.

Example

Son sumamente felices. (They are extremely happy)

In this example, "sumamente" (extremely) describes the adjective "felices" (happy). Sometimes they can also modify a whole sentence.

Example

Llamaron cuando llegaron. (They phoned when they arrived).

In this example "cuando" (when) introduces a sentence "llegaron" (they arrived) and at the same time modifies the whole sentence "llamaron" (they phoned). There are seven main types of adverbs we need to learn:

Adverbs of place: aquí, cerca, lejos

Adverbs of time: antes, hoy, mañana

Adverbs of manner: así, bien, mal

Adverbs of quantity: muy, todo, nada

Adverbs of affirmation: sí, claro, también

Adverbs of negation: no, jamás, tampoco

Adverbs of doubt: quizás, tal vez, a lo mejor

Just by adding "-mente" to an adjective in its feminine, singular form we get many adverbs in Spanish. They are the equivalent to the English adverbs ending in "-ly".

Example

lento - lentamente (slow - slowly)

Some adverbs consist of two or more words acting as one.

Example

A lo mejor no vienen. (Maybe they do not come)

There are expressions formed by the preposition "con" (with) + noun in its singular form that are also considered adverbs.

Example

Compré el regalo con ilusión. (I bought the present with excitement)

Compré el regalo ilusionadamente. (I bought the present excitedly)

In this example we have used the noun "ilusión" (excitement) from which we can get the adjective "ilusionado (masculine) and ilusionada (feminine)" (excited) and then from the adjective, singular, feminine we can get the adverb

"ilusionadamente" (excitedly).

Some times we can find two adverbs that go together modifying the same noun, adjective, adverb or sentence. In this case, they will be joined by the conjunction "y" (and) and only the last adverb will end in "-mente" (-ly).

Example

El profesor explica clara y sencillamente. (The teacher explains clear and simply).

We are now going to explain each type of adverb.

ADVERBS OF PLACE. Adverbs of place tell us where the action was carried out. To identify them we can ask a question starting with "dónde" (where).

Example

Nos contaron la noticia aquí. (They told us the news here)

In this example if we ask, "¿Dónde nos contaron la noticia?" (Where did they tell us the news?) we will get the answer "aquí" (here) which is the adverb of place of the sentence. It is the word that tells us the place where the action of "contarnos la noticia" (telling us the news) took place.

ADVERBS OF TIME. Adverbs of time tell us the time when the action took place. To identify them we can ask a question starting with "cuándo" (when).

Example

Nos contaron la noticia ayer. (They told us the news yesterday).

In this example if we ask, "¿cuándo nos contaron la noticia?" (when did they tell us the news?) we will get the answer "ayer" (yesterday) which is the adverb of time of the sentence. It is the word that tells us the time when the action of "contarnos la noticia" (telling us the news) took place.

ADVERBS OF MANNER. Adverbs of manner are going to tell us the way the action has been performed, so by asking "cómo" (how) we will get the adverb of manner within a sentence.

Example

Nos contaron la noticia felizmente. (They told us the news happily).

In this example if we ask, "¿cómo nos contaron la noticia?" (how did they tell us the news?) we will get the answer "felizmente" (happily) which is the adverb of manner of the sentence. It is the word that tells us the way the action of "contarnos la noticia" (telling us the news) was carried out (by them).

ADVERBS OF QUANTITY. Adverbs of quantity are going to modify other adverbs or adjectives. To identify them we can ask a question starting with "¿cuánto?" (how much?).

Example

Nos contaron la noticia bastante felizmente. (They told us the news quite happily).

In this example "bastante" (quite) tells us "how happy" they tell us the news. These adverbs of quantity can increase or decrease the meaning of the adverb or adjective they are modifying.

ADVERBS OF AFFIRMATION. Adverbs of affirmation are used to answer a question in an affirmative way.

Example

Ciertamente nos contaron la noticia. (They certainly told us the news)

In this example, "ciertamente" (certainly) is used to make affirmative the action of "contarnos la noticia" (telling us the news).

ADVERBS OF NEGATION. Adverbs of negation are used to answer a question in a negative way or when talking, to disagree with the other speaker or response to him in a negative way. In other words, they are used to make negative the action of the sentence.

Example

Nunca nos contaron la noticia. (They never told us the news)

In this example, "nunca" (never) negates the action of "contarnos la noticia" (telling us the news).

ADVERBS OF DOUBT. Adverbs of doubt are used to show a sense of hesitation or doubt about the action of the sentence.

Example

Quizás nos contaron la noticia. (Perhaps they told us the news).

In this example, "quizás" (perhaps) indicates a sense of doubt or uncertainty from the speakers point of view about the action of "contaron la noticia" (they told us the news). Adverbs, like adjectives, can be used in comparisons . Normally they follow the same rules as adjectives and like them there are a few that are irregular when making their comparisons. These you will have to learn by heart.

Adverb

Comparative

Superlative

Bien (well) mejor (better) el mejor (the best)
Mal (badly) peor (worse) el peor (the worst)
Poco (little) menos (less) el menos (the least)
Mucho (much) más (more) el más (the most)