English Grammar Adverb Rules

 An adverb modifies a verb; it indicates how the action of a verb is carried out.


  • The house stands firmly.
  • She speaks well.
  • He dresses beautifully.

It can also modify an adjective or another adverb.


  • The house is very firm.
  • She answered most considerately.

Important Rules

Adverbs of manner such as well, fast, quickly, carefully, calmly etc. are placed after the verb if there is no object and after the object if there is one.

For example: :

  • a) It is raining heavily.
  • b) She speaks English well.

Adverbs of time such as always, often sometimes, never, generally, ever merely, seldom etc. are placed before the verb they qualify.

For example :

  • a) I seldom meet him. (Right)
  • b) I meet him seldom. (Wrong)

Adverbs of degree refer to words which show “how much”, “in what degree” or “to what extent” does the action takes place.

Meaning of too is more than enough. Too denotes some kind of excess.

For example:

  • a) He is too weak to walk.
  • b) It is never too late.

Hence, use of very in place of too is wrong.

For example: Instead of saying that

  • a) Cow’s milk is too nutritious We should say that
  • b) Cow’s milk is very nutritious.

Enough is placed after the word it qualifies.

For example: Everyone should be strong enough to support one’s family.

It will be wrong if we write ‘Everyone should be enough strong to support one’s family’.

Much is used with past participles.

For example:

  • a) He was much disgusted with his life.
  • b) The news was much surprising.

Very is used with present participles.

For example:

  • a) He is very disgusted with his life.
  • b) The news is very surpising.

When very and much are used to qualify superlative form of adjectives/adverbs, they should be put before the word ‘very’ and after the word ‘much’.

For example:

  • a) Rim is the very best boy in his class.
  • b) Rim is much the best boy in his class.

Adverbs of Affirmation or Negation refer to words that assert the action emphatically.

Consider these examples :

  • a) He certainly was a winner among them
  • b) Luckily he survived the crash

No sooner should always be followed by than.

For example:

  • a) No sooner I saw him I trembled with fear. (Wrong)
  • b) No sooner did I see him than I trembled with fear. (Right)

Not should not be used with the words, which have negative meaning if we want the sentence to be negative.

For example:

  • a) I received no letter neither from him nor from her. (Wrong)
  • b) I received letter neither from him nor from her. (Right)

Of course is used to denote a natural consequence. It should not be used in place of certainly, undoubtedly.

For example:

  • a) Of course he is the best player. (Wrong)
  • b) He is certainly the best player. (Right)

Following are Common Rules of Adverbs in General

Only is used before the word it qualifies.

For example:

  • a) Only I spoke to him.
  • b) I only spoke to him.
  • c) I spoke to him only.

Else is followed by but and not by than.

For example: It is nothing else but hypocrisy.

‘As’ is often used in a sentence though there is no need for it.

For example:

  • a) He is elected as the President. (Wrong)
  • b) He is elected President. (Right)

‘Perhaps’ means possibly whereas ‘probably’ means most likely.

For example:

  • a) Where is Govinda? Perhaps he is not here. (Wrong)
  • b) Where is Govinda? Probably he is not here. (Right)