In this study guide, we will walk you through a range of adverbs of manner with examples of how to use each of them in a sentence. Don’t forget to check out the exercises at the end to test your understanding! You can also download this guide as a free pdf to use offline. Ready? Let’s dive in!
Adverbs of manner help us to express how we do something. Most adverbs of manner end with ‘-ly’ and they can express the speed, volume, or style with which we do something. Common adverbs of manner are: quickly, slowly, loudly, quietly, beautifully and badly.
What you will learn:
Remember! We use adverbs of manner to give information about how something is done.
Adverbs of manner are formed by adding ‘-ly’ to an adjective:
For example: nervous + ly, quick + ly, slow + ly
For adjectives that end with ‘y’ we need to change the adverb ending to ‘-ily’.
For example: easy becomes easily
Here are some more examples of this spelling change:
For adjectives ending in ‘-ful’ the adverb ending is ‘-fully’ (i.e. you add ‘-ly’).
For adjectives ending in ‘-le’, remove the ‘e’ and add ‘y’.
There are a few adverbs that do not end in ‘-ly’. These are irregular adverbs.
For example, hard is an adjective AND an adverb:
She is a hard worker. (adjective = describes the noun)
She works hard. (adverb = describes the action of the verb)
|Examples of irregular adverbs|
Adjectives that already end in ‘-ly’, such as silly or lively, cannot be changed into adverbs.
Instead, we use the construction ‘in a ____xx____ way’ to express manner. For example:
* The little boy walked in a silly way.
* They danced in a lively way.
An adverb of manner modifies a verb.
We put adverbs of manner after the main verb:
Subject + main verb + adverb of manner
e.g. Tom runs quickly.
The position of the adverb does not change in a negative sentence:
Subject + main verb + adverb of manner
e.g. He didn’t work quickly.
Adverbs of manner can also be placed after the object.
Subject + main verb + object + adverb of manner
e.g. Daisy ate the pizza slowly.
Remember! An adverb of manner cannot be put between a verb and its direct object. For example, it is incorrect to say: Daisy ate slowly the pizza.
With modal verbs, the adverb of manner appears after the main verb or after the object:
Subject + modal + main verb + adverb of manner
e.g. You mustn’t shout loudly in the corridor. (after the main verb)
Subject + modal + main verb + object + adverb of manner
e.g. You should talk to your aunt politely. (after the object)
With phrasal verbs, the adverb of manner cannot appear between the verb and its particle. Generally speaking, we put the adverb before the main verb, but it can sometimes be after the particle (depending on the meaning).
e.g John quickly took off his shoes before he jumped into the water.
He picked up the bag quickly and ran off.
NOT: He picked quickly up the bag… (split phrasal verb)
The position of the adverb can be changed for emphasis. By choosing where to position the adverb we can subtly change the meaning of the sentence. Here the word ‘carefully’ is emphasised when the adverb is positioned before the verb.
Subject + adverb of manner + main verb + object
Sarah carefully folded the blankets.
Subject + main verb + object + adverb of manner
Sarah folded the blankets carefully.
Adverb of manner + subject + main verb + object
Carefully, Sarah folded the blankets.
The position of the adverb can also affect the meaning of the sentence, especially when the sentence has more than one verb. Compare the very different meanings of these two sentences:
In formal written English, some people disapprove of positioning the adverb between the particle and the verb in an infinitive. For example, the correct formal use should be:
He planned to walk quickly to the bank, avoiding the crowd.
He planned to quickly walk to the bank, avoiding the crowd.
In spoken English it is not necessary to follow this rule.
Adverbs are used more flexibly in literary writing (stories) than in everyday English. This is to create drama and interest in the story. We saw this same effect in point 3. above.
In the following sentence, the adverb can appear in three different positions to change the emphasis:
There are a few examples where the ‘-ly’ ending is dropped in informal English for some adverbs. Examples include: loud, tight, wrong.
Some popular everyday English expressions include adverbs in this form. For example: ‘take it easy’, ‘I’m doing fine’, ‘to play fair’.
Adverbs of manner can be used as a one-word answer to a question. For example:
Adverbs of manner can be modified by another adverb. For instance:
For an explanation of the rules on modifying adverbs, see our blog post on Adverbs of Degree.
Pete shouted angrily out of the window.
He threw the book angrily across the table.
He waited anxiously for the phone call.
She sat anxiously outside the interview room.
She played the piano badly in the music exam.
The shed was badly damaged by the storm.
Daniel played the violin beautifully.
She sings beautifully.
She walked boldly up to the man and asked him the way.
He boldly stood up and spoke to the audience.
The policeman walked bravely into the dark building.
The victim bravely decided to speak out about what happened.
The sun shone brightly.
‘How are you feeling?’ she asked me brightly.
The teacher spoke calmly to the class.
She walked calmly into the room and asked the student to leave.
She carefully hid the letter under the mat.
Tom lifted the baby carefully from the cot.
She cautiously opened the door and looked into the room.
Tim walked cautiously into the kitchen, hoping his mother would not shout at him.
John threw the jacket carelessly onto the floor.
She grabbed the glass carelessly and it fell off the table.
Adam whistled cheerfully as he walked through the park.
Sally called cheerfully to her friend.
This is clearly not a good time to talk to you!
She clearly did not mean to upset you.
The police watched him closely.
I am closely related to Tony.
He completed the form correctly.
She answered all the questions correctly.
I’m annoyed with Ben. He deliberately ignored me last night.
He was deliberately late to the lesson.
He looked at her doubtfully.
‘You are qualified to do this, aren’t you?’ she asked doubtfully.
Peter passed the physics exam easily.
I can easily beat you in a race!
Clara strode elegantly across the room.
The model walked elegantly down the cat walk.
The twins greeted their mum enthusiastically.
The boy jumped enthusiastically into the swimming pool.
She ran really fast!
That train goes really fast.
The lion roared fiercely.
‘Get off there!’ he shouted fiercely.
I foolishly agreed to go to the fancy dress party.
‘I’ll win the race!’ he boasted foolishly.
He generously gave his prize to charity.
The children filled the collection boxed generously.
The boy gently picked up the injured cat.
He gently mentioned that she owed him some money.
She accepted the invitation gladly.
If I had it, I would gladly give more money to that charity.
He greedily ate the piece of cake.
She greedily took all the sweets from the bowl.
The children played happily in the garden.
The dog followed along happily, wagging its tail.
The men worked hard to repair the wall.
She thought hard about it before she made her decision.
The idea weighed heavily on his mind.
It rained heavily last night.
I’m sure he answered the question honestly.
I honestly can’t remember what happened that night!
She ended the conversation and walked hurriedly away!
She hurriedly grabbed the keys and ran out of the house.
That machine was ingeniously designed.
She ingeniously converted the wooden box into a book shelf.
She kindly gave me a diary for my birthday.
The teacher always spoke kindly to the youngest children.
The student arrived late to class.
The girls stayed up late.
The cat stretched out lazily on the warm path.
The boy yawned lazily.
The bell rang loudly at the end of the lesson.
Toby shouted loudly to his friend.
Sophie spoke naturally, even though she was nervous.
He naturally felt stressed about the Maths exam.
Tom folded the clothes neatly and put them away.
If you write neatly, the teacher can read your work.
The boy waited nervously outside the Head Teacher’s office.
Sarah whispered nervously to her friend.
He coughed noisily during the test.
You are not allowed to talk noisily in the library.
She waited patiently until her mum had finished.
She talked patiently to the little boy.
I have asked you politely to stop talking!
The woman explained politely that we were not allowed to take photos.
He paid the bill promptly.
Alice arrived promptly for the meeting.
Jane ran quickly to the shop.
Sue quickly remarried, following her divorce.
She talked quietly to the children.
She shut the door quietly, so she wouldn’t wake the baby.
He turned the corner and walked rapidly back to the station.
The temperature rose rapidly during the day.
He knocked on the door repeatedly.
I have asked you repeatedly to stop doing that!
He rudely told me to stop talking!
She slammed down the phone rudely.
She looked sadly at the broken picture.
The old lady sadly cannot remember her family now.
Make sure you cross the road safely!
The family escaped safely from the burning house.
The Head Teacher spoke seriously to the new students.
Do you seriously expect me to do that!
The teacher spoke sharply to the children when they arrived late.
The number of people who live alone has increased sharply in recent years.
The thief crept silently across the room!
The swan glided silently across the lake.
He climbed the stairs slowly.
In your French exam, you should speak slowly and carefully.
She spoke softly to the small child.
He closed the door softly.
Suddenly there was an extremely loud noise.
The dog suddenly ran into the room barking.
He dressed warmly because it was a cold day.
The teacher spoke warmly to the new students.
She coped well with the demands of a young family.
Sandra always worked well with her colleagues.
The old man nodded wisely.
Frank wisely suggested we travel by train.
Answer these questions about adverbs of manner
Match the adverb on the right with the most appropriate verb on the left:
Choose the best adverb to complete each sentence:
Which adverb answers each of these questions best?