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Adverbs of Manner: Full List with Examples & Exercises

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!

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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: 

 

What are adverbs of manner?

Remember! We use adverbs of manner to give information about how something is done.

1. How to form adverbs of manner

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:

AdjectiveAdverb
luckyluckily
happyhappily
greedygreedily

For adjectives ending in ‘-ful’ the adverb ending is ‘-fully’ (i.e. you add ‘-ly’).

AdjectiveAdverb
beautifulbeautifully
truthfultruthfully

For adjectives ending in ‘-le’, remove the ‘e’ and add ‘y’.
For example:

AdjectiveAdverb
simplesimply
gentlegently
2. Adverbs without ‘-ly’

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
AdjectiveAdverb
goodwell
fastfast
hardhard
3. Adjectives ending in ‘-ly’

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.
 

How do we use adverbs of manner?

An adverb of manner modifies a verb.

  • She talked slowly.
  • He shut the door quietly.

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.

1. Modal verbs and phrasal verbs

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)

2. Changing word order for emphasis

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.

3. Adverb position and meaning.

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:

  • She quietly asked me to pour the coffee. (quietly ask)
  • She asked me to pour the coffee quietly. (quietly pour)
4. Adverbs of manner in formal writing

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.
NOT
He planned to quickly walk to the bank, avoiding the crowd.

In spoken English it is not necessary to follow this rule.

5. Literary uses of adverbs

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:

  • Silently, the snake slithered through the open window.
  • The snake slithered silently through the open window.
  • The snake slithered through the open window, silently.
6. Informal English: breaking the ‘-ly’ rule

There are a few examples where the ‘-ly’ ending is dropped in informal English for some adverbs. Examples include: loud, tight, wrong.

  • Don’t talk so
  • It was packed
  • You guessed

Some popular everyday English expressions include adverbs in this form. For example: ‘take it easy’, ‘I’m doing fine’, ‘to play fair’.

7. Other uses of adverbs of manner

Adverbs of manner can be used as a one-word answer to a question. For example:

  • How did John do in the test? Well!
  • How did he answer the question?
8. Modifying adverbs of manner

Adverbs of manner can be modified by another adverb. For instance:

  • She walked quite slowly.
  • She walked extremely quickly.

For an explanation of the rules on modifying adverbs, see our blog post on Adverbs of Degree.
 

60 Adverbs of degree: A-Z list with examples

Angrily
    Pete shouted angrily out of the window.
He threw the book angrily across the table.

Anxiously
    He waited anxiously for the phone call.
She sat anxiously outside the interview room.

Badly
    She played the piano badly in the music exam.
The shed was badly damaged by the storm.

Other examples of collocations with badly include: badly behaved, badly dressed, badly designed, badly made and badly injured. Native speakers use collocations all the time. If you want your English to sound natural, you should make an effort to use them too!

Beautifully
    Daniel played the violin beautifully.
She sings beautifully.

Boldly
    She walked boldly up to the man and asked him the way.
He boldly stood up and spoke to the audience.

Bravely
    The policeman walked bravely into the dark building.
The victim bravely decided to speak out about what happened.

Brightly
   The sun shone brightly.
‘How are you feeling?’ she asked me brightly.

Calmly
   The teacher spoke calmly to the class.
She walked calmly into the room and asked the student to leave.

Carefully
    She carefully hid the letter under the mat.
Tom lifted the baby carefully from the cot.

Cautiously
    She cautiously opened the door and looked into the room.
Tim walked cautiously into the kitchen, hoping his mother would not shout at him.

Carelessly
    John threw the jacket carelessly onto the floor.
She grabbed the glass carelessly and it fell off the table.

Cheerfully
    Adam whistled cheerfully as he walked through the park.
Sally called cheerfully to her friend.

Clearly
    This is clearly not a good time to talk to you!
She clearly did not mean to upset you.

Closely
    The police watched him closely.
I am closely related to Tony.

Correctly
    He completed the form correctly.
She answered all the questions correctly.

Deliberately
    I’m annoyed with Ben. He deliberately ignored me last night.
He was deliberately late to the lesson.

Doubtfully
    He looked at her doubtfully.
‘You are qualified to do this, aren’t you?’ she asked doubtfully.

Easily
    Peter passed the physics exam easily.
I can easily beat you in a race!

Elegantly
    Clara strode elegantly across the room.
The model walked elegantly down the cat walk.

Enthusiastically
    The twins greeted their mum enthusiastically.
The boy jumped enthusiastically into the swimming pool.

Fast
    She ran really fast!
That train goes really fast.

Fiercely
    The lion roared fiercely.
‘Get off there!’ he shouted fiercely.

Foolishly
    I foolishly agreed to go to the fancy dress party.
‘I’ll win the race!’ he boasted foolishly.

If we want to comment on the action in the sentence, we usually position the “comment adverb” before the verb. e.g. I stupidly forgot to lock the door.

Generously
    He generously gave his prize to charity.
The children filled the collection boxed generously.

Gently
    The boy gently picked up the injured cat.
    He gently mentioned that she owed him some money.

Gladly
    She accepted the invitation gladly.
If I had it, I would gladly give more money to that charity.

Greedily
    He greedily ate the piece of cake.
    She greedily took all the sweets from the bowl.

Happily
    The children played happily in the garden.
    The dog followed along happily, wagging its tail.

Hard
    The men worked hard to repair the wall.
    She thought hard about it before she made her decision.

Remember not to add ‘-ly’ to the adjectives hard and late. The adverb and adjective have exactly the same form here. The adverbs hardly and lately do exist, but they have different meanings. Lately has a similar meaning to ‘recently’ and hardly means ‘almost not/never’.

Heavily
   The idea weighed heavily on his mind.
It rained heavily last night.

Honestly
   I’m sure he answered the question honestly.
I honestly can’t remember what happened that night!

Hurriedly
   She ended the conversation and walked hurriedly away!
She hurriedly grabbed the keys and ran out of the house.

Ingeniously
   That machine was ingeniously designed.
She ingeniously converted the wooden box into a book shelf.

Kindly
   She kindly gave me a diary for my birthday.
The teacher always spoke kindly to the youngest children. 

   Late
   The student arrived late to class.
The girls stayed up late.

Lazily
   The cat stretched out lazily on the warm path.
The boy yawned lazily.

Loudly
   The bell rang loudly at the end of the lesson.
Toby shouted loudly to his friend.

Naturally
   Sophie spoke naturally, even though she was nervous.
He naturally felt stressed about the Maths exam.

Neatly
   Tom folded the clothes neatly and put them away.
If you write neatly, the teacher can read your work.

Nervously
   The boy waited nervously outside the Head Teacher’s office.
Sarah whispered nervously to her friend.

Noisily
   He coughed noisily during the test.
You are not allowed to talk noisily in the library.

Patiently
   She waited patiently until her mum had finished.
She talked patiently to the little boy.

Adverbs of manner can be used to describe speed or volume, but they can also show emotion. The adverbs angrily, calmly, kindly, patiently and warmly can help us to explain how someone is feeling about what they are doing, or tell us something about their personality.

Politely
    I have asked you politely to stop talking!
The woman explained politely that we were not allowed to take photos.

Promptly
    He paid the bill promptly.
Alice arrived promptly for the meeting.

Quickly
    Jane ran quickly to the shop.
    Sue quickly remarried, following her divorce.

Quietly
    She talked quietly to the children.
She shut the door quietly, so she wouldn’t wake the baby.

Rapidly
    He turned the corner and walked rapidly back to the station.
    The temperature rose rapidly during the day.

Repeatedly
    He knocked on the door repeatedly.
    I have asked you repeatedly to stop doing that!

Rudely
    He rudely told me to stop talking!
   She slammed down the phone rudely.

Sadly
    She looked sadly at the broken picture.
    The old lady sadly cannot remember her family now.

Safely
    Make sure you cross the road safely!
    The family escaped safely from the burning house.

Seriously
    The Head Teacher spoke seriously to the new students.
    Do you seriously expect me to do that!

Other examples of collocations with seriously include: seriously damage, seriously affect and seriously consider.

Sharply
    The teacher spoke sharply to the children when they arrived late.
    The number of people who live alone has increased sharply in recent years.

Silently
    The thief crept silently across the room!
    The swan glided silently across the lake.

Slowly
    He climbed the stairs slowly.
    In your French exam, you should speak slowly and carefully.

Softly
    She spoke softly to the small child.
    He closed the door softly.

Suddenly
    Suddenly there was an extremely loud noise.
    The dog suddenly ran into the room barking.

Warmly
    He dressed warmly because it was a cold day.
    The teacher spoke warmly to the new students.

Well
    She coped well with the demands of a young family.
    Sandra always worked well with her colleagues.

Wisely
    The old man nodded wisely.
    Frank wisely suggested we travel by train.
 

Adverbs of manner: Exercises

Exercise 1

Answer these questions about adverbs of manner

  1. Adverbs of manner can modify:
    1. nouns
    2. verbs
    3. adjectives and adverbs
    4. adjectives, adverbs and verbs
  1. Which one of the following pairs are adverbs of manner?
    1. hard and fast
    2. quick and slow
    3. good and bad
    4. hot and cold
  1. Which of the following is not a possible position for an adverb of manner?
    1. Carefully, I picked up the jacket and walked out of the room.
    2. I picked carefully up the jacket and walked out of the room.
    3. I picked up the jacket carefully and walked out of the room.
    4. I carefully picked up the jacket and walked out of the room.
  1. Which adverb of manner is spelled incorrectly?
    1. simply
    2. beautifuly
    3. easily
    4. well
  1. Which of the following is an adverb of manner?
    1. sometimes
    2. easily
    3. totally
    4. lately
Exercise 2

Match the adverb on the right with the most appropriate verb on the left:

  1. dress        a. bravely
  2. yawn         b. greedily
  3. fight          c. patiently
  4. eat            d. sleepily
  5. wait           e. sensibly
Exercise 3

Choose the best adverb to complete each sentence:

  1. The baby slept _____________.
    a. sleepily.    b. silently.    c. kindly
  2. The car reversed _______________.
    a. rapidly.     b. seriously     c. weakly
  3. She answered ________________.
    a. healthily.     b. wisely.   a. fortunately
  4. The sun shone ______________.
    a. fast.    b. loudly    c. brightly
  5. Andy waited ________________ for me.
    a. rapidly     b. weakly     c. patiently
Exercise 4

Which adverb answers each of these questions best?

  1. How did the exam go?
    a. Well.    b. Happily.     c. Nervously.
  1. How did you answer?
    a. Truthfully.    b. Silently.     c. Healthily.
  1. How did she sing?
    a. Neatly.    b. Safely.     c. Beautifully.
  1. How did George behave at school today?
    a. Unfortunately.   b. Rapidly.    c. Badly.
  1. How was the parcel delivered?
    a. Closely.    b. Promptly.    c. Smoothly.

————————————————————————————————————–

Answers:

Exercise 1

  1. verbs
  2. hard and fast
  3. b. (I picked carefully…)
  4. beautifully
  5. easily

Exercise 2

  1. dress sensibly
  2. yawn sleepily
  3. fight bravely
  4. eat greedily
  5. wait patiently

Exercise 3

  1. silently
  2. rapidly
  3. wisely
  4. brightly
  5. patiently

Exercise 4

  1. well
  2. truthfully
  3. beautifully
  4. badly
  5. promptly
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Judith Pett — ESL Tutor
Judith P.
— ESL Tutor
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