Introduction to Adverbs

Adverbs

Adverbs from the Spanish in Texas Corpus

An adverb is a word that modifies 1) a verb 2) an adjective or 3) another adverb. In English, many adverbs end in -ly. In Spanish, many adverbs end in -mente.

Afortunadamente estamos en El Paso.
Fortunately we are in El Paso.

Adverbs that Modify Verbs

Adverbs answer questions about the action: how? when? and where?

HowY unas palabras, pues no sé cómo decirlas correctamente en español.
And some words, well I don’t know how to say them correctly in Spanish.

When: Mi sueño es estudiar enfermería más tarde.
My dream is to study nursing later.

WhereSe casaron en la iglesia allá en Reynosa y se vinieron a casar aquí también. So, se casaron en los dos lugares.
They got married in the church there in Reynosa and they came here to get marry too. So they got married in both places.

Adverbs that Modify Adjectives and Adverbs

While adverbs often are used to modify verbs as seen in the examples above, they can also modify other adverbs as well as adjectives.

Adverb modifying an adjective:

En español es una palabra completamente diferente o a veces la palabra ni existe, y por eso, es interesante el espanglish.
In Spanish, it is a completely different word or sometimes the word does exist and that’s why Spanglish is interesting.

Adverb modifying another adverb:

Ellos hablan el español muy bien.
They speak Spanish very well.

Common Adverbs

Following is a list of frequently used adverbs, categorized by type:

Manner

  • bien well
  • mal badly
  • rápidamente quickly

Time 

  • a menudo often
  • a veces sometimes
  • siempre always 
  • nunca never
  • temprano early 
  • tarde late
  • pronto soon
  • hoy today 
  • ayer yesterday 
  • ahora now 
  • ya  already
  • mañana tomorrow

Place

  • dentro inside
  •  fuera outside 
  • aquí/acá here
  • allí/ahí/allá there

Quantity or Degree

  • mucho a lot 
  • muy very
  • demasiado too much 
  • bastante enough 
  • poco not much

Sequence

  • primero at first 
  • luego then, next 
  • entonces then, so 
  • por lo tanto thus 
  • finalmente finally

A very common adverb is así, this way, so, like that and it is used throughout the Spanish-speaking world. However, in some communities alternate forms of this adverb appear, for example asín in Southern Spain, or asina, widely used in Texas.

En el Army en veces creen que es puertorriqueña o algo asina.
In the Army sometimes they think it is Puertorican or something like that.

Yo sabía que era Hispanic. Asina: Hispanic.
I knew I was Hispanic. This way: Hispanic.

Adjectives vs. Adverbs

Remember that adjectives modify nouns and adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. In the following sentence, there are two adjectives mexicanas and bonitas both of which modify the noun tradiciones and one adverb muy which modifies the adjective bonitas.

Y las tradiciones mexicanas son muy bonitas.
And Mexican traditions are very nice.

It is common in spoken and informal English for speakers to use adjectives, such as good, in place of adverbs, such as well to modify verbs.

With an Adjective With an Adverb
Juan writes good Juan writes well
You need to drive slow in a school zone You need to drive slowly in a school zone

In Spanish, adjectives are rarely used to modify verbs; using the adverb is normally favored.

With an Adjective With an Adverb
Juan escribe bueno. Juan escribe bien.
Necesitas manejar lento en una zona escolar Necesitas manejar lentamente en una zona escolar