Adverbs – Formation and Placement

In Spanish as in English, an adverb describes the action of a verb. It answers such questions as where?, when?, how?, how long?, or how often? Adverbs are invariable and may be used with almost all verbs. An adverb may also qualify an adjective or another adverb. Consider the sentence below which contains two adverbs.

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

Muy qualifies bien and bien describes the action of the verb hablar.

Formation of Regular Adverbs

A large number of Spanish adverbs are derived from adjectives.

They are usually formed by adding -mente to the feminine singular form of the adjective as seen in the following sentence which has the adverb últimamente, derived from the feminine form of the adjective último plus -mente

Una de las cosas que ha hecho últimamente es estar en Facebook como los jóvenes hoy en día.
One of the things that he’s done lately is being on Facebook like young people today.


Adverbs that Modify an Adjective or Another Adverb

Adverbs are placed directly before the adjective or adverb that they modify.

Todos son bien diferentes.
They all are very different.

Adverbs that Modify a Whole Sentence

If an adverb is a comment on the entire sentence (desafortunadamente, seguramente), it may be placed at the beginning or end of the sentence. Adverbs of this type include adverbs of time and place.

Ahora es casi un dialecto de San Antonio.
Now it is almost a dialect of San Antonio.