Adverbs

Adverbios

An adverb is an invariable word that modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Adverbs can provide additional information about manner, quantity, frequency, time, or place – they explain when, how, where, how often, or to what degree something is done.

Common Spanish adverbs

Adverbs of manner   Adverbs of quantity
bien well   bastante quite, enough
mal poorly   mucho  a lot
mejor better   poco few, little
peor worse   muy very
alto loudly   tanto so much/many, as much/many
bajo softly   más more
-mente* -ly   menos less
        
Adverbs of frequency   Adverbs of time
a veces sometimes   ayer yesterday
frecuentemente often   ahora  now
siempre always   luego next
raramente rarely   pronto soon
nunca never   tarde late
        
Adverbs of place   Interrogative adverbs
aquí here   cómo how
allí there   cuándo when
allá over there   cuánto how much/many
todas partes everywhere     dónde where
alguna parte somewhere   por qué why

* Nearly every Spanish word that ends in mente is an adverb, usually of manner. Its English equivalent ends in -ly:

  • rápidamente – rapidly
  • posiblemente – possibly
  • tristemente – sadly

Spanish adverb placement

The placement of Spanish adverbs can be difficult. Whereas in English their placement is sometimes arbitrary (they might be found before or after the verb, or even at the beginning or end of the sentence), the placement rules for Spanish adverbs are much stricter.

1. When a Spanish adverb is modifying a verb, it is placed after the verb.

Comimos bien este mañana.   We ate well this morning.
Los libros llegaron afortunadamente.   Fortunately the books arrived. / The books arrived, fortunately.

2. An adverb cannot be placed in between two verbs or between an auxiliary verb and main verb; it is placed after both of them.

Vamos a comer bien.   We’re going to eat well.
Has aprendido rápidamente   You have learned quickly OR You have quickly learned.

3. When an adverb is modifying an adjective or another adverb, it is placed in front of the word it is modifying.

Comimos muy bien.    We ate very well.
Sus ideas son completamente locas.   His ideas are completely crazy.

There are more rules to the placement and uses of Spanish adverbs, but these three apply to the majority of situations.

More Spanish adverbs

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