Adverbs

Spanish adverbs
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Adverbios

One of the eight parts of speech, adverbs are descriptors: they can modify several different parts of speech, including themselves. Virtually every Spanish word that ends in -mente is an adverb, equivalent to -ly in English. But there are also many adverbs that don’t end in -mente.

Characteristics of Spanish Adverbs

  1. May modify verbs, adjectives, prepositions, or other adverbs
  2. Are invariable
  3. Are categorized according to type of modification
  4. Follow specific placement rules

Common Spanish Adverbs

Adverbs of Frequency   Adverbs of Manner
a veces sometimes   bien well
frecuentemente often   mejor better
siempre always   peor worse
raramente rarely   alto loudly
nunca never   -mente* -ly
     
Adverbs of Place   Adverbs of Quantity
aquí here   bastante quite, enough
allí there   mucho  a lot
allá over there   poco few, little
en todas partes everywhere     muy very
en algún lugar somewhere   más more
        
Adverbs of Time   Interrogative Adverbs
ayer yesterday   cómo how
ahora  now   cuándo when
luego next   cuánto how much/many
pronto soon   dónde where
tarde late   por qué why
         
Negative Adverbs      
no not      
no … jamás never      
no … nunca never      
no … tampoco neither, not either      
         
Comparative Adverbs   Superlative Adverbs
más more, ___er   el más the most, the ___est
menos less   el menos the least
tan como
tanto como
as      

* 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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Spanish adverbs