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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
- May modify verbs, adjectives, prepositions, or other adverbs
- Are invariable
- Are categorized according to type of modification
- Follow specific placement rules
Common Spanish Adverbs
|Adverbs of Frequency||Adverbs of Manner|
|Adverbs of Place||Adverbs of Quantity|
|allá||over there||poco||few, little|
|en todas partes||everywhere||muy||very|
|en algún lugar||somewhere||más||more|
|Adverbs of Time||Interrogative Adverbs|
|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|
* 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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