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.

Some 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   demasiado too much
alto loudly   muy very
bajo softly   tanto so much/many, as much/many
-mente* -ly   más more
     menos less
Adverbs of frequency     
a veces sometimes   Adverbs of time
frecuentemente often   hoy today
siempre always   mañana tomorrow
raramente rarely   ayer yesterday
nunca never   ahora  now
     tarde late
Adverbs of palce   temprano early
aquí here   ya already
allí there   por fin finally
allá over there   actualmente   currently
todas partes everywhere   pronto soon
alguna parte somewhere   entonces next, then

*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

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, is 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 – detailed lesson coming soon.

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