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SPANISH ADVERBS

Spanish adverbs

This page will quickly give you a good understanding of the major issues around Spanish adverbs. Like adjectives, there are a myriad of adverbs which enrich most of the sentences you read. We will look at the ways adverbs are formed, positioned and how comparatives are used. You will learn all the popular adverbs in current use today.

Definition

An adverb gives further information to a sentence when combined with a verb, another adverb or an adjective. They answer the questions: where, when, how, how much, how long, in what manner or cirumstances, to what degree.

Formation of adverbs

There are several different ways adverbs can be formed and some are irregular so you just have to learn them. Don't be alarmed this just requires a bit of concentration and work!

(1) Many adverbs are formed from adjectives, especially if referring to how the action is taking place. If the related adjective ends in the masculine -o or feminine -a, the -mente is added to the feminine ending.

Many Spanish adjectives in the masculine end in -o. These change to end in -a in the feminine, and -s is added to both in the plural.

Adjective Adverb
  Feminine    
quick rápida quickly rápidamente

(2) Adverbs can be formed from other adjectives with different endings by simply adding -mente to the end of the word

Adjective Adverb
easy fácil easily fácilmente

(3) If there are two or more adverbs together in the sentence ending in -mente, then it is dropped on all but the final adverb.

Completó el curso fácil, rápida y hábilmente - He completed the course easily, quickly and skillfully.

(4) There are many popular adverbs which just need learning. See table at bottom of page for a list of all the most commonly used adverbs.

(5) It is very common to construct adverb phrases from nouns combined with 'con' and also from adjectives by using 'de manera'.

La profesora trabajo con patiencia con el estudiante - the teacher worked patiently with student.

Ella juego el partido de manera hábil - She played the game skillfully.

(6) Some adverbs are made up of more than one word, and some of these are classed as 'adverbial expressions'.

a menudo
often, frequently
de pronto
suddenly
a propósito
purposely, deliberately
de repente
suddenly
a veces
sometimes
de vez en cuando
occasionally
al fin
finally
en seguida
immediately
al mismo tiempo
at the same time
hoy en día
nowadays
con alegría
happily
por desgracia
unfortunately
con facilidad
easily
por fin
fortunately
con frecuencia
often
por suerte
luckily
con rapidez
quickly
por último
finally
con tristeza
sadly
sin duda
undoubtedly
de nuevo
again
sin razon
without a reason
de prisa
quickly, hurriedly
todo el tiempo
all the time

(7) Sometimes adjectives and nouns are used as adverbs. In these cases there is no agreement with the subject.

alto loudly fatal bad(ly)
bajo softly fenómeno splendidly, wonderfully
bastante quite, enough fuerte loudly, strongly
claro clearly mucho a lot (of), much
demasiado too, too much poco little, not much
directo directly rápido quickly
duro hard, intensely tanto as much, many, often

Position of Adverbs

Adverbs are always placed close to the related word and can be before or after depending on the situation. You can be guided by the following.

(1) Generally adverbs come after the verb.

El condujo rapidamente al centro - He drove quickly to the town centre.

(2) They normally go before adjectives they are describing.

No son generalmente tarde a la escuela - They are not usually late for school.

(3) If emphasis is required, the adverb is placed before the verb.

Nunca van de vacaciones - They never go on holiday.

(4) Compound tenses can never be separated by an adverb.

El ha jugado futbol siempre - He has always played football.

Comparison of Adverbs

The comparative and superlative forms are used when you want to express a degree of comparison with verbs.The superlative forms are exactly the same as the comparatives, but it is usually quite clear from the context of the sentence, which form is being used. There are four ways of handling the comparative and superlative forms:-

(1) Less than, fewer, least, fewest

menos + adverb + que

eg Ella corre menos rapidamente que su hermana - She runs less quickly than her sister

(2) Equal comparisons: As + adverb + as

tan + adverb + como

Ella corre tan rapidamente como su hermana - She runs as quickly as her sister

(3) More than, more, most

mas + adverb + que

Ella corre mas rapidamente que su hermana - She runs more quickly than her sister

(4) In Spanish, where there is a second clause acting as part of the comparison which has a verb but no noun, then the construction, de lo que is used.

Ella corre mas rapidamente de lo que piensas - She runs more quickly than you think.

(5) A final common form is tanto como - as much as

eg Ella no sabe tanto como tú - She doesn't know as much as you

There are four popular adverbs with comparatives which don't follow the rules above. They are: bien, mal, mucho, poco.

Meaning Adverb Meaning Comparative Meaning Superlative
well bien better mejor best mejor
badly mal worse peor worst peor
a lot mucho more más most más
little poco less menos least menos

 

Listing of other popular adverbs not mentioned above

   
above, upstairs arriba
abundantly abundantemente
afterwards después
almost casi
already ya
also, too tambien
always, all the time siempre
anxiously ansiosamente
apparently al parecer
apparently, evidently por lo visto
as, so tan
at nightfall al anochecer
at sunrise al salir el sol
basically básicamente
before antes
behind atrás
behind detrás
clearly claro 
continuously continuamente
day before yesterday anteayer
difficulty difícilmente
down here aca abajo
down, downstairs abajo
dramatically dramáticamente
early temprano
easily fácilmente
either, neither tampoco
elegantly elegantemente
enough, sufficient suficiente
even aun
even hasta
far lejos
friendly amablemente
friendly, warm cálidamente
from here desde aqui
from now on de ahora en adelante
hardly apenas
here aquí
in front of al frente de
inside dentro
ironically irónicamente
last night anoche
late tarde
near cerca
near to cerca de
never jamás
never nunca
night before last antenoche
no, not no
now ahora
only solo
opposite enfrente
out, outside afuera
over here aca
perhaps quizás
quietly tranquilamente
really, truly de veras
religiously religiosamente
sadly tristemente
shortly cortésmente
since then desde entonces
weakly débilmente
slowly despacio
soon, early pronto
still yet aún
still, yet, even todavía
straightaway enseguida
terribly terriblemente
then entonces
then, later luego
there ahí
there allá
there allí
today hoy
underneath debajo
up there allá arriba
up to here hasta aquí
very muy
yes
yesterday ayer

If you can spend an hour or two studying the above points you will grasp most of what you will ever need to know on Spanish adverbs. Go on, just do it!

See here for other interesting grammatical topics like spanish adverbs.

 


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