Adverbs are Multi-Purpose

Adverbs have different jobs.

Here are three of them:

  • First, they tell HOW about an action.
  • Second: they tell HOW OFTEN.
  • Third, they tell HOW MUCH about an adjective or another adverb.

Let’s look at each in turn:


A man is swimming slowly across the road.  (HOW is he swimming?  Slowly…)

You rarely see a man swimming across the road.  (HOW OFTEN does this happen?  Rarely…)

He’s swimming very peacefully.  (With HOW MUCH peacefulness–a lot, or a little?  VERY peacefully, so…with A LOT)


The little boy is standing sleepily in his crib.

He often looks this way after his nap.

His hair is really messy!

Your turn to practice — Try to say something about the picture using adverbs that do three different jobs.

Possible answers below–


The gymnast ___________________________

He __________________________________



The BMX racer ___________________________

He __________________________________



The gymnast trains hard every day.  He never misses a workout.  As a result, he is extremely fit.

The BMX racer is jumping skillfully into the air.  He almost never falls.  He is very confident.