The adverb is a word denoting circumstances or characteristics which attend or modify an action, state, or quality. It may also intensify a quality or characteristics.
From this definition it is difficult to define adverbs as a class, because they comprise a most heterogeneous group of words, and there is considerable overlap between the class and other word classes. They have many kinds of form, meaning and function. Alongside such undoubtful adverbs as here, now, often, seldom, always, there are many others which also function as words of other classes. Thus, adverbs like dead (dead tired), clear (to get clear away), clean (I've clean forgotten), slow, easy (he would say that slow and easy) coincide with corresponding adjectives (a dead body, clear waters, clean hands). Adverbs like past, above are homonymous with prepositions. There is also a special group of pronominal adverbs when, where, how, why used either as interrogative words or as connectives to introduce subordinate clauses.
^ Where shall we go? (an interrogative pronominal adverb)
Well go where you want (a conjunctive pronominal adverb).
Some adverbs may be used rather like a verb, as in “Up. Jenkins! Down, Peter!”, where the first word is like an imperative.
In many cases the border-line between adverbs and words of the other classes is defined syntactically.
He walked past. (adverb)
He walked past the house. (preposition)
There are three adverbs connected with numerals: once, twice, and thrice (the latter being archaic). They denote measure or frequency.
She went there once a week.
I saw him twice last month.
Twice is also used in the structure twice as long, etc.
He is twice as tall as his brother.
She is twice as clever.
Beginning with three the idea of frequency or repetition is expressed by the phrases three times, four times; He went there four times; he is four times as bigger; she is ten times cleverer.
Adverbs vary in their structure. There are simple, derived, compound, and composite adverbs.
Simple adverbs are after, here, well, now, soon, etc.
In derived adverbs the most common suffix is -ly, by means of which new adverbs are coined from adjectives and participles: occasionally, lately, immediately, constantly, purely, slowly, charmingly.
^ The less common snffixes are the following:
clockwise, crabwise, corkscrew -wise, education- wise
onward(s), backward(s), homeward(s), eastward(s)
Of these suffixes the first two are more ptoductive than the rest.
Compound adverbs are formed of two stems:
sometimes, somewhere, everywhere, downstairs, etc.
Composite phrasal adverbs consist of two or more word-forms, as
a great deal, a little bit, far enough, now and then, from time to time, sort of, kind of, a hell of, a lot of, a
great deal of.
^The only pattern of morphological change for adverbs is the same as for adjectives, the degrees of comparison. The three grades are called positive, comparative, and superlative degrees.
Adverbs that are identical in form with adjectives take inflections following the same spelling and phonetic rules as for adjectives:
Several adverbs ending in -ly (quickly, loudly) form comparatives according to the same pattern, dropping their adverb-forming suffix. These adverbs acquired the form in -ly only recently and retained the older forms of the comparative and superlative
However most disyllabic adverbs in -ly and all polysyllabic ones form the comparative and superlative analytically, by means of more and most:
As with adjectives, there is a small group of adverbs with comparatives and superlatives formed from different stems (suppletive forms). These comparatives and superlatives are identical with those for the corresponding adjectives and can be differentiated from the latter only syntactically.
Which do you like best?
This is least painful for you.
Either farther (farthest) or further (furthest) are used when speaking of places, directions, or distance:
He is too tired to walk any farther (further).
But only further (furthest) is used with the meaning more, later:
Dont try my patience any further.
Most of the adverbs, however, stand outside the degrees of comparison:
pronominal adverbs denoting place and time
(here, somewhere, there, sometimes, when),
(somehow, thus), and
adverbs of manner denoting gradation
(minimally, optimally, proximally - ближе к центру).
According to their meaning adverbs fall into many groups. Here are the main ones:
Adverbs of place: outside, there, in front, etc.
Adverbs of time include those denoting duration (long, continually), interval (all day), timing (yesterday, today, recently, lately, immediately, once, at once, now), frequency (often, now and then, occasionally). Several of them denote an indefinite time - soon, yet, always, already, never, ever.
Adverbs of manner: well, carefully, intentionally, silently, clearly, etc.
Adverbs of degree: thoroughly, very, much, completely, quite, rather, a lot, a little, a great deal, badly, greatly, hardly, barely, scarcely, narrowly, just, almost, mostly, enormously, largely, tremendously, keenly, somewhat, too, so, most, all but.
Among these some are synonymous (much, very), but their combinability is different. Thus much is used to modify verbs, nouns, statives and adjectives, and very is used with adjectives and adverbs in the positive and superlative degrees, whereas with comparatives only much is used:
With participles, however, both much and very may be used, often they go together:
much admired, very surprised, very much amused.
Among adverbs of degree there are many the meaning of which has become weakened and which are used as intensifiers, adding emotional colouring to the content of what is said. This group of adverbs is very difficult to define because adverbs of other semantic groups can occasionally function as intensifiers: