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Adverb Form

We make many adverbs by adding -ly to an adjective, for example:

  • quick (adjective) > quickly (adverb)
  • careful (adjective) > carefully (adverb)
  • beautiful (adjective) > beautifully (adverb)

There are some basic rules about spelling for -ly adverbs. See the table below:

adjective ending do this adjective adverb
most adjectives add -ly quick
nice
sole
careful
quickly
nicely
solely
carefully
-able or -ible change -e to -y regrettable
horrible
regrettably
horribly
-y change -y to -ily happy happily
-ic change -ic to -ically economic economically

But not all words that end in -ly are adverbs. The following -ly words, for example, are all adjectives:

  • friendly, lovely, lonely, neighbourly

And some adverbs have no particular form. Look at these examples:

  • well, fast, very, never, always, often, still
Note that the form of an adverb can also change to make it comparative or superlative.