Adverbs are one of the parts of speech that children first learn in language class. It is, together with adjectives, one of the main complementary elements of the sentence, whose main function is to provide new information about the action that is carried out in the sentence. Therefore, it is important that children become familiar with adverbs and learn to identify them within the sentence. In this way they will be able to understand the links that exist between the different parts and will be able to differentiate them from adjectives.

What is an adverb? Its functions within the sentence

Adverbs are the invariable words that complement the meaning of a verb . Basically, they offer information about the moment, the place, the intensity or the way in which the action takes place. Its main function is to be the core of the adverbial phrase, while acting as a circumstantial complement to the verb. Such is the case of the sentence “Juan worked yesterday” , where yesterday modifies the verb worked, thus indicating a new time information.

However, on other occasions adverbs can also modify adjectives or other adverbs. In these cases, its function modifies the degree, as in the sentence: “My work is very far away” . In this example, the adverb very modifies the adverb far, a simple way to emphasize that it is actually quite distant. This is additional information that undoubtedly adds much more value to the phrase.

Adverbs are usually found after the verb or before the adjective or adverb they modify. However, sometimes they can also be located at the beginning of the sentence, as in the case of the sentence “Normally, I walk to work” , where the adverb is usually located at the beginning of the sentence.

What are the main differences between adverbs and adjectives?

One of the main problems that children have to face when they are learning adverbs is learning to differentiate them from adjectives . Although it can sometimes lead to confusion, it is not really very complicated if you analyze the function that each term plays within the sentence. Here are two very simple tricks that children can put into practice when they are not able to distinguish at first sight if it is an adverb or an adjective:

Check the part of the sentence that modifies each term

Let us remember that adverbs fulfill the function of circumstantial complement and usually modify the verb, adjective or another adverb while adjectives only complement the noun . For example, in the sentences “The dog eats fast” and “The dog is fast” , the term fast acts as an adverb in the first sentence since it modifies the verb while in the second it acts as an adjective since it modifies the noun.

Determine if it is a variable or invariable term

Adverbs are always invariable while adjectives vary in gender and number. Using the same example above, in the sentence “The dog eats fast” the gender of the noun “The dog eats fast” or the number “The dogs eat fast” can be modified without changing the adverb, which indicates precisely that It is an adverb. On the other hand, in the second example, “The dog is fast” , when the gender or number is modified, the adjective is altered: “The dog is fast” or “The dogs are fast” , thus corroborating that it is an adjective.

Main classes of adverbs

There are many ways to classify adverbs in the Spanish language, taking into account location, time and space, quantity or mode. In this sense, the most used classifications are the following:

1. Adverbs of place

As its name indicates, they refer to the place where the action takes place. Among them are: here, there, there, there, here, above, below, far, near, in front, in front, behind, below, in front, above, behind and around.

2. Adverbs of time

They refer to the moment in which the action takes place. Some of the most commonly used adverbs of time include: yesterday, today, tomorrow, later, early, soon, then, after, before, still, yet, already, always, never, last night, right away, now, while, previously, soon, never and the day before yesterday.

3. Adverbs of manner

Adverbs of manner refer to a condition or state that describes the action. Some of the most used are: well, badly, regularly, quickly, slowly, like this, such, on purpose, worse, better, easily, responsibly, wonderfully and the rest of the endings in “mind”.

4. Adverbs of quantity

They refer to the number or quantity as additional information to the action. Also known as adverbs of degree, they include the terms: much, little, very, enough, more, too much, almost, only, somewhat, only, so much, so, all, nothing, and approximately.

5. Adverbs of affirmation

This type of adverb has the function of reinforcing the affirmative value of the action. These include: yes, true, clear, exact, obvious, certainly, indeed, truly, surely, and likewise.

6. Adverbs of negation

Basically, it is a type of adverb whose function is to consolidate the negative value of the action. Some of the most used negation adverbs are: no, never, never, and neither.

7. Adverbs of doubt

Also known as doubtful adverbs, they cast doubt on the action. Some of the most commonly used include: perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, may, may be, maybe, possibly, surely, and probably.

There are also other types of adverbs that are used less frequently, such as adverbs of order, interrogatives and exclamatives.

The degrees of the adverb

Adverbs, like adjectives, admit degrees. This means that adverbs can have a comparative and superlative degree, whose function is to indicate the intensity with which the verbal action takes place. For example, in the sentence “Juan’s dog barks louder than Peter’s dog,” the stronger adverb that refers to the verb barks and includes a comparative degree to indicate that one of the dogs barks louder than the other.

It is worth noting that there are some adverbs that contain in themselves the comparative form, as in the case of: better, worse, more or less. In these cases, they usually refer directly to a comparative adverb, even if it is not part of the expression “more… than” or “less… than” .