Overview

Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. An adverb can give information about time, place, manner, or number. They answer the questions: How? How long? How much? When? and Where? Unlike adjectives, however, they do not change according to gender or number, making them invariable.

Simple Adverbs

Most adverbs can be formed from adjectives using the following formula:

feminine singular adjective + -mente (the Spanish equivalent of the English -ly) Adverb "Formula"

  • dulce + -mente = dulcemente (sweetly)
  • Me besó dulcemente. (He kissed me sweetly.)
  • fácil + -mente = fácilmente (easily)
  • Hice fácilmente el examen. (I easily finished the exam.)
  • rápida + -mente = rápidamente (quickly)
  • Corrí rápidamente para escapar los perros. (I ran quickly to escape the dogs.)
  • romántico + -mente = románticamente (romantically)
  • Escribe románticamente para ganar su corazón. (He writes romantically to win her heart.)

Adverb Placement

Notice that the adverb usually follows the verb it modifies.

Other Adverbs

There are also lots of adverbs that are not formed by adding -mente to an adjective. This list of words is very helpful for modifying time, place, manner, and number.

Independent Adverbs

Place Time Number Manner
abajo down, downstairs ahora now bastante enough así so, like this/that/what, thus
acá over here anteanoche the night before last demasiado too much bien well
afuera out, outside anteayer the day before yesterday más more despacio slowly
ahí there anoche last night menos less mal badly
allá over there aún still, yet mucho much, a lot mejor better
aquí here ayer yesterday muy very peor worse
arriba up, upstairs después later poco litte alto high, loudly
cerca near hoy today suficiente enough bajo low, softly
debajo under luego then, later rápido quickly
delante in front mañana tomorrow lento slowly
detrás behind nunca never suavemente smoothly
fuera out siempre always
lejos far tarde late
temprano early
todavía ya still already, right now

Examples

Place

  • El templo está allá. (The temple is over there.)
  • Alrededor de mi casa hay muchas flores. (Around my house there are lots of flowers.)

Time

  • Llegaste tarde a clase. (You arrived late to class.)
  • Todavía no ha comido sus guisantes. (He still hasn´t eaten his peas.)

Number

  • Comí demasiado anoche. (I ate too much last night.)
  • Yo estoy muy cansada. (I am very tired.)

Adverb Placement

Adverbs usually come first when they modify an adjective or another adverb.

Manner

  • Lo siento, pero así soy yo. (I´m sorry, that´s the way I am.)
  • Estoy bien, gracias. (I´m well, thank you.)

Adverbial Expressions

These phrases function as adverbs in a sentence. Since prepositions also describe the location or timing of something or someone, it is very common for adverbial expressions to consist of a preposition followed by either an adjective or a noun. Below you will find some of the most common adverbial expressions divided by use in manner, time or place.

Adverbial Expressions

Manner Time Place
a ciegas blindly a veces sometimes a la derecha to the right
a cuestas at the expense of al fin at last a la izquierda to the left
a diestra y siniestra disorderly al anochecer at dusk/at sunset de arriba a bajo from top to bottom
a escondidas secretly de ahora en adelante from now on de dónde from...where?
a oscuras in the dark de antemano beforehand dentro de within, inside
a la moda stylish, fashionable de día during daytime en alguna parte somewhere
al revés the opposite de la noche a la mañana overnight en casa at home
con alegría happily de la tarde afternoon en cualquier parte anywhere
con facilidad easily de mañana since morning en el extranjero abroad
con frecuencia frequently de noche at night en ninguna parte nowhere
con rapidez quickly de vez en cuando every once in a while en otra parte elsewhere
con tristeza sadly pasado mañana the day after tomorrow en todas partes everywhere
de buena gana of good will por ahora for now por aquí this way
de golpe suddenly por último at last en ninguna parte nowhere
de memoria by heart
de mala gana unwillingly
de prisa quickly
de pronto suddenly
de repente suddenly
en resume in conclusion
en vano in vain
por desgracia unfortunately
por suerte luckily
sobre todo above all
sin duda without doubt
sin razón without reason

Exercises

1) Change each adjective into an adverb by adding -mente to the singular feminine form.

Example: largo -> largamente

  1. fácil
  2. loco
  3. inteligente
  4. cariño
  5. suave
  6. fantástico
  7. enorme
  8. secreto
  9. absoluto
  10. rápido

Answers

  1. fácilmente
  2. locamente
  3. inteligentemente
  4. cariñosamente
  5. suavemente
  6. fantásticamente
  7. enormemente
  8. secretamente
  9. absolutamente
  10. rápidamente