The adverb, like the adjective, is a modifier.
The adverb modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb in a sentence. When a word is used to modify a verb, adjective or another adverb, it is called an adverb.
So what exactly does the word “modify” mean? The word “modify”, as used in this sense, means to “add to the meaning of”.
So the adverb adds to the meaning of the verb, adjective or other adverb. It makes the meaning of the verb, adjective or other adverb sharper, clearer or more accurate.
If I say “The boy walked up the hill.”, you understand something. Sure, you understand that the boy walked up the hill. But it is left to your imagination “in what manner” or “how” the boy walked up the hill.
Let’s use some adverbs to modify the verb “walked” in this sentence.
The boy walked slowly up the hill.
The boy walked quickly up the hill.
The boy walked steadily up the hill.
The words “slowly, quickly and steadily” are adverbs because they are used to modify a verb: walked. Those adverbs make the meaning of the verb “walk”, clearer, sharper and more accurate. The adverb, then, answers the question “how” or “in what manner”.
But it doesn’t stop there. We know that adverbs may be used to modify adjectives and other adverbs as well. Let’s use some adverbs that modify other adverbs. Here we go:
The boy walked very slowly up the hill.
The boy walked extremely quickly up the hill.
The boy walked quite steadily up the hill.
In the above sentences, the words in italics are adverbs which modify verbs, and the words in bold are adverbs which modify other adverbs.
But we also learn that adverbs may modify adjectives. Let’s look at some adverbs which modify adjectives.
As you know, an adjective modifies a noun. For example, in the phrase “the red house”, the adjective “red” modifies the noun “house”.
But what if I said “a very red house”? There, the adverb “very” modifies the adjective “red”.
Here are some more examples of adverbs which modify adjectives. In the sentences below, the adverbs are set in bold, and the adjectives in italics.
I bought a light blue coat.
There is a very small house on the hill.
We are going for a quick tour of the city.
Mark is an extremely strong lad.