Not all Adverbs End in -ly?

One of the common misconceptions is that all adverbs end in -ly. Even I had thought that before starting my English academic career. But, don’t blame yourselves. We are taught that in school. Remember the ELA (English language arts) teacher saying “if it ends in -ly, it’s an adverb.” Yeah. Let’s begin.

Adverbs have been traced back to 1644, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. In 1970s and 1980s, adverbs were blacklisted. Now, adverbs are back in American English, but professors and editors say to use them with caution as they can denote credibility to readers.  The Garner Oxford states:

The battle is now over. Hopefully is part of American English.

Not all adverbs end in -ly. The -ly is added to adjectives in order to convert them to adverbs. Below are a few examples:

rapid = rapidly

carful = carefully

easy = easily

beautiful = beautifully

lucky = luckily

Some don’t have the -ly ending and is used for both the adjective and adverb form. For example, fast. We don’t say Rich walked fastily. The word fast can be used without changing its form: Rich walked fast.

Now, where to put that dang adverb? It doesn’t matter. But, don’t get too excited. While the below examples are acceptable forms, depending on the flow of your narrative, it can get complicated.

  1. Hopefully she admitted to the lie.
  2. She hopefully admitted to the lie.
  3. She admitted hopefully to the lie.
  4. She admitted to the lie hopefully.

Here are some guidelines to help put that adverb in your sentence:

  • For simple, one-word  verb forms, put the adverb before the verb, sometimes moving it the beginning or ending of the sentence.

Thus: Rich slowly walked across the stage. But: Slowly, Rich walked across the stage. Or: Rich walked across the stage slowly.

  • For compound, multi-word verbs, put the adverb somewhere between the words.

There are seven key conventions to place compound adverbs in sentences. But, not today. Stay tuned for next week.