Form and Comparison of Adverbs

Adverbs are used to express how something is done (adjectives express how someone or something is).

Example: The dog sleeps quietly. The dog is absolutely quiet.

Form

In general: adjective + -ly

adjectiveadverb
slowslowly

Exceptions in spelling

exceptionexample
silent e is dropped in true, due, wholetruetruly
y becomes ihappyhappily
le after a consonant is droppedsensiblesensibly
after ll only add yfullfully

Adjectives ending in -ic: adjective + -ally (exception: public-publicly)

adjectiveadverb
fantasticfantastically

Adjectives ending in -ly: use ‘in a … way / manner’ or another adverb with similar meaning

adjectiveadverb
friendlyin a friendly way
in a friendly manner
likelyprobably

Exceptions

adjectiveadverb (meaning)adverb (meaning)
goodwell 
difficultwith difficulty 
publicpublicly 
deepdeep (place)deeply (feeling)
directdirect directly (=soon)
hardhardhardly (=seldom)
highhigh (place)highly (figurative)
latelatelately (=recently)
mostmostmostly (=usually)
nearnearnearly (=almost)
prettypretty (=rather)prettily
shortshortshortly (=soon)
The following adjectives are also used as adverbs (without modification):daily, enough, early, far, fast, hourly, little, long, low, monthly, much, straight, weekly, yearly, …

Exercise on the form of adverbs

Comparison

Comparison (-er/-est)

 Comparative ending in -erSuperlative ending in -est
one-syllable adverbs (hard)harderhardest
adverbs with the same form as adjectives (early)earlierearliest

Comparison (more / most)

 Comparative formed with moreSuperlative formed with most
adverbs ending in -ly (happily)more happilymost happily

Irregular comparisons

positive formcomparativesuperlative
wellbetterbest
badlyworseworst
illworseworst
littlelessleast
muchmoremost
far (place + time)furtherfurthest
far (place)fartherfarthest
late (time)laterlatest

Exercise on comparison of adverbs