Easy Learning Spanish

How adverbs are formed - Easy Learning Grammar Spanish

1   The basic rules

  • In English, adverbs that tell you how something happened are often formed by adding -ly to an adjective, for example, sweetsweetly. In Spanish, you form this kind of adverb by adding -mente to the feminine singular form of the adjective.
Masculine adjectiveFeminine adjectiveAdverbMeaning
lentolentalentamenteslowly
normalnormalnormalmentenormally
 
Habla muy lentamente.He speaks very slowly.
¡Hazlo inmediatamente!Do it immediately!
Normalmente llego a las nueve.I normally arrive at nine o’clock.
  • Note that adverbs NEVER change their endings in Spanish to agree with anything.
TipYou don’t have to worry about adding or removing accents on the adjective when you add -mente; they stay as they are.
fácil easyfácilmente easily
Grammar Extra!When there are two or more adverbs joined by a conjunction such as y (meaning and) or pero (meaning but), leave out the -mente ending on all but the last adverb.
Lo hicieron lenta pero eficazmente.They did it slowly but efficiently.
Use the form recién rather than recientemente (meaning recently) before a past participle (the form of the verb ending in -ado and -ido in regular verbs).
El comedor está recién pintado.The dining room has just been painted.
In Spanish, adverbs ending in -mente are not as common as adverbs ending in -ly in English. For this reason, you will come across other ways of expressing an adverb in Spanish, for example, con used with a noun or de manera used with an adjective.
Conduce con cuidado.Drive carefully.
Todos estos cambios ocurren de manera natural.All these changes happen naturally.

2   Irregular adverbs

  • The adverb that comes from bueno (meaning good) is bien (meaning well). The adverb that comes from malo (meaning bad) is mal (meaning badly).
Habla bien el español.He speaks Spanish well.
Está muy mal escrito.It’s very badly written.
  • Additionally, there are some other adverbs in Spanish which are exactly the same as the related masculine singular adjective:
  • alto     (adjective: high, loud; adverb: high, loudly)
El avión volaba alto sobre las montañas.The plane flew high over the mountains.
Pepe habla muy alto.Pepe talks very loudly.
  • bajo     (adjective: low, quiet; adverb: low, quietly)
El avión volaba muy bajo.The plane was flying very low.
¡Habla bajo!Speak quietly.
  • barato     (adjective: cheap; adverb: cheaply)
Aquí se come muy barato.You can eat really cheaply here.
  • claro     (adjective: clear; adverb: clearly)
Lo oí muy claro.I heard it very clearly.
  • derecho     (adjective: right, straight; adverb: straight)
Vino derecho hacia mí.He came straight towards me.
  • fuerte     (adjective: loud, hard; adverb: loudly, hard)
Habla muy fuerte.He talks very loudly.
No lo golpees tan fuerte.Don’t hit it so hard.
  • rápido     (adjective: fast, quick; adverb: fast, quickly)
Conduces demasiado rápido.You drive too fast.
Lo hice tan rápido como pude.I did it as quickly as I could.
  • Note that, when used as adverbs, these words do NOT agree with anything.
  • For more information on words which can be both adjectives and adverbs, see Common adverbs.
Grammar Extra!Sometimes an adjective is used in Spanish where in English we would use an adverb.
Esperaban impacientes.They were waiting impatiently.
Vivieron muy felices.They lived very happily.
  • Note that these Spanish adjectives describe the person or thing being talked about and therefore MUST agree with them.
Often you could equally well use an adverb or an adverbial expression in Spanish.
Esperaban impacientemente or con impaciencia.They were waiting impatiently.
Key points
  • To form adverbs that tell you how something happens, you can usually add -mente to the feminine singular adjective in Spanish.
  • Adverbs don’t agree with anything.
  • Some Spanish adverbs are irregular, as in English.
  • Some Spanish adverbs are identical in form to their corresponding adjectives; when used as adverbs, they never agree with anything.

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