An adverb is a word that modifies an adjective, adverb, preposition, phrase, or sentence, expressing some relation of place, time, circumstance, causality, manner, or degree.

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Is “rather” shifting to become a verb?

In colloquial English, I constantly run across sentences of the form: I rather my [noun] [verb] A quick Google search returns tons of examples: I rather my opponents don't find out. I ...
38
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11answers
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Is the usage of 'personally' in 'I personally don't like something' redundant?

What is the difference between the following? I personally don't like wax museums. I don't like wax museums. The adverb personally does not seem to emphasize anything here. Is it ...
37
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7answers
2k views

What exactly is an “adverb”?

From comments to “Weekdays” used as an adverb", I learn that The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary says "open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.", shows the word weekdays is an adverb. It seems to me ...
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19answers
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What is the “thirsty” equivalent of “ravenously”?

When you eat something very hungrily, you can use the adverb "ravenously" to describe it. But when you drink something very fast in a similar way to quench your thirst, what adverb can you use to ...
29
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5answers
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What are the historical processes of preposition coining in English?

RegDwight's excellent answer showing the historical usage of despite got me thinking about the processes by which new prepositions are coined. Prepositions are generally considered a closed class, and ...
28
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2answers
7k views

What is the difference between “maybe” and “may be”?

What is the difference in meaning and usage between maybe and may be? Are they synonymous?
27
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9answers
79k views

Is “fastly” a correct word?

Slow has the adverb slowly. I tend to use fastly as the adverb for fast. However, it is underlined in most spell checkers I use, which makes me wonder about the existence of this word. Is fastly a ...
27
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4answers
1k views

When should “farther” and “further” be used?

I know I learned the difference between the usage of farther and further in school, but I can never remember where each one should be used. Can someone help me out here?
25
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6answers
80k views

Is it “Yours faithfully” or “Yours sincerely”?

When should one sign a letter with "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely"?
24
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6answers
2k views

How common is “thrice”?

Our proofreader, a native speaker of American English, just won't let me use this word. Every single time I try to sneak it onto one of our sites, she replaces it with three times. Now, I do realize ...
22
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2answers
4k views

“Specially” vs “especially”

When should each of them be used?
21
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5answers
5k views

Is there any other way you can “wax” as you do when you “wax philosophical”?

The wax in the phrase "wax philosophical" is a pretty strange bird. Its wax is obviously not the ordinary definition of wax, which my dictionary summarizes as an "oily, water-resistant substance", a ...
21
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4answers
6k views

Correct position of “only”

Which is grammatically correct? I can only do so much in this time. or I can do only so much in this time.
20
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4answers
91k views

Is it “peek”, “peak” or “pique”?

I have always thought the phrase was "pique my interest" as in: "Her mysterious background piqued my interest". However, of late, on blogs and social networks, I have seen people using "peek my ...
19
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4answers
7k views

Explanation of “must needs”

Recently I ran across the sentence: "Just why the law prescribed thirty-nine lashes instead of forty or forty-one and so on, must needs remain unanswered." How did a plural verb like "needs" ...
19
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9answers
2k views

Referring to past times with “hence”

From Tor.com, an interesting use of the word hence: Minutes ago, J.K. Rowling finally announced her plans behind Pottermore, the mysterious website that appeared a week hence with only a “Coming ...
18
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6answers
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Are the rules regarding absolute modifiers too absolute?

A common grammar lesson that was taught to me in the US and that I've had to teach abroad in EFL classrooms is that we're not to use adverbs of emphasis with absolute modifiers, just as we're not ...
17
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8answers
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What does 'infinitesimally small' mean?

If infinite is the opposite of infinitesimal, and small is the opposite of large, then: infinitely large ---------- Means "very large" infinitely small --------- Means "very small" infinitesimally ...
17
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6answers
19k views

Why do you say “so do I”?

Why is the order of the words in "so do I" or "nor do I" different from the normal order?
17
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3answers
11k views

“A bit” vs. “a little bit” vs. “a little”

Is there a difference between a bit, a little bit and a little in the following context? He is a little bit angry. He is a little angry. He is a bit angry. Or do these sentences mean the ...
17
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3answers
686 views

You don't want to answer this word-placement question, now do you?

Prompted by this question I got to thinking about the placement of the word now. If it's placed before the comma, it refers to an immediate condition: You don't want to answer this word-placement ...
16
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4answers
23k views

“Can hardly wait” versus “can't hardly wait”

This has been bothering me for a while and I'm finally at a forum where I feel like I might get an answer. I have heard people say "I can hardly wait for summer to get here" and I've also heard "I ...
15
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3answers
690 views

“You just can't” vs. “you can't just ”

I'm a bit confused about this. Which expression is correct? You can't just do that. or You just can't do that. I'm trying to say: You can't just bash an ideology because of what ...
14
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4answers
15k views

Using “seldomly”

I'm not a native English speaker. If at all possible I try to use spell checkers while writing anything on the web hence using one in Firefox as well. Whenever I try to write "seldomly" it highlights ...
14
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5answers
8k views

“Eventually” vs. “finally”

What is the difference between finally and eventually? He eventually escaped and made his way back to England. He finally escaped and made his way back to England.
14
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6answers
11k views

“Like something more” or “like something better”

When people like something more than something else, it's common for me to hear them say they like it better than something else. Is this proper English? I've always thought the word more fits better, ...
14
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3answers
682 views

How do you tell if synonyms of “almost” default to meaning “less than”?

Having just had a chat with Em1, I noticed that some words or phrases that mean almost will mean less than when used alone, and other synonyms will mean greater than. For example, nearly and close to ...
12
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5answers
456 views

The use of “real” in the following cases [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Real quick question If you listen real close... Can you swing by real quick... Sentences like the above two are what I often hear in daily life. If I didn't ...
12
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5answers
482 views

Is it OK to use “empty-handed” on an animal?

Can I write the following? One of the seagulls spotted a fish and dove after it, but came up empty-handed If not, what other word I can use to replace empty-handed?
12
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5answers
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Can “already” be used after a simple past verb in American English?

A British colleague asked if these two sentences are grammatically acceptable in American English: They found already high recognition in Europe and we wish to carry that further. ...
12
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1answer
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What's the correct usage of “hopefully”?

I said, "Hopefully, I will get better" to a friend and he said that I was using it incorrectly, stating that hopefully is an adverb meaning "full of hope" that modifies a verb. It sounds right, but ...
12
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2answers
44k views

How do I properly hyphenate “well thought out”?

Is it spelled well thought-out, or well-thought out, or well thought out?
11
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3answers
14k views

Is it 'what it looks like' or 'how it looks like'?

I live in a country where English is not the native language. Oftentimes I hear my coworkers say they want to know or determine "how it looks like". This is grammatically closer to our native ...
11
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4answers
2k views

Can “real” be used as an adverb to describe an adjective?

Is this correct? That is a real cool answer. I learned that that was incorrect, since "real" is an adjective which can describe a noun, e.g. "real answer" but it is not an adverb which can ...
11
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5answers
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Difference between “supposedly” and “supposably”

What is the difference between supposedly and supposably? Both are real words but seem to have confusingly similar definitions. Supposably: Capable of being supposed : conceivable ...
11
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2answers
356 views

Why does “whence” have “when” in it?

No definition or usage of whence relates to time, but to place. One would therefore expect it to be some form of where, not of when. What caused when to pertain to time, and whence to pertain to ...
11
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2answers
361 views

Can the verb 'be' be modified?

Comments on this question, now closed, considered whether the verb be could be modified by an adverb. This seems a question worth pursuing in its own right, so may I ask what completely modifies in ...
10
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5answers
1k views

“physically attractive” vs. “attractive physically”

I have come across the following sentence in a dictionary: Though not very attractive physically, she possessed a good sense of humour. I think the adverb "physically" postmodifies the ...
10
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4answers
519 views

Can a preposition have the form of superlative?

They had almost reached the door when a voice spoke from the chair nearest them, "I can't believe you're going to do this.” I guess nearest is at the place of preposition. Can a preposition ...
10
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7answers
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When did the word “so” begin to be used to start a sentence?

In the last few years, I've noticed a growing usage of the word "so" to begin a sentence, especially in the context of higher education. For example: Interviewer: "What is the nature of your ...
10
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3answers
4k views

Speak Slower or Speak Slowlier?

AFAIK the correct grammar for "speak slow" is "speak slowly" (slowly being an adverb). Please correct me if I am mistaken. But in daily life I have not heard anyone saying "Speak slowlier". I think ...
10
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3answers
724 views

Does the word “apparently” imply that I personally do or don't believe the statement following it?

When I say "Apparently, xyz", does that imply one of the following, and if so, which one? From observation, I believe xyz to be true, but I leave open the possibility that I might be wrong. I ...
10
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4answers
8k views

“Nowadays” vs “today”

I'm taking an English academic writing course. My teacher recommended using today as it is more accepted compared to nowadays. I asked her if this is accepted in American English (she's from US) or in ...
10
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1answer
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Yes, no, adverbs, and interjections

There appears to be some disagreement over what function yes and no perform in the following sentences: Yes, you are right. No, you are mistaken. According to ODO (yes, no), they are being used as ...
10
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4answers
11k views

“Can easily be” vs. “can be easily” — what's the difference?

I'm wondering what the difference is between: It can easily be obtained. It can be easily obtained. Also, what's the preferred way to write it? If there is any... I googled for both ...
9
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5answers
3k views

Should “anymore” only be used in a negative statement or question?

I don't know why this is so, but I've always believed that the word anymore should only be used in a question or negative statement. Do you go there anymore? Don't do that anymore. But I often ...
9
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3answers
10k views

“Often” and “oftentimes”

Is there any difference between the two terms 'often' and 'oftentimes'? They seem to be used interchangeably but is one more appropriate in certain situations than others? Is 'oftentimes' an older ...
9
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3answers
3k views

The Royal Order of Adverbs

I know that the pattern manner-place-time shouldn't be taken too seriously if one wants to speak natural English. In real life, people rarely use a string of adverbs. Speakers will easily break the ...
9
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3answers
6k views

“Maybe” versus “perhaps”

Was there ever a real distinction between the two? I always have the urge to use maybe for discussing state and perhaps for actions. I know this is only because perhaps (by hap) and happen (befall by ...
9
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4answers
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Are the words “sillily”, “uglily”, “friendlily”, “livelily”, etc., valid English?

I have wondered about how to make the words silly, ugly, friendly, lively, etc. into adverbs, so I researched in the Internet. I found many different answers, so I tried checking Oxford Dictionaries. ...