An adverb is, like in english, a word that precise another word. It’s optional and depends of other words. For example:
The main rule when using adverbs is that they are invariant. To the opposite of the adjectives, the adverbs do not agree with any words they relate to. EXCEPT, the adverb « tout » (all), in the following cases:
Here, Tout means « all », « the whole », « very ». So even if some sentences seem to have many meaning, you can figure the appropriate meaning by paying attention to the agreement.
For example : Ces filles sont toutes heureuses. What would be the meaning here ? All the girls are happy, or these girls are very happy ? Just read again the rules above if you don’t figure it out.
Some are just the way they are, (they come from Latin or after that and you can see them listed below) :
bien, en, hier, là, loin, mal, mieux, où, plus, quand, tant, tard, tôt, très, mais / avant, derrière, jamais, assez, arrière, dans, demain, etc.
Others are build with -ment to the feminine form of an adjective : Example : (Lent) Lente > Lentement (Slow > Slowly)
There are exception to this rule. For example « Prudent » (cautious). The feminine is « Prudente », but the adverb is « Prudemment ».
Some adverbs are also built directly on nouns, for exemple : « Diable » (devil) > « diablement ».
The colors adjectives can’t build an adverb. (Except vert, but the meaning is not ‘greenly’, but roughly or energicly).
Some adjectives are used as adverbs. Therefore, they become invariant. For example : Elle crit fort (she screams loudly), or Il achète américain (he buys ‘usa made’).
Adverb locutions are made as follow : à, de, en + noun or adjective ; à l’inverse, à côté, à présent, de fait, en général, etc.
The adverb is attached to another word which it completes :
You should pay attention to which word the adverd is attached to.
For example the two following sentences have very different meaning :
To understand which one is which ; try to use the negative on the whole sentence.
There are also some adverbs for question or exclamation : combien, comme, comment, quand, où, pourquoi, etc. Examples : Que s’est-il passé ? Il est tombé, mais il n’a pas eu mal. Ah, comme je suis soulagé de l’apprendre. (What happened ? He felt, but he was not hurt. Ah, how relieved I am to ear that.)
The adverbs are also used to compare things :
Comparative : Il est moins / aussi / plus grand que moi. He is less / as / more tall (taller) than me.
Superlative : Il est le plus / le moins fort de l’équipe. He is the more / the less strong of the team.
Intensity : Il est très / extrêmement affamé. He is very / extremly hungry.
Il est assez / moyennement affamé. He is fairly / moderately hungry.
Il est peu aimable. He is not very friendly.
I hope the content of this page was useful to you, and that you learned some French Adverbs. Try to memorize them to be able to use them in your daily conversation. Make sure to check our Learn French page, which contains several lessons that might help you in your learning process.