Adverbs

Adverbs are usually used to describe a verb. In other words, they describe actions. This adds more detail. Adverbs can describe how something is being done (quickly, badly, etc) and when, where or how often something takes place.

Most Spanish adverbs end in -mente, like -ly in English, for example:

  • regularmente (regularly), eg juego al tenis regularmente (I play tennis regularly)
  • lentamente (slowly), eg el tren viaja lentamente (the train travels slowly)

Most of the time the adverb goes after the verb it is describing. Adverbs are invariable, which means they only have one form and do not change according to gender or number.

Adverbs ending in -mente

An adverb can be formed from almost any adjective in Spanish. Add -mente to the feminine singular form. Here are some examples:

AdjectiveFeminine singular formAdd -mente
completo (complete)completacompletamente (completely)
suave (soft)suave (no change)suavemente (softly)
correcto (correct)correctacorrectamente (correctly)
grave (serious)grave (no change)gravemente (seriously)

For example, es importante escribir correctamente (it's important to write correctly).

curriculum-key-fact
Some adverbs are completely irregular, such as bien (well) and mal (badly): habla español muy mal (he speaks Spanish very badly).
Question

Change these adjectives into adverbs.

  1. rápido
  2. ruidoso
  3. seguro
  4. fácil
  5. triste
  1. rápidamente (quickly)
  2. ruidosamente (noisily)
  3. seguramente (safely)
  4. fácilmente (easily)
  5. tristemente (sadly)
curriculum-key-fact
When two or more adverbs are used in sequence, add -mente only to the last adverb, eg habla rapida pero claramente (she speaks quickly but clearly).

Adverbs used as comparatives and superlatives

In the same way as with adjectives, adverbs can also be used to make comparisons using más que (more than) and menos que (less than). For example:

  • Llego más rápidamente en coche que en tren (I arrive more quickly by car than by train).

Similarly, adverbs can also be used as superlatives. For example:

  • Ir de compras es la actividad que hago más regularmente (Going shopping is the activity that I do most often).

Other adverbs

As well as regular adverbs that end in -mente, there are other types of adverbs.