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French adverbs

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What is an adverb?

An adverb (French: l'adverbe) is a word usually used with verbs, adjectives or other adverbs that gives more information about when, how, where, or in what circumstances something happens.

They are four types of adverbs in the French grammar:

  1. Adverbs of Place
  2. Adverbs of Time
  3. Adverbs of Manner
  4. Adverbs of Quantity

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How adverbs are used?

In general adverbs can be used together with verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. Adverbs can also relate to the whole sentence; they often tell you what the speaker is thinking or feeling.

VerbsAdjectivesAdverbs
 lire beaucoup (read much) trés beau (very beautiful) trop peu (too little)
 dormir bien (sleep well) plus grand (taller) beaucoup mieux (much better)

enlightenedPlease note that adverbs in French never change their form, no matter what they refer to. 

Characteristics of adverbs

We have to differ between two kinds of adverbs in the French language:

  • les adverbes simples which don't have a characteristic ending (alors, bien, comme, plus)
  • les adverbes en -ment which end in -ment (longuement, franchement, naturellement)

Many English adverbs end in -ly, which is added to the end of the adjective. In French, many adverbs end in -ment.
This is usually added to the end of the feminine singular form of the adjective.

enlightenedOnly exception: If the masculine adjective ends in -e, -i or -u.

The adverbs of time in French 

An adverb of time (French: adverbe de temps) is an invariable word that gives an indication of time (duration or chronology). It brings a nuance to the meaning of a noun, an adjective, a verb or another adverb.

Examples

UseTranslations
Ils partiront demain matin.(They will leave tomorrow morning)
Autrefois, il était interdit de divorcer sans raison valable(In the old days, it was prohibited to divorce without any valid reaseon)

The adverbs of place in French 

An adverb of place (French: adverbe de lieu) is an invariable word that indicates the place where the action takes place. In general, it answers the question "Where ?". Often he accompanies and precedes a nominal group. 

Examples 

UseTranslations
Je m'installe derrière la scène(I will sit behind the scenes)
Les toilettes d'en bas sont occupés(The toilets downstairs are occupied) 

The adverbs of manner in French

A adverb of manner (French: adverbe de manière) is an invariable word that indicates how the action unfolds. In general, it helps answer the question "how ?"

Examples: 

  • Tu récites ta leçon rapidemment. (You are repeating your lesson quickly)
  • Ton frère courrait tellement vite comme un lynx. (Your brother was running so fast like a lynx)

The adverbs of quantity in French

An adverb of quantity (French: adverbe de quantité) is an invariable word that gives information on quantity. It brings a nuance to the meaning of a noun, an adjective, a verb or another adverb. When it specifies a name, it is followed by the preposition "de" or "d" and answers the question: "How much ?". 

Examples

UseTranslation
C'est très facile(It's very easy)
Il a trop mangé(He ate a lot)
J'ai assez d'argent pour acheter une voiture(I have enough money to buy a house)

The adverb "bien" in French

The meaning of the adverb "bien" (good) depends on the word (or words) it accompanies.

Bien + verb

When accompanying a verb, it has the same meaning as:

  • Effectivement (effectively) 
  • Idéalement (Ideally)
  • De manière satisfaisante (satisfactorily)

​Examples 

BienMeaningTranslation
Je travaille bien à l'écoleJe travaille de manière satisfaisante à l'école(I am a good student)
Je l'aime bienJe l'aime idéalement(I do like him)

Bien expresses a quantity of things

When he accompanies a name, he expresses a quantity of things. It is followed by the preposition de, du or des and means beaucoup (a lot).

Examples

BienMeaningTranslation
Bien des mois ont passé avant qu'il ne revienneBeaucoup de mois ont passé avant qu'il ne revienne(Lot of month passed before he comes back)
Bien des enfants ont travaillé dans cette fermeBeaucoup d'enfants ont travaillé dans cette ferme(Lot of kids worked in this farm)

Bien + adjective

When accompanying an adjective it means très (very) or vraiment (really). It marks a strong intensity.

Examples

BienMeaningTranslation
Je suis bien fatiguéJe suis très fatigué(I am very tired)
Tu peux dire que je suis bien maladroitJe suis vraiment maladroit(You can say that I am really clumsy)

enlightenedLearn more about the adverbs in our subpages ! 


Exercises

  1. Drag and drop exercise about the adverbs
  2. Fill in the blank exercise about the regular form of the adverbs
  3. Fill in the blank exercise about the irregular adverbs

Drag and drop exercise about the adverbs


Fill in the blank exercise about the regular form of the adverbs


Fill in the blank exercise about the irregular adverbs


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Next lessons

1 Adverbs of place in French Get an overview about all adverbs of place in French and study them online.
2 Adverbs of time in French Get an overview about all adverbs of time in French and study them online.
3 Adverbs of manner in French Get an overview about all adverbs of manner in French and study them online.
4 Adverbs of quantity in French Get an overview about all adverbs of quantity in French and study them online.
5 Adverbs of reason in French Get an overview about all adverbs of reason in French and study them online.
6 Placement of adverbs in French Get a comprehensive overview about the placement of adverbs in French and study this topic online.
7 Comparative of French adverbs Get an overview about comparisons and superlatives of French adverbs and study this topic online.
8 Difference adjectives and adverbs in French Get an overview about the difference of adjectives and adverbs in French and study this topic online