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Lesson

Adverbs

Adverbs (ふく) modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs in order to add additional meaning and nuance.

Prerequisite lessons

We already discussed how to modify nouns in the adjectives lesson to modify nouns, but what about adjectives?
Let's look at an example first:

_はん_

はや_ __

I ate the meal quickly

In the above sentence, the verb __ is modified with the adverb はや_, which adds additional information to the verb (i.e. eating becomes eating quickly).
Adverbs can appear anywhere in the sentence, but before the verb they are modifying.

Most adverbs are derived from adjectives using simple conjugation rules (i.e. learning the adjective gives us the adverb with no additional effort), other adverbs are standalone words that need to be memorized separately.

Adjectives as adverbs

All adjectives can be used as adverbs, think of it as using adjectives for modifying verbs rather than nouns. By memorizing adjectives, the corresponding adverb form can be derived using simple conjugation rules, let's look at the rules first:

  • い-adjectives: Replace the last with
  • な-adjectives: instead of following it up with , add instead
  • __ becomes
  • becomes

Let's look at some common adverbs derived from い-adjectives:

adjectiveadverbmeaning
はや_はや_quickly
おそ_おそ_slowly
よわ_よわ_weakly
つよ_つよ_strongly

Conjugating is very simple as we just need to replace the last with .

Examples:

  • したはや____ - Let's wake up early tomorrow.

And some adverbs derived from な-adjectives:

adjectiveadverbmeaning
しず_しず__quietly
げんげん_lively
じょうじょう_skillful
_unskillful
かんたんかんたん_simple; easy

As per the conjugation table earlier, the same word is used but instead of following it up with we use instead.

Examples:

  • しょかん__しず__くだ__ - Please be silent in the library.

Other adverbs and categorization

There are also many adverbs that are not derived from adjectives, but are standalone words. These adverbs can be used without appending any suffix, etc.
Let's look at an example:

ぜんぜん_________

_____

I don't want to go to Disneyland at all.

We can split divide adverbs based on how they modify other words.
There are several general categories:

Let's go over each category and look at some common example adverbs.

Time

Indicates when something happened or will happen.

adverbmeaning
いまnow
きょtoday
したtomorrow
きのyesterday
still; (not) yet
_someday
さいきんrecently
まえ_previously

Examples:

  • まいにちがっこう_ある___ - I walk to school every day.

Frequency

Describes how frequent an event occurs.

adverbmeaning
_always
ときどきsometimes
たま_occasionally
_often

Examples:

  • たま_____ - I play games occasionally.

Degree

Describe the degree or scale of an action.

adverbmeaning
あま_(not) very
ぜんぜん(not) at all
たくさんa lot
なかなかquite
すこ_little

Examples:

  • ___あま__ - I don't like this bread very much.

Level of Certainty

Describe how likely an action is performed.

adverbmeaning
ぜったい_absolutely
ぶんperhaps
かなら_without exception
おそ__probably
as expected

Examples:

  • きょ_ぜったい__ - We'll definitely win today too.

Manner

Describe the way an action is carried out.

adverbmeaning
____slowly
しょうじきhonestly
げんざいcurrently
きゅう_suddenly
__enjoyably
  • でんしゃ_きゅう____ - The train stopped suddenly.

Place

Describe where the action takes place.

adverbmeaning
anywhere
nowhere
somewhere
_near

Examples:

  • ______ - If you have the motivation, you can go anywhere.