Types of Adverbs

Just as in English, an adverb is used to tell how something is done. It modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. In English, we can recognize adverbs because most end in -ly and in French we can recognize adverbs because most will end in -ment. Also, adverbs show no gender agreement.

To form most adverbs in French, add -ment to the feminine form of the adjective.

Masculine Adjective Feminine Adjective Adverb
final finale finalement
cruel cruelle cruellement
premier première premièrement
curieux curieuse curieusement
actif active activement
long longue longuement
rapide rapide rapidement

Certain exceptions to the regular formation of adverbs are summarized as follows.

Adjective Ending Irregularity Adjective Adverb
-i no e added vrai vraiment
-u no e added absolu absolument
-ant -amment brillant brillammant
constant constammant
-ent -emment évident évidemment
patient patiemment
fréquent fréquemment

A few adverbs have completely irregular stems.

Masculine Adjective Feminine Adjective Adverb
bref brève brièvement
gentil gentille gentiment

A few adverbs are completely different from their corresponding adjectives.

Adjective Adverb
bon bien
mauvais mal
meilleur mieux
petit peu

Here are some commonly used adverbs.

Time Place Frequency Quantity
aujourd'hui ici déjà assez
demain enfin beaucoup
hier là-bas jamais peu
maintenant nulle part quelquefois trop
tard partout souvent
tôt quelque part toujours

Position of Adverbs

The usual position for adverbs used with simple tenses is directly following the conjugate verb.
Il finit facilement ses devoirs. He easily finishes his work.
Elles répondent bien aux questions. They answer the questions well.
Nous revenons quelquefois à 22 heures. We return sometimes at 10:00 pm.

Many adverbs of time, place, frequency, and manner may also be placed at the beginning or the end of a sentence.
Demain, nous allons à la plage. Tomorrow, we will go to the beach.
Nous allons à la plage demain. We will go to the beach tomorrow.

Any adverb that depends on the verb for its meaning, such as adverbs of quantity, must be placed directly after the verb.
Elle mange beaucoup du poulet. She eats a lot of chicken.
Vous mangez trop du gâteau. You eat too much cake.
Je fais mieux la cuisine. I cook the best.

If an adverb is modifying a negated verb, it should be placed after the negation.

Elle ne travaille pas trop à sa boulangerie. She doesn't work too much at her bakery.
Paul ne court pas rapidement parce qu'il est tombée hier. Paul isn't running quickly because he fell yesterday.

Adverb Related Links

List of Possible French Adverbs

Youtube French Adverb Lesson with fionacurnow