Irregular Adverbs in English Grammar

An adverb modifies a word, phrase, or sentence. It tells us more about them and changes the meaning slightly. Often we say it tells us how something happens:

He paints.

He paints wildly.

In this example wildly is an adverb which tells us how he paints.

Regular Adverbs

In most cases, adverbs‏‎ are formed by adding –ly to an adjective‎:

{adjective} + ly = {adverb}

nice > nicely

expensive > expensively

They are known as regular adverbs.

Irregular Adverbs

However, there are some adverbs which do not follow this basic rule and they either remain unchanged or they change completely. They are know as irregular adverbs.

The most common irregular adverbs are:

adj – adv

good – well
fast – fast
hard – hard
late – late
early – early
daily – daily

With irregular adverbs where the adverb form is the same as the adjectival form (e.g. daily – daily), students can sometimes get confused.

The best way to tackle the problem is by starting to discuss the norm (regular adverbs) and then move on the exception (irregular adverbs).

In the TEFL classroom you should really cover these topics on an as-needs basis. There’s no need to give a lesson all about forming irregular adverbs but instead as you come across them in class you should deal with them.

Useful Links
Adverbs in English Grammar – to read more on adverbs in general

Regular Adverbs‏‎ in English Grammar – to read more about regular adverbs


Posted in Parts of Speech, Vocabulary & Spelling.