¡Hola! Thanks for joining us. This time, we will learn how to use different types of adverbs in Spanish to make more complex, interesting sentences. We will introduce a list of these adverbs and show you several examples with them. You’ll have the chance to practice with an interactive quiz at the end of the lesson. Let’s start…
What are adverbs in Spanish?
The RAE (Real Academia Española) defines adverbs the following way:
“An invariable word whose proper function is to complement a verb, an adjective or another adverb. They provide very different meanings: place, time, mode, denial, affirmation, doubt, desire, quantity or degree, order, among other notions.”
Basically, adverbs are words that tell us the “where, how, when and others” of things in a sentence. For example, in the sentence “Yo estoy cerca”, the adverb “cerca” (near) tells where you are, whereas in the sentence “Lo hice bien”, the adverb “bien” (well) tells how well you did something.
Types of adverbs in Spanish: list and sentences
Adverbs in Spanish are divided into several categories including lugar (place), tiempo (time), modo (mode), cantidad (quantity), afirmación, negación, duda (doubt) and others. Next, we will explore the adverbs in each category and show you many examples of sentences:
Time adverbs in Spanish
Time adverbs (los adverbios de tiempo) are the ones that provide information about the time when an action is carried out by the subject, be it in the present, past or future. They basically tell “when” an action takes place in a sentence. Sequence words are considered time adverbs too as they help us explain the order of things in time. These are a few of time adverbs in Spanish:
Actualmente, ahora, anoche, antes, ayer, después, finalmente, hoy, inmediatamente, jamás, luego, mañana, nunca, siempre, tarde, temprano, todavía, ya
Please analyze the following examples and identify the adverbs in them:
Actualmente, yo estoy trabajando en un proyecto muy importante.
Currently, I am working on a very important project.
Fuí al cine con mis amigos anoche.
I went to the movies with my friends last night.
Primero, bate los huevos en una pana y después los fríes.
First, stir the eggs in a bowl and then fry them.
Ayer fuí al supermercado, hoy voy a la universidad y mañana iré al aeropuerto.
Yesterday I went to the supermarket, today I go to university and tomorrow I will go to the airport.
Me levanté temprano hoy. (doble adverbio)
I woke up early today. (two adverbs)
Adverbs of manner in Spanish
Adverbs of manner (los adverbios de modo) are used to explain the way in which the action is performed. They respond to the “how?” question, and just the same, they fulfill the function of complementing the verb. Sometimes, it might be confusing to see when a word is an adverb or an adjective. To illustrate the difference, let’s analyze this sentence: “Sus ojos son claros”. The word “claros” plays the role of an adjective in that sentence as it describes that person’s eyes. On the other hand, in the sentence “Ella habla claro” (she speaks clearly), we are telling how she speaks, therefore “claro” is being used as an adverb of manner. Here are some examples of some adverbs of manner in Spanish:
Así, rápido/rápidamente, bien, facilmente, desgraciadamente, fuerte/fuertemente, lentamente, mal, mejor, responsablemente
Tú manejas las finanzas de la empresa responsablemente.
You manage the finances of the company responsibly.
Ella estaba conduciendo rápido en una carretera muy transitada.
She was driving fast on a busy highway.
Yo puedo aprender nuevos idiomas fácilmente.
I can learn new languages easily.
La tortuga camina lentamente, pero la liebre se mueve rápidamente.
The tortoise walks slowly, but the hare moves quickly.
Pensé que pintabas mal, pero veo que eres mejor que Picaso.
I thought you painted badly, but I see that you are better than Picasso.
Adverbs of place in Spanish
Adverbs of place (los adverbios de lugar) are those that give information about the place or location where something happens. They respond to the “where?” question in sentences. Prepositions of place in Spanish are a good example of these types of adverbs as they tell us where objects are located. Some frequently used adverbs of place are:
aquí, abajo, allá, allí, al lado, arriba, cerca, debajo, delante, dentro, derecha, detrás, encima, fuera, lejos.
Mis juguetes están aquí y los tuyos están ahí.
My toys are here and yours are there.
Mi casa está cerca de la tuya.
My house is close to yours.
María vive arriba, en el segundo piso.
Maria lives upstairs on the second floor.
Los niños están jugando afuera.
The children are playing outside.
Puedes dejar los papeles sobre el estante.
You can leave the papers on the shelf.
Adverbs of quantity in Spanish
Adverbs of quantity will be used to increase or decrease the grade of an adjective in a sentence. These adverbs are words like:
muy (very), un poco (a little), algo (SOME), bastante (quite), realmente (really), totalmente (totally), demasiado (too) and parcialmente (partially).
These are some examples of sentences:
Las acciones contra el cambio climático son muy importantes.
Actions against climate change are very important.
Le tengo un poco de miedo a los fantasmas.
I’m a little scared of ghosts.
Pablo está bastante sorprendido por la noticia.
Pablo is quite surprised by the news.
Realmente me gusta mucho leer libros con temática interesante.
I really like reading books with interesting themes.
El tesoro quedó totalmente enterrado en el derrumbe.
The treasure was totally buried in the collapse.
Adverb of affirmation in Spanish
These adverbs express agreement and include words such as:
Si (yes), claro/por supuesto (Of course), efectivamente (effectively), obviamente (obviously), verdaderamente (truly), cierto (true), exacto (exactly), también (too)
Por supuesto que puedo ayudarte con tu proyecto.
Of course I can help you with your project.
Efectivamente, el robo del banco se dio por falta de seguridad.
Indeed, the bank robbery occurred due to lack of security.
Es cierto, los niños vieron un platillo volador en el cielo.
It’s true, the children saw a flying saucer in the sky.
Adverbs of negation in Spanish
Unlike the previous group of adverbs, these ones will be used in negative sentences. Some of these words are:
en absoluto (not at all), jamás (never), negativamente, no, nunca (never) and tampoco (yet)
Yo jamás he escuchado esa canción antes.
I’ve never heard that song before.
¿Puedes entrar al supermercado sin mascarilla? – En absoluto en este momento.
Can you enter the supermarket without a mask? – Not at all at the moment.
¿Ustedes tampoco han terminado su proyecto?
Haven’t you finished your project either?
Other adverbs in Spanish
There are many other adverbs besides the ones that we have seen so far. Some of them are used to express a wish or hope (ojalá) and others to express doubts or probabilities (quizás, talvez, probablemente, posiblemente). In addition, there are “Locuciones adverbiales”, a term used for sets of words that mean the same as one-word adverbs. They correspond to words like “de vez en cuando” (every now and then), “más o menos” (so so), “sin duda” (no doubt) and many more that are really common in the language too.
In the end, adverbs are those words that provide extra information in the text on the places, time and way that actions take place. Pay attention to one last example using several of the adverbs that we have seen in this lesson in the same text. Then, practice with the interactive grammar quiz for this topic.