4.1. Semantics

The adverb is a class of notional words denoting properties of non-substantive referents – verbal situations and properties. When speakers represent verbal situations, it often becomes necessary to specify circumstances: e.g. He took the bag inside.

Adverbs express circumstantial meanings. The adverb class falls into several semantic subclasses:

Locative adverbs – denoting:
1) position in space (here, nearby);
2. direction (eastward, clockwise, sideways);
3. distance (far, away);

Temporal adverbs – denoting:
1) position in time (then, now);
2) duration (long, shortly);
3) frequency (often, seldom, always, ever, frequently, sometimes)

Process adverbs – denoting:
1) manner (gently, terribly, well, wonderfully);
2) means (mechanically, manually)

Contingency adverbs – denoting:
1) cause and consequence (consequently, accordingly);
2) condition (if);
3) concession (nevertheless);

Degree adverbs – denoting:
1) amplification (increasingly, much badly);
2) diminution (little);
3) measure (sufficiently, enough)

4.2. Form

4.2.1. Word – building – according to their morphological structure adverbs can be classified into:

Simple adverbs – containing one root morpheme (now, well, enough);

Derived adverbs – containing a root morpheme and some affix (ahead, slowly, likewise, forward);

Compound adverbs – containing two root morphemes (anyhow, somewhere);

Phrasal adverbs – adverbial units containing two or more words (to and fro, at last, from within);

Flat adverbs – these are morphologically simple adverbs coinciding formally with adjectives (hard, near, close, deep, wide). Formally, flat adverbs coincide with adjectives, functionally they belong to the adverb class.

4.2.2. Comparison

Some adverbs express comparison by means of grammatical forms – the grammatical category of comparison is based on the functional opposition of three forms: common, comparative, superlative. One-syllable adverbs and the adverb “early” constitute their forms by means of the grammatical endings – er and – est: e.g. fast – faster – fastest

Most of the adverbs employ the auxiliary words “more” and “most”: e.g. frequently – more frequently – most frequently

Some adverbs have irregular forms of comparison. When two parallel forms exist, they are different in meaning:
e.g. near – nearer – nearest, next
late – later – latest, last
far – farther (further) – farthest (furthest)

4.3. Syntactic functions

4.3.1. Adverbial modifier – in accord with their semantics, adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. There are four types of adverbial modifiers: adjunct, subjunct, disjunct and conjunct

Adjunct – this type of adverbial modifier is governed by the verb. It is obligatory in the sentence structure: without the adjunct the sentence would be semantically or even formally incomplete: e.g. She took the child away.

Verbs of motion require adjuncts with the semantic role of locative circumstance: e.g. She went in to cook the dinner.

Adjuncts with the semantic role of temporal circumstance often change the meaning of the sentences: e.g. “Did he come to your birthday party?”, Yes, he did. He always comes to my parties.

Subjunct – this type of adverbial modifier can be subordinate to some sentence element (e.g. He likes the country, especially in spring.) or it can modify the whole sentence as comment of the speaker. (e.g. To kiss a miss is awfully simple but to miss a kiss is simply awful.)

Disjunct – adverbial modifiers of this type refer to the whole sentence. They are detached from the sentences. They usually occupy the initial position in a sentence. Disjuncts define the conditions under which the speaker takes authority for what is being said or reflect the speaker’s attitude to the truth value of the proposition.
e.g. She was too much inclined, possibly, to look for worth in others.
e.g. Frankly, he is not a good man.

Conjunct – it is a type of adverbial modifier that is considerably detached from the sentence in which it is included. It joins the sentence to the preceding context and explicates the semantic relation between the sentence and the context:
e.g. I couldn’t believe it of him. However, I was mistaken.

4.3.2. Noun modifier – some adverbs of place and time  can postmodify noun phrases:
e.g. The trip there was a pleasant one.
e.g. She is leaving on Monday, and he is arriving the day after.

4.3.3. Complement of preposition - adverbs of place and time can function as complement of a preposition:
e.g. She must have finished work by now.

4.3.4. Clause introducer – adverbs are used to introduce the following types of clause:

Interogative clause (special question) - e.g. Where do you live?

Subject, predicative, object:  e.g. Why they had to go is a secret

4.4. Adverb particles in phrasal verbs

Adverb particles combine with verbs to produce phrasal verbs. The function of adverb particles is to change the aspective character of the verb:
e.g. She was dozing on the sofa. (unlimitive)
e.g. She dozed off. (limitive)

Other particles change the meaning of the verb form from literal, through figurative to idiomatic:
e.g. I can’t put up with her behavior any longer.

Adverb particles coincide, formally, with prepositions:
e.g. They set off on the next stage of the journey.

Similarities and differences between particles and prepositions will be discussed in chapter 5.

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