Spanish Grammar Guide

Adverbs (e.g.: muy, rápidamente, cuando, lentamente)

In this section: Description, Questions, Exercises


An Overview of Spanish Adverbs:

The category of words known as adverbs includes a wide range of words. You need to be familiar with the most common ones. You also need to be aware that adverbs are "invariable". That is, even though they modify other words (verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs), they don't change their shape according to gender and number.

Common adverbs

Many adverbs of manner in Spanish are formed by adding the suffix –mente to the neutral or feminine form of an adjective, e.g.: sencilla + –mente = sencillamente, leal + –mente = lealmente. Adjectives that have accents retain their accent after the suffix –mente is added. This suffix cannot be used with certain adjectives, including adjectives describing physical appearance, e.g.: rojamente, gordamente, and nationalities, e.g.: canadiensemente.

The folowing table presents common adverbs with which you should be familiar:

English Spanish
"often" frecuentemente/seguido
"never" nunca/jamás
"sometimes" a veces
"quickly" rápidamente/pronto
"slowly" lentamente
"well" bien
"bad/poorly" mal
"enough" suficientemente
"far" lejos
"near" cerca
"after" después
"before" antes
"maybe" tal vez/quizás
"soon" pronto
"early" temprano
"late" tarde
"now" ahora
"always" siempre
"almost" casi
"finally" por fin/finalmente
"less" menos
"more" más
"too much/many" demasiado
"very" muy/bien
"like this" así
"now/already" ya
"still/yet" todavía/aún (accent)
"then/at that moment" entonces
"afterwards/later on" luego
"until" hasta
"even" hasta/aun (no accent)

Some example sentences are given here:

  • Por fin llegaron a la fiesta. "At last they arrived at the party."
  • La profesora habla rápidamente"The professor speaks quickly."
  • Hasta sabe hablar italiano. "He even knows how to speak Italian."
  • Los niños juegan demasiado"The children play too much."
  • Ya van a llegar. "Now they will arrive."

Some adverbs, like muy and bien can be used as intensifiers meaning "very" to modify other adverbs or adjectives, e.g.:

  • Muy pronto empieza el concierto. "Very soon the concert begins."
  • Está bien sucio tu cuarto. "Your room is very dirty."  

Phrasal adverbs

There are also many adverbial phrases in Spanish. Some common examples are given in the following table:

English Spanish
"secretly" a escondidas
"by force" a (la) fuerza
"by hand" a mano
"on time" a tiempo
"frequently" con frecuencia/a menudo
"suddenly" de repente/de golpe
"normally/usually" de costumbre/de ordinario
"really" de verdad
"on the other hand/on the contrary" en cambio
"on the spot" en el acto

Some example sentences with adverbial phrasal are given below:

  • Hicieron el trato a escondidas. "They made the deal in secret."
  • Construyeron la casa a mano. "They built the house by hand."
  • A él no le gusta el helado. En cambio, le encantan las patatas fritas. "He doesn't like icecream. On the contrary, he loves potato chips."
  • El perro salió de golpe. "The dog ran out suddenly."

Image result for cuidado

  • The adverb actualmente means "currently" or "presently". If you mean "actually", write en realidad or realmente.
  • Adverbs that precede adjectives DO NOT change according to number and gender, e.g.: El libro es sencillamente fabuloso.


Tags: Prepositions verbs time cities
In this section: Description, Questions, Exercises
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