Do All Adverbs End in ly? Explanations with Examples

This post, Do All Adverbs End in ly? Explanations with Examples, clarifies the confusion that many people have when it comes to the nature of adverbs, a major member of the English Parts of Speech.

Do All Adverbs End in ly? Explanations with Examples

To answer this sixty-four thousand dollar question, it is not every adverb that ends in –ly. Many hold the opinion that for it to be an adverb, it must end in –ly; but nothing could be further from the truth. Let us continue…

Simple Definition of Adverb

Let us attempt a simple definition of adverbs; or what you might call ‘definition of adverb for kids’. An adverb is a type of a word that gives us more description of a verb in a sentence.

In other words, it tells us more about the action contained in a sentence; the time, place, manner, frequency, degree, reason, condition, etc. for the action the verb in a sentence shows.

Examples of Adverb

  • She quickly ran for her life. (‘Quickly’, as an adverb, modifies the verb “ran”).
  • The baby is very (‘Very’ is an adverb that modifies the adjective ‘cute’).
  • Regrettably, he cannot see his father. (‘Regrettably’ is an adverb that modifies the rest of the sentence).
  • He arrived for the meeting early. (‘Early’ is an adverb that modifies the verb ‘arrive’).
  • He came here last night. (‘Here’, as an adverb, modifies the verb ‘came’).

What modifies a verb?

A lot of people often ask this question. To answer this question, there is only one Part of Speech that can modify a verb; and that is adverbs. So adverbs are words that can modify a verb in a sentence as the examples above show.

What do adverbs describe?

This question is closely related to the one asked above as two are both sides of a coin. Unlike verbs which adverbs modify, adverbs can describe just more than a verb. They can also describe adjectives and other adverbs. Let us see some examples:

Adverbs modifying adjectives

  • He is really handsome. (‘Really’ modifies the adjective ‘handsome’).
  • The kids are very playful. (‘Very’ modifies the adjective ‘playful’).

Adverbs modifying another adverb

  • He ran quite fast. (‘Quite’ modifies another adverb ‘fast’).
  • She met him right there. (‘Right’ modifies another adverb ‘there’).

Do all adverbs end in ly?

I remember quite well one of the teachers who taught me English in secondary school once describe adverbs thus: “every –ly, –ly, –ly … is an adverb”. He was trying to tell us that every word that ends in ‘–ly’. But he was honestly wrong. While it is true that most adverbs end in ‘–ly’. Many also do not end thus. So if you ask me: ‘Do all adverbs end in ly?’ I will tell you point-blank ‘No!’ Let us see some examples:

Adverbs without ly


  • I told them point-blank what I thought of them.
  • She refused point-blank to marry him.
  • His father told him point-blank that he was on his own.


  • I told him outright that he was making a big mistake.
  • The government banned importation outright
  • The family bought the business outright.
  • They refused our offer outright.
  • The consortium purchased the property outright for cash.
  • Soldiers killed the armed bandit outright.
  • She laughed outright at his proposal.
  • The Panel rejected the proposal outright.


  • She went straight home.
  • Put your hat on straight.
  • I can’t think straight with all this noise going on.
  • Give it to me straight.
  • We’ll have to put the place straight after the party.
  • She decided to play the role straight.


  • You’re driving too fast.
  • He was rather fast.
  • The train was quite very fast.


  • It was rather disappointing.
  • You go to the movies; I’d rather stay home tonight.
  • I think the irises are rather attractive.
  • You should praise rather than blame them.
  • You think she’s snobbish? Rather, I’d say she’s shy.


  • It was not quite as bad as we thought.
  • The dress is not quite finished.
  • He left quite some time ago.
  • That was quite a celebration we had yesterday.
  • “I didn’t think it was up to me to say anything.” “Quite.”

Other Examples of Adverbs without –ly

  • Afterwards
  • Already
  • Besides
  • Elsewhere
  • Fast
  • Here
  • In fact
  • Likewise
  • Meanwhile
  • Never
  • Nonetheless
  • Otherwise
  • Rather
  • Soon
  • Then
  • Today
  • Very
  • Yesterday
  • Again
  • Anyway
  • Best
  • Even
  • Furthermore
  • How
  • Instead
  • Long
  • More
  • Nevertheless
  • Now
  • Quick
  • Slow
  • Still
  • Therefore
  • Tomorrow
  • Well
  • Almost
  • Back
  • Better
  • Far
  • Hard
  • However
  • Late
  • Low
  • Near
  • Next
  • Often
  • Rather
  • So
  • Then
  • Thus
  • Too
  • Where

You can see the post what is an adverb for a more explicit discussion on the subject of adverbs. Do not forget to tell a friend about this post and many other educative ones on our website. Sharing is just a button away! Thanks for stopping by! Do visit always!

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