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Basic Formation of Adverbs

  • Adverbs modify the action that is taking place.
  • Basic adverbs can be formed by adding –ment at the end of an adjective when it is in the feminine singular.
  • Adjectives ending with –é, –i and –u turn into adverbs by adding –ment at the end when it is in the masculine singular.
  • Adjectives ending with –ant turn into adverbs by removing –ant and adding –amment instead.
  • Similarly, adjectives ending with –ent turn into adverbs by removing –ent and adding –emment instead.
  • Certain adjectives may need to change their ending from –e to –é and then add –ment. This is completely irregular and must be remembered by heart.
    • Common adverbs like this include:
      • Profondément (Deeply)
      • Énormément (Enormously) 
      • Confusément (Confusingly)
      • Intensément (Intensely)
      • Précisément (Precisely)
      • Communément (Commonly)

Adverb Placement

  • Adverb placement is equally important to adjective placement; they can change the meaning of the sentence entirely.
  • Adverbs can be placed before or after the sentence.
  • Adverbs can be placed in the middle of the sentence, but almost never between the subject and conjugated verb.
    • Note: Adverbs of Time (not to be confused with Adverbs of Frequency) are never placed in the middle of the sentence—either before or after.
  • Adverbs must be placed after the auxiliary verb in a composed tense (like Passé Composé), but before the past participle
  • Adverbs must be placed after the 2nd part of the negation
  • However, certain adverbs must be placed before the 2nd part of the negation—common adverbs include:
    • Peut-être (Maybe)
    • Probablement (Probably)
    • Aucun doute (Without a doubt)
    • Généralement (Generally)
    • Certainement (Certainly)
    • Même (Even)
  • Furthermore, there are also adverbs where they can placed both before or after the 2nd part of the negation, but its meaning changes—common adverbs include:
    • Toujours
      • Je n’ai toujours pas dansé. (I still haven’t danced.)
      • Je n’ai pas toujours dansé. (I didn’t danced always.)
    • Vraiment
      • Je n’ai vraiment pas dansé. (I didn’t really dance.)
      • Je n’ai pas vraiment dansé. (I didn’t dance really.)

Adverbs of Quantity

  • They are used to describe the quantity of an adjective, verb or adverb.
  • Common adverbs of quantity in French include:
Beaucoup deA lot of
Trop deToo much/many
Autant deAs much/many
Tant deSo much/many
Assez deEnough/Quite
Plus/Moins deMore/Less
(Un) Peu deFew 

Adverbs of Time

  • They are used to describe an action taking place in a certain time.
  • Common adverbs of frequency in French include:
Tout le tempsAll the time
Généralement/En généralGenerally
Quelquefois/Des fois/ParfoisSometimes
De temps en tempsFrom time to time
  • Common adverbs of points in time in French include:
Ce soirTonight