Introduction to Adverbs

Adverbs are words used to describe verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. They answer such questions as Как? (How?), Где? (Where?), Когда? (When?), Куда? (Where?), Откуда? (From where?), etc.

Take a look at the example.

Он говорит Как? тихо, быстро
  Где? там, здесь
  Когда? сейчас

Depending on the role that adverbs play in a sentence they can be divided into the following categories:

  • Adverbs of place (наречие места)
  • Adverbs of time (наречие времени)
  • Adverbs of manner (наречие образа действия)
  • Adverbs of degree (количественные наречия)
  • Predicate adverbs (предикативные наречия)

In Russian, adverbs are usually placed before the verb they modify. However, in many cases the position of an adverb does not impact the meaning of the sentence significantly (see sentence structure). Sometimes you will be on the right track just placing an adverb where you would normally put it in English. Look at the following examples:

Я хорошо плаваю.
(I swim well.)

Он спускается вниз.
(He is going down.)

Она плохо играет на гитаре.
(She plays guitar badly.)

When there are several adverbs in one sentence, adverbs of time come first, followed by adverbs of place and manner:

Завтра нас здесь не будет. (time, place)
(We will not be here tomorrow.)

Сегодня она говорит очень тихо. (time, manner)
(She is speaking very low today.)

Adverbs are very common in spoken language and books. They can be formed from other words, such as adjectives or nouns with prepositions. In addition, there are extremely useful adverbs that are not formed from other words and it makes sense to memorize them.

Useful plain adverbs
(stressed vowels are underlined)

Adverb Meaning
везде everywhere
вместе together
вдруг suddenly
всегда always
(всё) ещё still
ещё yet
затем then
здесь, тут here
иногда sometimes
как as
обычно usually
очень very
потом afterwards
почти almost
совершенно entirely
совсем quite
сразу immediately
так, столько so
также, тоже also, too
там there
тогда then
уже already

The good news is that, just like their English counterparts, Russian adverbs do not change. This means that they do not decline and do not have number, gender or tense.

Practice exercise

Now that you have some idea of adverbs, it is time for practice. Consult your English-Russian dictionary to find adverbs and make up Russian sentences which would describe how well/often/long/far/in what way you perform the following activities (see possible answers below).

говорить по-русски (to speak Russian)
Я хорошо говорю по-русски. (I speak Russian well.)

1. читать (to read)
2. говорить по телефону (to talk over the telephone)
3. плавать (to swim)
4. смотреть телевизор (to watch TV)

Possible answers for the exercise:

1. Я быстро/медленно читаю.
   (I read fast/slowly.)

2. Я часто говорю по телефону.
   (I talk over the telephone often.)

3. Я хорошо плаваю.
   (I swim well.)

4. Я смотрю телевизор вечером.
   (I watch TV in the evening.)

Related Lessons

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