Page images
PDF
EPUB

ADVERBS.

Adverbs may be distinguished from adjectives by their answering to one of the questions-How ? how much? when? or where? Any adjective may be used as an adverb; as

He laughed loud and long.
An English shout pealed high and clear.

The grass grows so fast you can almost hear it.
There is a difficulty about the use of adjectives as adverbs in
English, which some have got over by calling the usage wrong
or a vulgarism.

But without doubt the usage is correct. Any adjective not of Latin form or ending in y may be used as an adverb, with this restriction, that it must not be an addition of new sense to the verb, but must merely qualify the essential meaning of the verb. For example, speed or non-speed is inherent in the meaning of

running,' therefore you can say 'He runs quick, swift, fast, slow,' but no mental idea properly belongs to it; therefore even such expressions as 'He runs eager,' appropriate as the idea of eagerness is, are not quite correct.

It is obviously possible to speak of wonderful, noble, gentle, &c., running; but as none of these ideas belong to running as such, 'He runs wonderful, noble, gentle,' &c., is wrong.

The use of adverbs in Latin proceeds on this principle. What complicates the question is this; in addition to the difficulty of deciding essential and non-essential meaning in doubtful cases, comes in the fact, that a participle put with the verb always, and an adjective very often, is a predicate, with a construction of its own understood. Thus, 'He runs furious and determined.' * Furious and determined' are not adverbs, but a separate clause agreeing with the subject but joined with the sense of the predicate by a participle or verb under tood; e. g. Óbeing furious,' &c. That is to say, a separate fact is stated, not the kind of running.

Sometimes the very same words, according as they are read, may be either adverbs or predicative adjectives; as, 'An English shout peals high and clear. If no stop is put, 'high' and 'clear' are adverbs belonging to “peals;' but the clause might be punctuated thus, "An English shout peals, high and clear,' in which case they are predicative adjectives, and was high and clear.' Again, "He walked slow' is correct, but, "He walked towards the house slow,' is not correct, because of the addition of the fresh idea towards the house to the verbal notion of walking, and this idea the word “slow' cannot belong to as a qualifying adverb.

Occasionally, both in Greek and English, an adjective is thrown out of its place without becoming either adverbial or predicative in grammatical construction, merely to give it emphasis, e. g.'Beneath whose breath the leaves dead are driven.'

(Shelley.) 'The leaves dead' is not correct grammar, though very emphatic and striking English.

This is obviously a very rare liberty.

Adverbs are formed from adjectives by adding ly (in old English 'like') to the word; as

He spoke calmly. He acted violently. It twinkled visibly. He was evidently afraid.

Ly is also an adjectival termination; as, Manly, womanly, godly, goodly, sickly, seemly. (In old English ‘godly' and seemly' are both adjectives and adverbs.)

If an adjective ends in y, it becomes i in the adverb; as, Happy, happily; gay, gaily; merry, merrily; pretty, prettily.

If an adjective ends in le, the e is omitted in the adverb; as, Able, ably; humble, humbly; visible, visibly; agreeable, agreeably.

The following adjectives are frequently used as adverbs :-
much
more

most
(well)
better

best
(badly)
worse

worst. He hesitated much. He was more reasonable to-day. Would I had loved him more. It is a most inaccessible place. He dines mostly at four o'clock. You have done it well, but might have done it better. It is best (or better) left alone. It was badly sung and worse acted. She wrote worst of the three.

Some common adverbs of time and place, used also as prepositions, have been noticed under the head of “Prepositions.'

The following are the remaining adverbs in most common use :

Of Timenow to-morrow

often to-day hereafter

oft at present thereafter

oft times hereupon afterwards

seldom thereupon presently

daily, or once a day directly

immediately the other day at once

weekly, or once a week yesterday soon

monthly, or once a month before in a minute

yearly, or once a year heretofore in an hour

always already

by and by hitherto

never lately

again once

yet

still. ‘Daily,' weekly,' 'monthly,' yearly,' nightly,' &c., are both adverbs and adjectives—

He cast up his weekly accounts.
He cast up his accounts weekly.
He visited her grave yearly.
He paid a yearly visit to her grave.

anon

ever

"The other day' is said by Johnson to mean the day before the day before yesterday,' or 'the third day back. It is generally used less definitely. Of Placehere hither

hence
there
thither

thence.
Of Affirmation-

s no doubt
yea
indeed

I doubtless
s surely 1
yes
{ assuredly )

undoubtedly
truly
verily

certainly
really

to be sure decidedly. * Yea' and 'yes,' nay' and 'no' admit of no grammatical construction, and must stand alone. "Yes, I told you so.'

“Yea’ is only used in old English. "They fall down, yea, they worship.'

In modern English nay' is sometimes used in a similar manner. “They fall down, nay, they worship.' Of Negation

nowise

certainly not
no
not at all

not possibly
not
by no means

&c.
Of Doubt -
perhaps perchance

possibly
peradventure probably

haply.
Of Manner-
well
sideways

badly
crosswise ably, and other
thus"

straight, and other adverbs in ly likewise

adjectives Of Number—

Of Order once

first, firstly twice

secondly thrice, &c.

thirdly, &c.

nay

ill

how.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Of Preference-
rather
chiefly

especially. Of Explanation

namely that is to say videlicet or viz. at least. Of Direction, compounded with ward

hitherward backward (back) eastward
thitherward forward

westward
upward

northward homeward. downward southward

Of Location, compounded with a

aside

ashore ahead

aground aboard

afloat

athirst abed ajar.

« PreviousContinue »