Adverbs

Adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives and even entire sentences. They can go almost anywhere in a sentence (but often go in the beginning) and give information about the way in which something was done.

これはとてもおいしいです。This is very delicious
ゆっくり話してください。Please speak slowly.
ちょうど彼女に電話しようとしていたところ、彼女からメッセージが届いた。
I got a message from her just as I was about to call her.

Types of adverbs

Adverbs are words that give more information about a verb, but there are lots of ways to describe a verb. That being said, they don’t require particles to use and can basically go anywhere in a sentence, so don’t worry about too much and learn them as you go. Here we’ll introduce a few of the most common types of adverbs, which:

  • tell when something is done (adverbs of time)
  • tell how often somethingis done (adverbs of frequency)
  • tell to what extent something is done (adverbs of degree)
  • tell in what way something is done (adverbs of manner)
  • how to use adjectives as adverbs

Adverbs of Time

Adverbs of time give information about when something is done.

어제昨日(きのう)Alreadyもう
오늘今日(きょう)지금今(いま)
Tomorrow明日(あした)Not yet/stillまだ

彼は明日、東京に行く。He is going to Tokyo tomorrow.
昼ごはんはもう食べた。I have already eaten breakfast.

Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of Frequency give information about how often something is done.

AlwaysいつもEvery day毎日(まいにち)
Sometimes時々(ときどき)Oftenよく
Never; not even once一度も(いちども)Rarely滅多に(めったに)

私は毎日メロンパンを食べています。I eat Melon Pan every day.
私は二年間日本に住んでいたのに、東京は一度も行ったことがない。
Even though I lived in Japan for two years, I have never gone to Tokyo / not even gone once.
** 一度も must be used with a negative verb in order to mean “never”.

Adverbs of Degree

Adverbs of Degree are used to place the words they describe on a spectrum: our interest, for example, can range from not interested at all to completely engrossed and everywhere in between.

Really/veryとてもMore (adjective)もっと
A littleちょっとSlightly少し(すこし)
Completely/not at all全く(まったく)Furthermore; “even”さらに

数学には全く興味がない。I have absolutely no interest in mathematics.
父が首になった、さらに悪いことには、母が入院された。
My dad got fired, and to make things (even/further) worse, my mom was hospitalized.

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner tell the way in which something was done.

QuicklyさっとAloneゆっくりと
Alone一人で(ひとりで)Together一緒に(いっしょに)
Intentionally/on purposeわざとAccidentally偶然に(ぐうぜんに)

私は一人で朝ご飯を食べた。I ate breakfast alone.
偶然にも、同じレストランにいたが、元カレは私のことをわざと無視した。
We happened to be at the same restaurant, but my ex (boyfriend) intentionally ignored me.

Making Adjectives into Adverbs

Just like English adjectives can typically be turned into adverbs by adding ~ly, Japanese adjectives can also be turned into adverbs.

For い adjectives, replace the final い with く。
  悲しい(かなしい)sad → 悲しく sadly
  優しい(やさしい)kind→ 優しくkindly

For な adjectives, simply tack a に onto the adjective’s root form.
  静か(しずか)quiet → 静かに quietly
  丁寧(ていねい)polite, civil → 丁寧に politely, civilly

彼女は子供の頬に優しくキスをした。She tenderly kissed the child’s cheek.
泥棒は静かに部屋に入った。The thief quietly entered the room.