How To Use Spanish Adverbs Correctly (With Examples)
- Jada LòpezSpanish teacher, translator🎓 B.A., Translation and Interpreting English and Spanish, Universidad de Granada🎓 M.A., Formación de Profesores de Español como Lengua Extranjera (ELE), Universidad Pablo de Olavide
Passionate language teacher and translator. Wife, mother of 3 and amateur surfer.
Adverbs represent a whole group of words that are fundamental to most modern languages, including Spanish.
On the difficulty spectrum, you’ll be pleased to know that adverbs fall on the easier side. Adverbs generally don’t cause too much confusion for most Spanish beginners!
Read on and I’ll explain how to form Spanish adverbs.
What are Spanish adverbs?
Let’s first determine what an adverb actually is.
Adverbs are words that modify other words in a sentence.
They’re typically used alongside verbs and adjectives to paint a bigger picture of a scenario and add extra information. They can express time, intensity, frequency, perspective, style, and direction, as well as a number of other qualities.
In English, adverbs usually end in “-ly” but can also be standalone words like “now”, “here”, and “together”. Adverbs are features of most world languages, including Spanish.
In the next section, you’ll learn all about how to create adverbs in Spanish. You’ll find that, fortunately, Spanish adverbs are used in much the same way as English adverbs.
How are adverbs formed in Spanish?
As with English, most Spanish adverbs follow a general rule.
But also like in English, there are many that don’t abide by this rule. These words are generally those without a direct “-ly” translation, so they’re not as daunting as you might think.
The general rule for translating “-ly” adverbs into Spanish is to take the adjective, make it feminine singular, and add “-mente” on the end.
Let’s see this rule in action:
- Rápido → Rápidamente (Quick → Quickly)
- Claro → Claramente (Clear → Clearly)
Notice the a in the Spanish adverb. It’s important to note, though, that not all Spanish adverbs do this. Spanish adjectives that end in a consonant or an -e remain as they are:
- Alegre → Alegremente (Happy → Happily)
- Accidental → Accidentalmente (Accidental → Accidentally)
It’s also worth noting that this rule doesn’t apply for all adjectives in Spanish.
This makes sense, because we have the same in English. After all, you can’t enter a room “fun-ly” or cook something “purple-ly”.
Now you know how to form adverbs in Spanish, it’s time to learn some vocab!
Common Spanish adverbs
Adverbs are used every day in Spanish, so they’re essentially unavoidable. This means it’s extra important for you to learn as many as you can.
But since adverbs are everywhere, chances are you’ve already come across a fair few. You’ll no doubt recognise some of the words you’re about to see, but it’s always worth refreshing your memory with old vocab.
Below, you’ll find a comprehensive list of the most common Spanish adverbs.
We’ve divided the adverbs into subcategories to make them easier for you to learn. After all, one big long list of vocab doesn’t appeal to any language learner.
Without further ado, then, let’s learn some of the most useful Spanish adverbs.
Adverbs of time
The first lot of adverbs we’ll learn help you convey a timeframe.
These words will form a crucial part of your vocabulary. They’ll also allow you to tell your Spanish friends and family fun stories about yourself as you recount what happened when.
|hoy||today||Voy al cine hoy|
(I’m going to the cinema today)
|mañana||tomorrow||Mañana tengo una reunión|
(I have a meeting tomorrow)
|ayer||yesterday||Fuimos al parque ayer|
(We went to the park yesterday)
|anteayer||the day before yesterday||Llegaron de viaje anteayer|
(They arrived from their trip the day before yesterday)
|anoche||last night||Salí a cenar anoche|
(I went out for dinner last dinner)
|aún||still||Aún no he terminado el libro|
(I still haven’t finished the book)
|ya||already||¿Ya comiste el almuerzo?|
(Did you eat lunch already?)
|pronto||soon||Llegaré pronto a casa|
(I will arrive home soon)
|tarde||late||Ella llegó tarde a nuestra cita|
(She arrived late to our date)
|temprano||early||Por otro lado, yo llegué temprano|
(On the other hand, I arrived early)
Adverbs of frequency
These adverbs allow you to express how often or how little you do something.
Adverbs of frequency and adverbs of time are considered separate categories in English, but not in Spanish. We’ve separated them here though to make it easier to learn the vocab, breaking up the lists into smaller, more manageable sections.
Here are some common Spanish adverbs of frequency:
|siempre||always||Siempre bebo agua y como fruta|
(I always drink water and eat fruit)
|nunca||never||Nunca hemos viajado a Asia|
(We have never been to Asia)
|a menudo||often||Sebastián va al gimnasio a menudo|
(Sebastian goes to the gym often)
|a veces||sometimes||A veces salgo a pasear por la tarde|
(I sometimes go for a walk in the evening)
|rara vez||rarely||Rara vez come postre|
(He rarely eats dessert)
|usualmente||usually||Usualmente no estudio los sábados|
(I usually don ’t study on Saturdays)
|diariamente||daily||Tomo vitaminas diariamente|
(I take vitamins daily)
|semanalmente||weekly||Mi amiga hace yoga semanalmente|
(My friend does yoga weekly)
|mensualmente||monthly||Pagamos la renta mensualmente|
(We pay the rent monthly)
|anualmente||annually||Celebro mi cumpleaños anualmente|
(I celebrate my birthday annually)
Adverbs of place
This next lot of Spanish adverbs will help you express where something is.
You might not have thought some of these were adverbs, but if they modify the sentence, they’re adverbs. These place-related words are incredibly common in Spanish, so it’s certainly worth learning them.
Let’s take a closer look at them:
|aquí/acá||here||Siéntate aquí a mi lado|
(Sit here by my side)
|allí/allá||there/over there||El parque está allí, al final de la calle|
(The park is over there, at the end of the street)
|en algún lugar||somewhere||Dejé las llaves en algún lugar seguro|
(I left the keys somewhere safe)
|en ninguna parte||nowhere/anywhere||Busqué por todas partes, pero no lo encontré en ninguna parte|
(I looked everywhere, but I didn’t find it anywhere)
|cerca||near||La tienda está cerca de la estación|
(The shop is near the station)
|lejos||far||Vive lejos, en las afueras de la ciudad|
(He lives far away on the outskirts of the city)
|abajo||down(stairs)||Espere abajo mientras termino de vestirme, por favor|
(Wait downstairs while I finish changing, please)
|arriba||up(stairs)||Los niños juegan arriba en sus habitaciones|
(The children are playing upstairs in their rooms)
|detrás||behind||El coche está estacionado detrás del edificio|
(The car is parked behind the building)
|enfrente||in front||El café está justo enfrente del cine|
(The café is just in front of the cinema)
Some of these words you may recognise if you’ve ever studied prepositions before. That’s because these words function as prepositional adverbs in both Spanish and English.
Adverbs of manner
This is where you’ll find the majority of adverbs. This category includes words that express how something is being done.
Most adverbs that describe how something happens end in “-ly” in English and therefore end in -mente in Spanish.
Here are some of the most common adverbs of manner in Spanish:
|bien||well||Mi madre cocina muy bien|
(My mother cooks very well)
|mal||badly||Por otro lado, yo cocino mal|
(On the other hand, I cook badly)
|solo||alone||Prefiero viajar solo|
(I prefer to travel alone)
|juntos||together||Caminemos juntos por el parque|
(Let’s walk in the park together)
|cuidadosamente||carefully||Lee el contrato cuidadosamente antes de firmar|
(Read the contract carefully before signing)
|fácilmente||easily||Resolvió el problema fácilmente|
(He solved the problem easily)
|seriamente||seriously||Habló seriamente sobre su futuro|
(She talked seriously about her future)
|lentamente||slowly||Conduce lentamente en esta zona|
(Drive slowly in this area)
|suavemente||gently||Cierra la puerta suavemente, por favor|
(Close the door gently please)
|terriblemente||terribly||Me asusté terriblemente con la película|
(I was terribly scared by the movie)
Adverbs of degree
Spanish adverbs of degree are also known as adverbs of quantity and involve words that convey to what degree something is being done.
Essentially, they quantify an action. This helps you build a better picture of a scenario or give more detailed instructions. You’ll need these words quite often, but fortunately you’ll probably know some already!
Let’s take a look at some common Spanish adverbs of degree:
|muy||very||Estoy muy cansado después del trabajo|
(I’m very tired after work)
|bastante||quite||Hace bastante calor hoy|
(It’s quite hot today)
|poco||little||Ellos tienen poco tiempo para estudiar|
(They have little time to study)
|extremely||extremadamente||Estamos extremadamente agradecidos por su hospitalidad|
(We are extremely grateful for your hospitality)
|más||more||Necesito más tiempo para terminar|
(I need more time to finish)
|menos||less||Necesitas caminar menos y descansar más|
(You need to walk less and rest more)
|mucho||a lot||Disfruté mucho en la fiesta|
(I had a lot of fun at the party)
|demasiado||too (much)||Comí demasiado en la cena|
(I ate too much at dinner)
|tanto||as much/so much||Tiene tanto talento para el piano|
(He has so much talent for the piano)
|casi||almost||Llegué casi a tiempo para la reunión|
(I arrived almost on time for the meeting)
Adverbs of doubt
Adverbs of doubt are rather self-explanatory. They express uncertainty in an action.
Sometimes, if they precede a verb, they trigger the subjunctive in Spanish. As a general rule, if your sentence or statement creates doubt, chances are your verb will need a subjunctive.
Here are some common Spanish adverbs of doubt:
|quizá/quizás||maybe||Quizá vaya al cine esta noche|
(Maybe I’ll go to the cinema tonight)
|tal vez||maybe||Tal vez llueva mañana|
(Maybe it will rain tomorrow)
|a lo mejor||maybe||A lo mejor llegamos temprano|
(Maybe we’ll arrive early)
|igual||perhaps||Igual tenemos que trabajar los findes|
(Perhaps we’ll have to work weekends)
|acaso||perhaps/by any chance||Acaso encuentres tu libro aquí|
(Perhaps you’ll find your book here)
|posiblemente||possibly||Posiblemente venga a la fiesta|
(I might possibly come to the party)
|probablemente||probably||Probablemente estudiaré más tarde|
(I will probably study later)
|al parecer||apparently||Al parecer, no hay más entradas|
(Apparently, there are no more tickets)
|aparentemente||apparently||Aparentemente, se canceló el vuelo|
(Apparently, the flight got cancelled)
|potencialmente||potentially||Esa idea es potencialmente peligrosa|
(That idea is potentially dangerous)
How to use adverbs in Spanish sentences
Adverbs can be used almost anywhere in a sentence, as they can modify verbs, adjectives, and even whole sentences.
Luckily, using adverbs in Spanish isn’t all too different from using them in English. In fact, you can mostly put an adverb in the same place in the sentence as you would in English.
Adverbs usually come directly before the word they are modifying, but in some cases (like with verbs) they can appear directly after the word.
One extra thing worth noting is that if you want to use two -mente Spanish adverbs one after another, only the last one will take the ending. For instance:
Ella corrió rápida y apresuradamente.
And that’s all there is to it! With regular practice, adverbs will become second nature to you.
Spanish adverbs are easy.
They’re important so you can’t avoid getting a handle on them early.
You’ll find yourself becoming more expressive and confident knowing Spanish adverbs. Extend your vocabulary with the words above.
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