Have you ever heard someone say "I play soccer good" or "All adverbs end in -ly!"? If so, then that means some people, somewhere, probably hiding in dark corners and under bridges of the grammar world, don't know their adverbs! (And maybe... just maybe... that includes you, too! Yeah, that's right! I said it!)
So, please, let's learn adverbs together. It'll be fun. You'll be glad. I promise.
The Wonderful World of Adverbs
Adverbs come in all shapes and sizes: words, phrases, and clauses.
- walking carefully
- walking after midnight
- walking where I've never been before
This means adverbs aren't limited to single words; adverbial phrases and adverbial clauses act as adverbs. Also, adverbs don't have to "touch" the words they modify either: "Today, Sue ate a burrito painfully." Both today and painfully are adverbs describing when and how, respectively, Sue ate the burrito. Maybe if Sue knew her adverbs, she wouldn't have made the mistake of eating the burrito. Poor Sue.
By the way, not and often no are adverbs. Take, for example, "Ain't nobody got time fo' that!" Setting aside the sentence's grammatical errors (like the double negative and use of got), and minding that ain't is really an informal contraction for does not, therefore, in "Nobody does not got time fo' that!", not is an adverb modifying does got. Cool, huh?
Maybe Sweet Brown isn't the best grammar example... Oh, well.
Sleep Tight, My Love
To be fair, most adverbs used in English today have -ly endings, but that wasn't always the case. All adverbs used to have flat and -ly versions (meaning there was, once, a fastly), but over time most adverbs have lost one of their versions, or at least one version has fallen out of popular use. In most cases, it's been the flat version.
However, in all technicality, flat adverbs are still grammatically correct. In fact, we often prefer them: "Sleep tight." (Not tightly.) "Drive safe." (Not safely.) And regarding non-special cases, even if you say "I eat quiet," instead of "I eat quietly," you're still very much in the clear. Flat adverbs are okay. I promise. Feel free to breath deep and take it all in.
Also feel free to stick flat adverbs to your fifth grade teacher.
(Oh, on a semi-related note, here's how to use well and good: Well is an adverb; good is an adjective. This means you play soccer well, and you are a good person. Well can act as an adjective but only regarding health: "I'm well." Good, on the other hand, is NEVER an adverb. That means you don't "speak good." Ever. You speak well. Got it? Are we clear? Good.)
The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow, Hopefully
For whatever reason, the use of some adverbs as disjuncts (versus their use as adverbs of manner, as in "I pray hopefully") is controversial. But I honestly don't know why. Merriam-Webster thinks their use as disjuncts is okay, though, and that's good enough for me. Hopefully, you'll agree too. (See what I did there?)
And that, my friends, is adverbs in a bathroom break.