Learn Spanish Adverbs
Language Resources

Like in English, Spanish adverbs provide us with details about how, when and where the action described in the sentence takes place. They can modify the meaning of a single word - be it a verb, adjective or noun - or even an entire sentence.

Spanish Adverbs ending in "-mente"

Most adverbs in Spanish are derived from adjectives, just like in English. In English, we often just add the suffix "-ly" to the adjective and voila! You have an adverb. For example:

adjective
adverb
happy
happily
extreme
extremely
slow
slowly
professional
profesionally

Spanish adverbs derived from adjectives are formed in much the same way, simply adding the suffix "-mente" to the feminine singular form of the adjective. In many cases, the feminine form is the same as the masculine form; however, when the masculine singular form of the adjective ends in -o, the -o is changed to an -a before the "-mente" is added on. For example:

adjective
feminine singular form of adjective
adverb
lento
(slow)
lenta
(-o changed to -a)
lentamente
(slowly)
rápido
(fast)
rápida
(-o changed to -a)
rápidamente
(quickly)
feliz
(happy)
feliz
(no change needed)
felizmente
(happily)
increíble
(incredibly)
increíble
(no change needed)
increíblemente
(incredibly)
profesional
(professional)
profesional
(no change needed)
profesionalmente
(professionally)

Spanish Adverbs not ending in "-mente"

There are also Spanish adverbs that don't end in "-mente" and therefore have to be learned separately. Here are a few of the most common:

ahora
Duerme ahora.
now
He's sleeping now.
allí
Iré allí.
there
I will go there.
aquí
Puedes venir aquí.
here
You can come here.
ayer
Me visitó ayer.
yesterday
She visited me yesterday.
bastante
Canta bastante mal.
rather, quite, sufficiently
She sings rather badly.
bien
¿Comes bien?
well
Do you eat well?
demasiado
Conduce demasiado lento.
too, excessively
He drives too slow.
hoy
Comemos hamburguesas hoy.
today
We are eating hamburgers today.
mal
El coche corre mal.
badly
The car runs badly.
mañana
Vamos de viaje mañana.
tomorrow
We are going on a trip tomorrow.
muy
Sabe muy bien.
very
It tastes very good.
nunca
No vamos nunca.
never
We are never going.
poco
Habla poco.
a little, "un-" or "-in", not very
He talks a little.
siempre
Estoy siempre ocupado.
always
I am always busy.
tan
Es tan guapa.
so
She is so pretty.

Types of Adverbs in Spanish

There are several types of adverbs, all of which help us to understand in greater detail the circumstances of an action or process- the how, the when, the where adn much more.

Sentences don't need adverbs to be correct, but put it this way: it's both more interesting and more informative to hear "The cat pounced unexpectedly" than simply "The cat pounced."

1. Adverbs of manner

Adverbs of manner are the most common adverbs, both in English and in Spanish. They help us to understand how, or in what manner, something is done. In Spanish, these adverbs follow the verbs they modify. For example:

Spanish
English
Se besan cariñosamente. They kiss each other lovingly.
El perro corre rápidamenteThe dog runs quickly.
Conduce mal. She drives badly.
Leo lentamente. I read slowly.
Mi novio me llama mucho. My boyfriend calls me a lot.

2. Adverbs of quantity: intensifiers & modifiers

Intensifiers and modifiers are used to essentially tweak the intensity of an adverb or adjective. This category includes Spanish adverbs like "muy" (very), "más" (more) and "poco" (little). These adverbs generally come before the words they modify. For example:

Spanish
English
Está muy feliz. He is very happy.
Es bastante guapo. He is quite handsome.
Es más inteligente. She is more intelligent.
Anda demasiado rápido. He walks too fast.

3. "Point of view" adverbs

The adverbs known as "point of view" adverbs can affect an entire sentence and, like the name says, indicate an opinion or point of view. These adverbs generall go at the beginning of a sentence, though this is not always the case. For example:

Spanish
English
Personalmente, prefiero ir al cine. Personally, I prefer to go to the movies.
Quizás quiera ir a cenar. Perhaps he wants to go out to dinner.
Evidentemente te quiere. She obviously loves you.

4. Adverbs of time

Just as adverbs of manner tell HOW something occurs, adverbs of time tell us WHEN. Often, but not always, this adverb goes after the verb it modifies. For example:

Spanish
English
Mañana iremos a la playa. Tomorrow we are going to the beach.
Te llamo más tarde. I will call you later.
Fuimos al cine ayer. We went to the movies yesterday.
Ya me lo dijo. He already told me.
No usa ordenadores nunca. She never uses computers.
Suelo cenar pronto. I tend to eat dinner early.

5. Adverbs of place

Adverbs of place, like the name says, provide us with information about WHERE an action takes place. Whether before or after the verb it modifies, it's important that adverbs of place be close in the sentence to the modified verb. These adverbs can be confusing, given that many adverbs of place can also be used as prepositions or pronouns. For example:

Spanish
English
Mi habitación está arriba. My room is upstairs.
Te veré allí. I will see you there.
Vive lejos de mí. He lives far from me.
Estoy enfrente de tu casa. I am in front of your house.
Está dentro de la caja. It's inside the box.