Tex's French Grammar
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adverbs: formation and placement
page: adv2
1. uses
  2. common adverbs
  3. formation of regular adverbs
  4. placement

joe-bob mange uses
In French as in English, an adverb describes the action of a verb. It answers such questions as 'where', 'when,' 'how,' 'how long,' or 'how often.' Adverbs are invariable and may be used with almost all verbs. For example:

Edouard cuisine bien.   Edouard cooks well.
Joe-Bob mange beaucoup.   Joe-Bob eats a lot.

An adverb may also qualify an adjective or another adverb. Consider the sentence: 'Edouard cuisine très bien' (Edouard cooks very well). Très qualifies bien and both describe the action of the verb 'cuisiner'.

common adverbs
Following is a list of frequently used adverbs, categorized by type:

manner   bien, well   mal, badly   vite, quickly
time   souvent, often   quelquefois, sometimes   toujours, always
    jamais, never   tôt, early   tard, late
    bientôt, soon   aujourd'hui, today   hier, yesterday
    maintenant, now   déjà, already   demain, tomorrow
place   dedans, inside   dehors, outside   ici, here
    , there   partout, everywhere   quelque part, somewhere
quantity or degree   beaucoup, a lot   très, very   trop, too much
    assez, enough   peu, little, not much   peut-être, maybe
sequence   d'abord, at first   puis, then, next   alors, then, so
    donc, thus   enfin, finally    

formation of regular adverbs
A large number of French adverbs are derived from adjectives.

They are usually formed by adding -ment to the feminine singular form of the adjective. Note the exception 'gentiment', which is derived from the adjective 'gentil' (nice).

lent(e), slow   lentement, slowly
doux (douce), soft   doucement, softly
heureux (heureuse), happy   heureusement, happily, fortunately
franc (franche), frank   franchement, frankly

However, -ment is added to the masculine singular form of adjectives that end with a vowel. Note the exception 'gaiement' which is derived from the adjective 'gai' (cheerful).

poli(e) polite   poliment, politely
absolu(e), absolute   absolument, absolutely
vrai(e), true, real   vraiment, truly, really
modéré(e), moderate   modérément, moderately

Add -emment to the stem of adjectives that end in -ent; add -amment to the stem of adjectives ending in -ant. The stem is what remains of the adjective when -ent or -ant have been removed. Note that the one-syllable adjective 'lent' does not form its adverb, 'lentement', on this model.

récent, recent   récemment, recently
fréquent, frequent   fréquemment, frequently
suffisant, sufficient   suffisamment, sufficiently
méchant, wicked, malicious   méchamment, wickedly, nastily

Note the addition of an acute accent to form the following adverbs:

précis(e), precise   précisément, precisely
profond(e), deep   profondément, deeply
énorme, huge, enormous   énormément, enormously

Use the following guidelines for placement of adverbs.

adverbs that modify an adjective or another adverb
Adverbs are placed directly before the adjective or adverb that they modify.

Edouard: J'habite le Texas depuis très longtemps, mais je trouve que le barbecue est vraiment dégueulasse!   Edouard: I've lived in Texas for a very long time, but I find that barbecue is truly disgusting!

adverbs that modify a verb
Adverbs are usually placed immediately after the conjugated verb. If the verb is negative, the adverb is placed after the negation.

edouard comprend mal
Edouard comprend mal les habitudes culinaires américaines.   Edouard understands poorly American culinary habits.
Edouard ne marche pas vite, parce qu'il sait déjà ce que les clients vont commander.   Edouard is not walking fast, because he already knows what the customers are going to order.
Edouard: Ils exigent toujours du ketchup, mais il n'y a pas de ketchup dans mon restaurant.   Edouard: They always demand ketchup, but there is no ketchup in my restaurant.

Note that most common adverbs are placed directly after the verb before the objects.

Joe-Bob: J'aime beaucoup le ketchup!   Joe-Bob: I like ketchup a lot!
Edouard: J'aime davantage le foie gras!   Edouard: I like foie gras even more!

adverbs that modify a whole sentence
If an adverb is a comment on the entire sentence (malheureusement, en plus), it may be placed at the beginning or end of the sentence. Adverbs of this type include adverbs of time and place. In the following dialogue, contrast the adverbs that modify the whole sentence to those that modify just the verb.

edouard viens avec nous!
Joe-Bob: Edouard, viens dîner avec nous ce soir!   Joe-Bob: Edouard, come out to eat with us this evening!
Edouard: Je n'aime pas dîner dans des restaurants américains parce que je trouve du ketchup partout.   Edouard: I don't like to eat in American restaurants because I find ketchup everywhere.
Vous allez sûrement au Salt Lick, et tu sais que je déteste le barbecue.   You're surely going to go to the Salt Lick and you know that I detest barbeque.
Joe-Bob: Malheureusement, on n'a pas assez d'argent pour aller dans un restaurant snob!   Joe-Bob: Unfortunately, we don't have enough money to go to a snobby restaurant!
Edouard refuse obstinément l'invitation de Joe-Bob: Tu m'invites souvent, mais toujours à l'américaine!   Obstinately, Edouard refuses Joe-Bob's invitation: You invite me out to eat often, but always in the American style.

See placement of adverbs with passé composé and the periphrastic future for further examples.


fill in the blanks
Adverb placement: Complete the answers to Tammy's questions using the adverb in parentheses.
1. Tammy : Tu comprends la poésie de Tex? Trey : Non, je/j' _____________. (mal)

2. Tammy : Tu aimes le chocolat? Tex : Oui, je/j' __________________.(énormément)

3. Tammy : Comment va Rita? Tex : Elle __________________. (très bien)

4. Tammy : Tu aimes le café? Tex : Oui, je/j'___________________. (beaucoup)

5. Tammy : Tu penses à Bette? Trey : Oui, je/j' _________________. (toujours)

6. Tammy : Bette est sexy? Trey : Ah oui, elle _________________.(extraordinairement)

7. Tammy : Tu aimes les noix? Joe-Bob : Oui, je/j'___________________.(beaucoup)

8. Tammy : Tu manges du chili? Joe-Bob : Oui, je/j'___________________.(souvent)

9. Tammy : Tu aimes Sartre? Tex : Oh oui, je/j'____________________. (vraiment)

10. Tammy : Tex connaît Trey? Tammy : Non, Tex ________________. (bien)

11. Tammy : Tex est génial! Bette : Oui, Tex _________________. (absolument)

12. Tammy : Tex porte un béret? Edouard : Oui, Tex __________________.(fréquemment)

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