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Grammar - Using Adverbs in Spanish

This Spanish Medium Review quiz will help you take a look back at using adverbs in Spanish! Do you remember what an adverb is? You learned about adverbs in your English classes. An adverb is a word that modifies or changes the meaning of a verb, an adjective or another adverb. Adverbs are words that often end in the letters 'ly' and they tell us where, when, why, how or under what circumstances something happens or may have happened.

Let’s take a look at the following example sentence. John jumped. What does this sentence tell us? It only tells us the John jumped. Now let’s add an adverb to the sentence by saying: John jumped quickly. So, how did John jump? He jumped 'quickly'. We now know just how John jumped.

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Note that in English the adverb can come either before the verb or after the verb. For example, we could have easily said: John quickly jumped. This same practice occurs in Spanish as well, although you will mostly find the adverb appearing right after the verb.

SPANISH ADVERB ENDING

In English, again, an adverb as we already stated often ends with the letters 'ly'. However, in Spanish, an adverb generally ends with the letters 'mente'. This Spanish ending is added to the ending of the feminine word form. For example, let’s look at the word 'absolute'. In Spanish it is 'absoluto' in the masculine form and 'absoluta' in the feminine form. Now let’s make the word say 'absolutely' in Spanish. We take the feminine form 'absoluta' and add 'mente' so that we now have 'absolutamente'.

Adding the letters of 'mente' only works on regular adverbs. Spanish also has irregular adverbs but those will not be addressed until you get to the Spanish Difficult Review quiz series. For now, let’s just focus simply on some of the regular Spanish adverbs. You will probably be able to add more by just adding the correct 'mente' ending.

SPANISH ADVERBS

ENGLISH SPANISH
absolutely absolutamente
angrily airadamente
approximately aproximadamente
artificially artificialmente
briskly enérgicamente
carefully cuidadosamente
frankly francamente
frequently frecuentemente
happily felizmente
immediately inmediatamente
jealously celosamente
lately últimamente
naturally naturalmente
permanently permanentemente
quickly rápidamente
really realmente
recently recientemente
seldom raramente
softly suavemente
spiritually espiritualmente
steadily constantemente
swiftly rápidamente

Now for the quiz part. You will be given a list of ten sentences (some in English and some in Spanish). Each sentence has a blank space in it where an adverb needs to be put in. From the four answers given, find the answer that would best fit into the sentence. Pay close attention to the context of the sentence as more than one adverb may seem possible but only one will be a true fit.

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  1. Juan corre ____ por la calle.
    The sentence reads: John runs ____ down the street. So now we need to know how John ran. The first answer means naturally. That really doesn’t seem to fit the context of the sentence. The second answer means seldom. Again, that does not fit the context of the sentence. The third answer means lately. That, too, is not a good fit in the context. The last answer means quickly or swiftly and that does fit into the context of the sentence.
  2. Janet sonrió ____ a sus padres.
    The sentence reads: Janet smiled ____ at her parents. Now we need to know how Janet smiled. The first answer means artificially. That does not seem to be the right fit here. The second answer means jealously. Again, that is not a very good fit. The last answer means approximately. That, too, does not seem to be a good fit as far as the context of the sentence goes. The third answer means happily and that does fit the context.
  3. Mi hermano ____ cocina.
    The sentence reads: My brother ____ cooks. The first answer means carefully. That really does not fit into the context of this sentence. The third answer means spiritually. That, too, does not fit the context of this sentence. The last answer means frankly. Again, that does not fit the context of this sentence. The second answer means rarely and it does fit the context of the sentence.
  4. Jeff took the trash out ____.
    The first answer means immediately. The second answer means really. The third answer means absolutely and the last answer means lately. Which of these adverbs would best fit in the context of the sentence? Really doesn’t fit nor do absolutely or lately. However, immediately does fit in.
  5. Beth ____ looked beautiful.
    The first answer means angrily. The second answer means swiftly. The third answer means naturally and the last answer means recently. Which of these adverbs would fit into the context of this sentence the best? Angrily does not seem to fit. Swiftly and recently also are not a good fit. However, naturally is a perfect fit.
  6. Natalie ____ made the honor roll.
    The first answer means softly. The second answer means recently. The third answer means steadily and the last answer means approximately. Softly, steadily and approximately do not seem to fit the context of this sentence. However, recently does as Natalie recently made the honor roll.
  7. Helen ____ visita su abuela.
    The sentence reads: Helen ____ visits her grandmother. The second answer means artificially. That really does not fit into the context of this sentence. The third answer means softly. That, too, does not fit the context of this sentence. The last answer means permanently. Again, that does not fit the context of this sentence. The first answer means frequently and it does fit the context of the sentence.
  8. Él camina ____ en el frío.
    The sentence reads: He walks ____ in the cold. The first answer means spiritually. That does not fit into the context of this sentence. The second answer means really. That, too, does not fit the context of this sentence. The third answer means carefully. That also does not fit the context of this sentence. The last answer means briskly and it does fit the context of the sentence.
  9. Ricardo ____ gritó a la policía.
    The sentence reads: Richard ____ shouted at the police. The first answer means naturally. That really does not fit into the context of this sentence. The third answer means happily. It is not likely that anyone would shout happily at the police. The last answer means jealously. That definitely does not fit the context of this sentence. The second answer means angrily and it does fit the context of the sentence.
  10. Mr. Arnold was ____ five minutes late.
    The first answer means briskly. The second answer means lately. The third answer means approximately and the last answer means permanently. Briskly, lately and permanently do not seem to fit the context of this sentence. However, approximately does as Mr. Arnold was approximately five minutes late.

Author: Christine G. Broome

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