Using adverbs in English

- When to use much

The word "much" is used if the noun is uncountable. As a reminder, uncountable nouns cannot be counted with numbers. They include abstract ideas and objects that are difficult to count (gases, liquids, small and numerous objects). In most cases, they do not have a plural form.

water rice research salt
sugar water love evidence
beauty anger coffee oil
I don’t have much sugar.
There is so much beauty in the world.
There isn’t much coffee left.

*Each language differs on what nouns are considered countable and uncountable. Refer to countable vs uncountable nouns for more information.

- When to use many

"Many" is used with countable nouns — nouns that have a plural form such as dollars, bananas, and houses.

I have so many bananas.
She doesn’t have many dresses.
My father has many friends.

To show an equality between two items in a comparative phrase we can use one of four sentence structures: "as," "nearly," "quite as," and "just as." These create a positive sentence structure; however, each one means something slightly different.

Jonathan is as funny as Tom

This sentence plainly states that Tom and Jonathan are both equally funny.

Jonathan is nearly as funny as Tom

In this phrase, Jonathan is almost as funny as Tom. This indicates a slight difference between the two.

Jonathan is just as funny as Tom
Jonathan is quite as funny as Tom

Here, the "just" and "quite" emphasize that the two items are the same. For example, this would be used if the interlocutor doesn’t believe that two are equal.

There are three possible positions for adverbs within a sentence: the initial position, the mid position, and the end position.

The initial position is before the subject of the sentence. You’ll most likely see linking adverbs (e.g.: however, although, moreover), time adverbs (e.g.: today, then, again), and viewpoint adverbs (e.g.: luckily, officially, thankfully) in this position.

Today, Jeremy ate his lunch outside.
Luckily, I caught the bus this morning.
I invited Tom. However, he couldn’t come.

The mid position favors indefinite frequency adverbs (e.g.: always, never, often), location adverbs (e.g.: high, low, ahead), and adverbs of degree (e.g.: probably, clearly, almost). The mid position is after the first auxiliary verb.

The Red Cross has always been helpful.
I haven’t quite finished my homework.
He’s obviously going to be late.

The end position is where you’ll find definite frequency adverbs (e.g.: last week, every year) and adjectives of manner (e.g.: easily, quickly, well). They will be placed at the very end of a sentence.

I go horseback riding every year.
She drove fast.
I write carefully.

- Adverbs add description to the sentence by modifying a verb. In some cases adverbs can also modify adjectives, and even other adverbs.

Carrie sang loudly.
The cat ran quickly.

- The examples above show adverbs modifying verbs (to sing and to run). They can also modify adjectives and other adverbs.

The movie was quite interesting. (The adverb quite is modifying the adjective interesting)
She swims very fast. (The adverb very is modifying the adverb fast)

- An adverb answers the question "how?". This is a helpful tip for those first learning to use or write with adverbs.

How did Carrie sing? She sang loudly.
How did the cat run? The cat ran quickly.
How fast does she swim? She swims very fast.