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Which definition do you use?

Here are two senses for adverb:



An adverb, narrowly defined, is a word belonging to a class of words which modify verbs for such categories as


  • time

  • manner

  • place, or

  • direction.


An adverb, broadly defined, is a word belonging to a class of words which modify any constituent class of words other than nouns, such as


  • verbs

  • adjectives

  • adverbs

  • phrases

  • clauses, or

  • sentences.
Comments  
Hi Milky

You've got a very good point. Personally I don't care too much about grammatical terms and try to use as few as possible. The problem is made worse by the fact that to speakers of different languages these terms sometimes mean different things. I have encountered grammatical terms in EF that made no sense to me at all.

For example, in many languages what is called the main verb in English is called the predicate. Of course the spelling and pronunciation are different from the English. For instance in my native language the main verb is predikaatti.

In answer to your question, I never though incredibly could be anything except an adverb in the following sentence:

He can run incredibly fast.

What do those who don't want to call it an adverb actually call it? The broad definition is what I like.

Cheers
CB
I think "incredibly" would be covered by the "manner category" in the narrower definition of an adverb.
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An adverb seems to me to be any member of the catch-all category of non-noun, non-verb, non-adjective, non-preposition, non-conjunction, non-pronoun.
Such items are so various in their functions that we should really have separate names for them all if we wish to be complete. I think that words and expressions like very, not so, too, and exceedingly should be called 'degree items', for example, even though they may or may not fit the traditional definitions of adverb.

Alternatively, let's not bother with grammatical terminology for the parts of speech. It leads to students trying to classify isolated words. Is love a noun or a verb? becomes a puzzle. To me it seems more important to understand the function of a word in context than to know a label for it.

CJ
MilkyI think "incredibly" would be covered by the "manner category" in the narrower definition of an adverb.
It certainly is. But can fast be considered a verb in the sentence? The narrow definition says an adverb is "a word belonging to a class of words which modify verbs..."

Cheers
CB
"To me it seems more important to understand the function of a word in context than to know a label for it."

CJ, I couldn't agree more.

Cheers
CB
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<To me it seems more important to understand the function of a word in context than to know a label for it.>

I agree, but in the world of Education...
Ah yes, I see what you mean now.