Adverb Formation in Spanish Grammar

Introduction

The formation of adverbs from adjectives in Spanish grammar is done by adding the ending -mente. Some adverbs have the same form as masculine singular adjectives.

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Example

Carmen estaba sentada plácidamente en una silla y comía tranquilamente un helado. Acababa de empezar a comérselo hacía solo dos minutos y pensaba que su helado estaba realmente bueno. Estaba saboreando verdaderamente el helado.

Por eso Carmen no vio la araña que descendía lentamente detrás de ella colgando de un hilo. Al verla, se asustó enormemente y reaccionó precipitadamente. Pero enseguida Carmen vio que la araña se portaba bien y que ciertamente no le iba a hacer ningún daño. Decidió entonces actuar amablemente y no cazar la araña. Finalmente, Carmen continuó comiéndose el helado y la araña descendió a lo largo del hilo.

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How to form adverbs in Spanish grammar

The guidelines below show how to change an adjective into an adverb in Spanish grammar:

  • We take the feminine form of the adjective and add the ending -mente.
    Example:
    Carmen comía tranquilamente un helado. Carmen calmly ate an ice-cream.

    tranquilo, tranquila → tranquilamentecalm – calmly

  • If the adjective ends in e or a consonant, we simply add the ending -mente.
    Example:
    Finalmente, Carmen continuó comiéndose el helado.Finally Carmen continued eating the ice-cream.
    final → finalmentefinal – finally
  • When a sentence contains consecutive adverbs, we only add the ending -mente to the last adverb. The adverbs before take the feminine form of the adjective.
    Example:
    La araña descendió lenta y silenciosamente.The spider descended slowly and silently.
    lento, lenta → lenta(mente), silencioso → silenciosamenteslow – slowly, silent – silently
  • If the original adjective contains an accent, this is also present in the adverb.
    Example:
    Carmen estaba sentada plácidamente en una silla.Carmen was sitting placidly on a chair.
    plácido, plácida → plácidamente
  • Some adverbs take the masculine singular form of the adjective. Common examples include bajo, alto, claro, duro, estupendo, fatal, lento, rápido, etc.quietly, loud, surely, hard, wonderfully, terribly, slowly, quickly Like other adverbs they modify the verb in the sentence, meaning that they do not agree with the gender of the noun.
    Example:
    Los deportistas han jugado duro.The (male) athletes played hard.
    Las deportistas han jugado duro.The (female) athletes played hard.
  • Often, these adverbs can also be used with the ending -mente.
    Example:
    Los deportistas han jugado duramente.
  • Some adverbs that end in -mente can be changed into adverbial phrases with the following formulas: con/en/por + noun, and de manera/de modo + adjective.
    Example:
    Carmen decidió entonces actuar amablemente. → Carmen decidió actuar con amabilidad.Carmen decided to act friendly. → Carmen decided to act with friendliness.
    amable → amablemente, con amabilidad, de manera amable, de forma amable

Exceptions

Some adjectives have completely different adverbial forms:

masculine adjective feminine adjective adverb
bueno buenagood bienwell
malo malabad malbadly