Types of Adverbs in Spanish Grammar

Introduction

Types of adverbs in Spanish grammar correspond to the type of information they provide. Spanish adverbs are divided into various categories such as adverbs of time, place, manner, quantity and many more.

Learn about types of adverbs in Spanish grammar with Lingolia’s overview. Learn the most common adverbs in each category then put your knowledge to the test in the exercises.

Example

Zeichnung

Ayer estuve en un concierto con unos amigos. Raúl y yo llegamos tarde, por eso los demás quisieron esperarnos dentro. Estaban ya bastante cerca del escenario. Pero allí se apretujaban los fans, así que Raúl y yo nos quedamos detrás.

Cuando comenzó el concierto, los fans empezaron a chillar tan fuerte que apenas se entendía una palabra. Pero el público del concierto era mayoritariamente chicas jóvenes que ya en la primera canción empezaron a desmayarse. Poco después pudimos llegar hasta donde estaban nuestros amigos.

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Adverbs of place (locative adverbs)

Adverbs of place express a locative relationship, which means they describe a location, place or address. They answer the question “Where?”, “Where to?” or “Where from?”.

Common adverbs of place in Spanish grammar include aquí, abajo, allá, allí, al lado, arriba, cerca, debajo, delante, dentro, derecha, detrás, encima, fuera, lejos.here, down, over there, there, next to, on top, near, under, in front, inside right, behind, on top, outside, far

Example:
Los barcos están muy lejos de la costa.The ships are very far from the coast.
Los juguetes están fuera del baúl.The toys are out of the toybox.

Adverbs of time (temporal adverbs)

Adverbs of time reference time, duration and frequency. They answer the questions “When?”, “How long?”, “How often?”, “By when?” and “Until/since when?”.

Common adverbs of time in Spanish grammar include ahora, actualmente, a menudo, antes, ayer, después, hoy, luego, mañana, nunca, pronto, tarde, siempre, ya.now, currently, often, before, yesterday, after, today, then, tomorrow, never, soon, late, always, already

Example:
Nunca voy a probar los insectos. I am never going to try insects.
Ayer fui a un cine de verano.Yesterday, I went to an open-air cinema.

Adverbs of amount/degree

Adverbs of amount or degree modify adjectives. They answer the questions “How much/How many?” and they can:

  • be indefinite: algo, bastante, demasiado, nada, poco, más, menos, suficiente, mucho;some, quite, too much, nothing, a little, more, less, enough, a lot
    Example:
    Las naranjas son bastante grandes.The oranges are quite big.
  • express degree sobremanera, bien, regular;greatly, really, average
    Example:
    La paella está bien rica.The paella is really delicious.
  • end in -mente: extremadamente, notablemente, solamente;extremely, notably, only
    Example:
    El sendero es extremadamente peligroso.The trail is very dangerous.
  • act as adverbs to express weighting or evaluation: a más no poder, al máximo, a mares, a todo pulmón.with all your strength, to the maximum, pouring (rain/tears), with all your might
    Example:
    Nos esforzamos al máximo.We will push ourselves to the maximum.

Adverbs of manner (modal adverbs)

Adverbs of manner answer the questions “How?” and "In which way?”.

Common adverbs of manner in Spanish grammar include: así, bien, deprisa, rápido, alto, bajo, despacio, difícilmente, estupendamente, fácilmente, especialmente, mal, mejor, peor, regular etc.like this, well, quickly, high, down, slowly, difficult, wonderfully, easily, especially, badly, better, worse, average... They can also be adverbial expressions: a gatas, a escondidas, punto por punto, etc.on your hands and knees, sneakily, point by point

Example:
Actuó inconscientemente.I acted unconsciously.
Se marcharon a gatas.They left on their hands and knees.

Interrogative adverbs

We can use the interrogative adverbs as question words: cuándo, dónde, adónde, cómo, por qué and cuánto.when, where, where to, how, why, how much

Example:
Me pregunto dónde vive.I wonder where he lives.
—¿Cuánto te gusta? —Muchísimo.How much do you like it? —Loads.

Adverbs of affirmation

We use adverbs of affirmation to strengthen (or sometimes soften) a statement. Some common adverbs of affirmation in Spanish grammar include: ciertamente, cierto, claro, efectivamente, exacto, obviamente, seguramente, sí, también, verdaderamente, etc.certainly, of course, effectively, exactly, obviously, probably, definitely, also, truly

Example:
Seguramente la comida está fría.The food is most probably cold.

Adverbs of negation

Adverbs of negation negate statements in negative sentences. Some common adverbs of negation in Spanish grammar include: en absoluto, jamás, negativamente, no, nunca, tampoco, etc.(not) at all, never, negatively, no/not, never, neither

Example:
Yo tampoco tengo dinero.

Adverbs of doubt

These adverbs cast doubt or uncertainty on an action. Some common adverbs of doubt in Spanish grammar include: a lo mejor, posiblemente, probablemente, puede, puede ser, quizá(s), seguramente, tal vez, etc.maybe, possibly, probably, can be, perhaps, probably, maybe

Example:
A lo mejor nos vemos mañana.We might see each other tomorrow.

Relative Adverbs

Together with relative pronouns, relative adverbs link relative clauses to main clauses. The table below shows the different relative adverbs in Spanish.

Relative of Example
Amount/Quantity cuanto Como cuanto quiere.As much as you want.
Place donde, adonde El bar donde nos conocimos ha cerrado.The bar where we met has closed.
El lugar adonde vamos es Patrimonio de la Humanidad.The place where we are going is a World Heritage Site.
Manner como Baila como sabes.Dance like you know how.
Time cuando La semana pasada, cuando volví de vacaciones, llovió sin parar.Last week, when I got back from vacation, it rained non stop.
  • Cuanto

As a relative adverb, cuanto is equivalent to todo lo que. It is never written with an accent to distinguish it from the interrogative form cuánto. We use the relative adverb cuanto in formal contexts. When cuanto agrees with gender or number it is a relative pronoun.

Example:
Le contó a la policía cuanto recordaba. (Le contó a la policía todo lo que recordaba.)I told the police everything I could remember.
  • Donde

As a relative adverb, donde introduces relative clauses that give information about a place. We use adonde or a donde to talk about direction. Donde can be used with prepositions and it is never written with an accent to distinguish from the interrogative form dónde.

Example:
El bar donde nos conocimos ha cerrado.The bar where we met has closed.
El lugar adonde vamos es Patrimonio de la Humanidad.The place where we are going is a World Heritage Site.
El pueblo por donde pasa el río es muy turístico.The town where the river passes through is very touristy.
  • Como

As a relative adverb, como introduces relative clauses that express information about the way or the manner in which something is done. We never write como with an accent to distinguish from the interrogative form cómo.

Example:
Baila como sabes.Dance like you know how.
  • Cuando

As a relative adverb, cuando introduces relative clauses that refer to time. We never write it with an accent to distinguish from the interrogative form cuándo.

Example:
La semana pasada, cuando volví de vacaciones, llovió sin parar.Last week, when I got back from vacation, it rained non stop.

Remember

In addition to regular adverbs, there are also lots of adverbial expressions in Spanish. These are combinations of words that when used together have the same function as adverbs.

Example:
a veces, de nuevo, en absoluto, por suerte, tal vez ...sometimes, again, at all, luckily, perhaps