Characteristics of adverbs

Characteristics of adverbs

Chinese adverbs mainly modify and restrict verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. They express degree, scope, time, frequency, place, manner, situation, mood, cause, correlation, negation, etc. Adverbs have very different features from other words. Here are the characteristics of adverbs in Chinese.

Adverbs are usually placed between the subject and the predicate, but sometimes also can be placed at the beginning

很快地跑了。He ran away very rapidly.

我现在非常困。I’m very tired now.

He seemed suddenly aware of his own mistakes.

Suddenly, he seemed aware of his own mistakes.

Adverbs generally act as adverbials but some adverbs of degree such as 极, 很, etc. can also act as complements.

For example,

她现在痛苦得。She is very painful now.

同感他的演技简直I agree with you that his acting is simply marvelous.

Most of the adverbs can’t be used alone

Most of adverbs can’t be used alone, but such adverbs can be used alone in a special context such as 别, 不, 没, 没有, 不必, 本来, 的确, 当然, 赶紧, 赶快, 立刻, 马上,尽量, 未必, 也许, 一直, 一共, 至多, 至少, 难免, 自然, 有点儿, etc.


—去过没有?Have you ever been?

—他能通过明天的普通话测试吗?Can he pass the Putonghua test tomorrow?
未必。Not necessarily.

Some adverbs can modify nouns

There are not many adverbs that can modify nouns. Adverbs can modify nouns in the four following cases:

I. Adverbs like 光 , 净, etc can modify nouns of location to indicate that there are certain people or things in this location. 

广场上小孩。There are only children at the square.

那个商场里女鞋。There are only women shoes in that shopping mall.

II. Adverbs of time or adverbs of frequency can modify time nouns that act as predicates.

现在已经十点了。It’s already ten o’clock now.

明天星期五。Tomorrow is just Friday.

III. The adverb of degree 最 can modify nouns of direction

You can say 最前面, 最底下, 最上面, 最东边, 最西头, etc.


海南是中国南边的省。Hainan is the southernmost province of China.

VI. Scope adverbs and adverbs of frequency can modify numeral classifier phrases such as 才, 就, 好, 仅仅, 大约, 已经, 将近

将近三十位专家。About thirty experts.
大约十多万字。Approximately ten thousand words

Some adverbs can play a conjunctive role to connect two verbs, adjectives, phrases or clauses.

The more he walked, the more he felt tired.


See also:

Types of adverbs in Chinese

Characteristics of Chinese adjectives





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