French Language Tools

Back to INDEX



1. Most adverbs can be formed from basic adjectival forms. If the adjective ends in -e in the masculine form, simply add -ment; otherwise, add -ment to the feminine form of the adjective:

simple ---> simplement
lent ---> lente ---> lentement

Some adverbs are irregular:
A. Many adjectives ending in -ant or -ent take the adverb ending -amment or -emment:

courant ---> couramment
intelligent ---> intelligemment
brillant ---> brillamment

B. Other irregular forms are:

précis ---> précisément
bon ---> bien
mauvais ---> mal
meilleur ---> mieux
pire ---> pis
bref ---> brièvement
gentil ---> gentiment

2. Some adverbs, used in certain expressions, retain their adjectival form:

chanter faux (to sing off-key)
voler haut, bas (to fly high, low)
parler fort (to speak loudly)
travailler dur (to work hard)

3. Adverbs of time and place and quality are unrelated to adjectival forms:

hier (yesterday)
aujourd'hui (today)
tôt (soon)
tard (late)
ici (here)
là-bas (there)
moins (less)
plus (more)
aussi (as)
très (very)

Adverbs -- Placement

Adverbs generally follow the verb they modify. In compound tenses long adverbs often follow the past participle. Short adverbs and certain very common adverbs (probablement, peut-être, gentiment, etc.) generally go between the auxiliary and the participle:

Il écrit mal. (He writes poorly.)
Elle a bien prononcé ce mot. (She pronounced that word well.)
Nous allons probablement passer l'été en Corse. (We are probably going to spend the summer in Corsica.)
Joseph a travaillé diligemment. (Joseph worked diligently.)

Adverbs of time or place (see Adverbs -- Formation) generally go after the verb (or the past participle, if there is one). They also appear at the beginning or end of sentences:

Je l'ai vue hier. (I saw her yesterday.)
Aujourd'hui nous allons à la plage. (Today we're going to the beach.)
Elle s'est couchée très tôt. (She went to bed very early.)

Related topic:

Comparative / superlative

Back to INDEX