Forming Adverbs

An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. It often expresses how the subject performs an action. In French, many adverbs are formed by adding an ending to the masculine or feminine form of the related adjective. Other adverbs are totally distinct in nature and must be memorized.

Adverbs in French tend to have the same position in a sentence as they do in English.

Many English adverbs are generally recognized by their “‐ly” ending. The equivalent French ending is ‐ ment. Unlike the required agreement of French adjectives, adverbs in French do not agree with anything because they modify verbs, adjectives, or adverbs and not nouns or pronouns.

To form an adverb, following two rules:

  • Add ‐ ment to the masculine singular form of an adjective that ends with a vowel, as shown in the following table.

  • If the masculine singular form ends in a consonant, add ‐ ment to the feminine singular form of the adjective, as shown in the following table. Two exceptions include gentil (nice), which is gentille in its feminine adjective form and gentiment (nicely) as an adverb, and bref (brief), which is brève in its feminine adjective form and brièvement (briefly) as an adverb.

Exceptions to the rules for forming adverbs include the following:

  • For a few adjectives with a silent e ending, add é before ‐ ment, as shown in the following table.

 

  • Adjectives with ‐ant and ‐ent endings have adverbs ending in ‐amment and ‐emment, respectively. An exception is lent (slow), which becomes lentement (slowly) in its adverbial form. See the following table for examples.

 

  • Some adverbs have forms that are distinct from adjectives and must be memorized.

 

Some adverbs are not formed from adjectives, as follows:

  • alors (then)
  • après (afterward)
  • assez (enough)
  • aujourd'hui (today)
  • aussi (also, too)
  • beaucoup (much)
  • bientôt (soon)
  • comme (as)
  • dedans (inside)
  • dehors (outside)
  • déjà (already)
  • demain (tomorrow)
  • encore (still, yet, again)
  • enfin (finally, at last)
  • ensemble (together)
  • ensuite (then, afterward)
  • environ (about)
  • hier (yesterday)
  • ici (here)
  • (there)
  • loin (far)
  • longtemps (a long time)
  • maintenant (now)
  • même (even)
  • parfois (sometimes)
  • partout (everywhere)
  • peut‐être (perhaps, maybe)
  • plus (more)
  • près de (near)
  • presque (almost)
  • puis (then)
  • quelquefois (sometimes)
  • si (so)
  • souvent (often)
  • surtout (especially)
  • tard (late)
  • tôt (soon, early)
  • toujours (always, still)
  • tout (quite, entirely)
  • très (very)
  • trop (too much)
  • vite (quickly)