Forming Adverbs

Many adverbs are formed from adjectives and end in -ly.

Here are some tips to help you form adverbs and spell them correctly:

  1. The basic rule is that -ly is added to the end of the adjective.For example:
  • quick / quickly
  • sudden / suddenly
  • straightforward / straightforwardly
  1. If the adjective has two syllables and ends in -y, then you need to replace the final -y with -ily.For example:
  • happy / happily
  • hungry / hungrily
  • lazy / lazily
  1. If the adjective ends with a consonant followed by -le, replace the final -e with -y on its own.For example:
  • terrible / terribly
  • comfortable / comfortably
  • incredible / incredibly

Bonus tip: Adjectives that end in -ly, such as friendly or lively, can’t be made into adverbs by adding -ly. You have to use a different form of words, e.g. ‘in a friendly way’ or ‘in a lively way’ instead.

Adapted from: Oxford Dictionaries: Spelling Rules and Tips (

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