Spanish Adverb Formation
Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. Consider the following examples.
She walked slowly.
("slowly" describes how she "walked")
Ella caminó lentamente.
He spoke faster than her.
("faster" describes how he "spoke")
El habló más rápido que ella.
In Spanish, most adverbs are formed by adding -mente to the singular feminine form of the adjective. Review the examples below. Notice that when the adjective has a written accent (tilde), the adverb it forms retains the accent. (Note: -mente corresponds to the English -ly.)
Spanish adverbs can also be formed by combining the preposition con + the singular form of the noun. Consider the following examples.
con + noun
Read and listen to the following examples of simple adverbs, then repeat each out loud.
He kissed me sweetly.
Me besó dulcemente.
He kissed me sweetly. (perceived meaning)
He kissed me with sweetness. (literal meaning)
Me besó con dulzura.
I easily finished the exam.
Hice el examen fácilmente.
I easily finished the exam. (perceived meaning)
I finished the exam with ease. (literal meaning)
Hice el examen con facilidad.
I ran quickly to escape the bear.
Corrí rápidamente para escapar del oso.
I ran quickly to escape the bear. (perceived meaning)
I ran with quickness to escape the bear. (literal meaning)
Corrí con rapidez para escapar del oso.
He writes powerfully to convince them of the truth.
El escribe poderosamente para convencerlos de la verdad.
He writes powerfully to convince them of the truth. (perceived meaning)
He writes with power to convince them of the truth. (literal meaning)
El escribe con poder para convencerlos de la verdad.
When more than one adverb in a sentence modifies the same verb, only the last adverb employs the -mente ending. The other adverbs will use the feminine singular form of the adjective. Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.
Juan climbs the mountain slowly and carefully.
Juan sube la montaña lenta y cuidadosamente.
The woman spoke to her clearly and courteously.
La mujer le habló claro y cortésmente.
The teacher wrote quickly and easily.
La maestra escribió rápido y fácilmente.