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Quantifying with adverbs

 

Techniques > Use of language > Parts of speech > Using adverbs > Quantifying with adverbs

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Method

Use frequency-indicating adverbs (never, seldom, occasionally, often, usually, always, etc.) to highlight how often something happens.

When people are taking extreme positions, for example saying that bad things always happen and that things will never be right, try to move them away from their black-and-white view, perhaps to an almost-extreme position (and then less extreme again).

You can also use comparatives and superlatives to show relative size.

Example

Person A: They never answer the phone.
Person B: Never?
Person A: Well, hardly ever, anyway.

John ran quickly. Jim ran quicker. Jane ran quickest.

Discussion

Adverbs may also show frequency, with a whole scale from which to choose (e.g. never, seldom, occasionally, often, usually, always). Using these for change often (!) means moving the other person away from an extreme position to show them that something is possible.

A particular form of adverb is used to highlight comparative difference between things. A common spelling is to add '-er' (comparative) and '-est' (superlative) to the base of the adverb (note: comparatives are usually adjectives (comparing nouns), but as this shows, they can also be adverbs).

See also

Quantifying with adjectives, Using Comparatives and Superlatives

 

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