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An adverb is a part of speech that modifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a phrase, or a clause.[1] In English, many adverbs are derived from adjectives by the suffix -ly, as seen in the following examples:

  • quickly from quick
  • cheerily from cheery (note the orthographic change in the original adjective)

The suffix -ly, or the similar German, Dutch, Danish and Norwegian suffixes, derive from the Germanic word lich, meaning "body", "shape". "Quickly" could therefore be interpreted as meaning "with a quick body". By comparison, the Romance suffixes -mente, -ment, or -mense come from the Latin mente, which is the ablative case of mens, meaning "mind." That is, the adverb came from a construction that literally meant "with an [adjective] mind."


  1. What Is an Adverb?

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