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Spanish grammar rules etc.



In Spanish, "mente" combines with (feminine) adjectives to form Spanish adverbs.

In English, "-ly" combines with many adjectives to form adverbs.









































Making Adverbs from Adjectives





As in English, Spanish adverbs are words that modify or describe a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. And, as in English, there are countless adverbs that can be created from adjectives, and there is a fairly small number of adverbs that don't follow that pattern.

In English, adverbs can be created from many adjectives simply by adding "-ly" at the end. In Spanish, it's almost as easy.

The basic rule is that the suffix -mente is added to the end of the feminine, singular form of the adjective. Generally, the feminine, singular form of the adjective is the same as the "regular" or masculine, singular form unless the adjective ends in an o, in which case the -o is changed to an -a.

See the following examples:

Basic adjective

Singular, feminine form


feliz (happy)


felizmente (happily)

fácil (easy)


fácilmente (easily)

alegre (joyful)


alegremente (joyfully)

nuevo (new)


nuevamente (newly)

rápido (rapid)


rápidamente (rapidly)

Note, as in two of the examples above, that if an adjective has an accent mark, the corresponding adverb retains the accent mark, even though the spoken emphasis likely will be on the next-to-last syllable.

A final note: When two adverbs are used in a series, the -mente suffixed is dropped from all but the last adverb.

  • Habla lenta y claramente. She speaks slowly and clearly.
  • Anda cuidada, dificultosa y pacientemente. He walks carefully, difficultly and patiently.













Adverbs Not Ending in -Mente

Spanish for Beginners



Although many Spanish adverbs are derived from adjectives, just as they are in English, many are not. So, although you can recognize many Spanish adverbs by their -mente ending, many others, including some of the most common ones, need to be learned separately.

Such adverbs include certain adverbs of place (ones that tell where the verb's action takes place), intensifiers and moderators (ones that tell how much, such as "very"), adverbs of time (ones that tell when) and adverbs of manner (ones that describe how).

Following are some of the most common adverbs that don't end in -mente, along with their approximate meanings and sample sentences. Note that many of the words on this list are frequently used as other parts of speech, especially adjectives, so you need to rely on the context to tell you if indeed the word is being used as an adverb.



Duerme ahí. He is sleeping there.



Come ahora. He's eating now.



Está algo cansada. She is somewhat tired.


over there

Duerme allí. He is sleeping over there.



Edison durmió aquí. Edison slept here.



Trabajaba ayer. He was working yesterday.


rather, sufficiently

Corre bastante mal. He runs rather badly.



Corres bien. You run well.



Come demasiado rápido. He eats too fast.



Anda despacio. He walks slowly.


badly, poorly

Corres mal. You run poorly.



Trabajaré mañana. I will work tomorrow.



No come. He isn't eating.



Nunca trabaja. She never works.


a lot

Habla mucho. He talks a lot.



Estaba muy cansada. She was very tired.


a little, "un-" or "in-"

Estudia poco. He studies a little. Este coche es poco económico. This car is uneconomical.


not at all

Estudia nada. He doesn't study at all.



Estudia siempre. She is always studying.



La vida es tan buena. Life is so good.


yet, now

Viene ya. He's coming now.

Here and There

Using Aquí, Allí and Ahí



Broadly speaking, in English something can happen in one of two places: here or there. But Spanish has three equivalent choices, making matters somewhat confusing for English speakers learning the language.

The three choices are aquí, roughly the equivalent of "here," allí, roughly the equivalent of "there" when speaking of an object or action that is close to the person being spoken to, and ahí, roughly the equivalent of "there" when speaking of an object that is distant from both the speaker and the person being spoken to. This distinction between allí and ahí isn't always clear-cut; the former is sometimes used to refer to something emotionally close rather than simply physically close to the listener, so ahí (which is less common than allí) can refer to emotional as well as physical distance).

Grammatically, all three of these words in Spanish (and the English equivalents as well) are known as adverbs of place.

Although allí and ahí can sound similar in regions where the ll sound is softened and they are often translated the same in English, you should be careful not to confuse them. Ask a native Spanish speaker, ¿Qué pasa allí? ("What's happening there?"), and the person will likely look in his or her vicinity. But ¿Qué pasa ahí? (which you might translate as "What's happening over there?") will have the person looking in the distance.

Here are some examples of these adverbs in use:

  • Necesitas aceptar las condiciones aquí descritas. You need to accept the conditions described here.
  • Vente aquí para comer. Come here and eat.
  • La gente aquí es muy pacífica. The people here are very peaceful.
  • Haz clic aquí. Click here.
  • ¿Hay alguien allí? Is someone there?
  • El hombre que nunca estuvo allí. "The Man Who Wasn't There" (title of movie)
  • Te puedes sentar allí. You can seat yourself there.
  • Ahí viene el heladero. There comes the ice cream man (in the distance).
  • Como siempre ahí. I always eat there.
  • ¿Qué hacen ahí mirando al cielo? What are they doing there looking at the sky?

You might notice that these adverbs roughly correspond to the demonstrative adjectives and pronouns:

Adverbs of location

Corresponding demonstratives


este (this), éste (this one)


ese (that), ése (that one)


aquel (that over there), aquél (that one over there)

As in English, these adverbs can occasionally be used as pronouns. A few examples:

  • Los dulces de aquí son muy caros. The candy from here is very expensive.
  • Desde ahí puede ver el lago. From there you can see the lake.
  • Aquí es donde nació Silvina. Here is where Silvina was born.

Regional variations: In some parts of Latin America, you may hear acá, allá and acullá used instead of (or in addition to) aquí, allí and ahí. You may also find some subtle variations in how these terms are used in different regions.

A final caution: Be careful not to confuse allí with the existential use of haber, such as using hay to mean "there is" or "there are." Although hay dos libros and dos libros están allí can both be translated as "there are two books," the two sentences in Spanish don't mean the same thing. Hay dos libros means "two books exist," while dos libros están allí means "two books are in that location." Read this lesson for more on this special use of haber.


Keep Adverbs Close to What They Modify

Grammar Tip

Placement of Adverbs


Adverbs can be placed before or after the word they modify, depending on how they are used.

An adverb that modifies a verb usually is placed afterward. (If it comes before the verb, it is usually to add emphasis.)


As a general rule, Spanish adverbs (and adverbial phrases) usually are placed near the word they modify. While in English it is common to considerably separate an adverb from the word it modifies, that usually isn't done in Spanish.

For example, note the following sentence: Aprobó facilmente el examen de geometría euclidiana. (She passed the Euclidian geometry test easily.) The adverb, facilmente, comes immediately after the verb, aprobó. It would not be placed at the end of the sentence as is common in English.

It is possible in Spanish to place the adverb after the object of a verb — but only if the object is made up of just a word or two. For example, one might say "el condado emitió dos licencias previamente ("the county issued two licenses previously") as well as "el condado ha emitido previamente dos licencias." But if many more words follow the verb, the adverb can't be tacked on afterward.


For example, "el condado emitió previamente dos licencias de matrimonio para parejas jovenes" (the county issued two marriage licenses for young couples previously) is acceptable, while placing previamente at the end of that sentence would not be typical of Spanish.

Adverbs can be placed before or after the word they modify, depending on how they are used:

An adverb that modifies a verb usually is placed afterward. (If it comes before the verb, it is usually to add emphasis.)

Examples: El líder rebelde declaró el sábado que suspenderá por un día o dos un planeado ataque. (The rebel leader declared Saturday he would suspend a planned attack for a day or two.) La economía se basa principalmente en tres empresas. (The economy is based principally on three businesses.)

In an exception to the above rule, no always precedes the verb it negates, and other adverbs of negation (such as nunca) frequently go before the verb they refer to.

Examples: No quiero ir al cine. (I don't want to go to the movies.) María nunca habla de su vida personal. (María never talks about her personal life.)

An adverb that modifies another adverb comes before the adverb being modified.

Examples: Comió muy lenta. (He ate very slowly.) Pueden moverse tan rápidamente como la luz. (They can move as quick as light.)

An adverb that modifies an adjective comes before the adjective.

Examples: Estoy muy contento. (I am very happy.) Fueron significamente diferentes. (They were significantly different.)

An adverb that modifies an entire sentence often comes at the beginning of the sentence but can go elsewhere.

Examples: Quizás tú y yo encontremos algo. (Perhaps you and I will find something.) Evidentemente, en este caso existen dos puntos de vistas. En este caso, evidentemente, existen dos puntos de vista. (Evidently, in this case there are two points of view.) Sharon posiblemente retrasará su viaje. Posiblemente, Sharon retrasará su viaje. Sharon retrasará posiblemente su viaje. (Possibly, Sharon will postpone her trip.)

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