Confusing adverbs

Confusable Adverbs

by | Aug 10, 2019 | Grammar

A podcast on how to tell the difference between adverbs ending in “-ly” and irregular adverbs.

Don’t confuse: “Adverbs with & without -ly”


You supposedly know that in English the suffix “-ly” is the sign of “ADVERB”; in other words, to make an “adverb”, you can simply add “-ly” to an adjective. That’s how you make REGULAR ADVERBS.




Quick > Quickly

Loud > Loudly

Bad > Badly

Clumsy > Clumsily

Beautiful > Beautifully


Well, although in most cases that’s how we make the adverbs, that is not always true because for some words, we may have IRREGULAR ADVERBS which mostly look like the adjective form and usually don’t end in “-ly”:


Listen to these EXAMPLES:


  • We try hard to keep our customers happy.
  • Don’t drive so fast; there’s ice on the road.
  • The plane flew low over the fields.
  • Before you open it, shake the bottle well.
  • I stayed late at work last night.
  • Jane was walking straight towards us.



  1. Don’t confuse “Hard” with “Hardly”. It is true that both are adverbs, but “Hardly” is not the adverb for “Hard”.  “Hardly” means “almost not”, “scarcely”, “not very often”.

e.g.  I hardly ever brush my teeth.

e.g.  My grandpa is way too old and he hardly remembers his family.


B) Don’t confuse “Late” with “Lately”. It is true that both are adverbs, but “Lately” is not the adverb for “Late”.  “Lately” means “recently”.

e.g.  We haven’t met lately.

e.g.   What has he been up to lately?


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Confusing adverbs

About the Author

About the Author

CEO and Co-founder of Juice Academy

Mehdi Safavi is a Cambridge certified English teacher (CELTA Grade A), IDP-trained IELTS expert, Sussex Downs College TESOL and British Council staff member with 17+ years of teaching & teacher training experience. More about him →


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