French Adverbs ~ Les Adverbes

Introduction to French Adverbs

French restaurant
"Nous avons bien mangé." (We ate well.). PhotoAlto/Michele Constantini/Getty Images

An adverb, one of the eight parts of speech, is an invariable word that modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Adverbs provide information about the words they modify, such as when, where, how, how often, or to what degree something is done. See the list of some common French adverbs at the end of this lesson.

Word Order with Adverbs

In English, adverb placement can be arbitrary: some adverbs may be found in front of or after the verb, or even at the beginning or end of the sentence. This is not often the case in French, which has much stricter rules about placement. The following rules apply to the majority of situations, but there are exceptions. For detailed information, see my lesson on the placement of French adverbs.

1. When a French adverb modifies a verb, it is placed after the conjugated verb.

Nous avons bien mangé. We ate well.
Je regarde souvent la télé le soir. I often watch TV in the evening.
Often, I watch TV in the evening.
I watch TV in the evening often.

2. When an adverb modifies an adjective or another adverb, it is placed in front of the word it is modifying.

Je suis profondément ému. I am deeply moved.
Nous avons très bien mangé. We ate very well.

Common French Adverbs

Nearly every French word that ends in -ment is an adverb, and its English equivalent almost always ends in -ly: généralement - generally. For more information, please see adverbs of manner.

Here are some of the most common French adverbs:

French English Type of adverb
actuellement currently adverb of time
assez quite, fairly adverb of quantity
aujourd'hui today adverb of time
aussi as comparative adverb
beaucoup a lot adverb of quantity
bien well adverb of manner
bientôt soon adverb of time
déjà already adverb of time
demain tomorrow adverb of time
enfin finally adverb of time
ensuite next, then adverb of time
heureusement fortunately adverb of manner
hier yesterday adverb of time
ici here adverb of place
there adverb of place
là-bas over there adverb of place
longtemps for a long time adverb of time
maintenant now adverb of time
mal poorly adverb of manner
moins less comparative adverb
parfois sometimes adverb of frequency
partout everywhere adverb of place
peu few, little adverb of quantity
plus more, ___-er comparative adverb
quelque part somewhere adverb of place
rarement rarely adverb of frequency
souvent often adverb of frequency
tard late adverb of time
tôt early adverb of time
toujours always adverb of frequency
très very adverb of quantity
trop too much adverb of quantity
vite quickly adverb of manner