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:

  Type of adverb
actuellement  currentlyadverb of time
assezquite, fairlyadverb of quantity
aujourd'huitodayadverb of time
aussiascomparative adverb
beaucoup  a lotadverb of quantity
bienwelladverb of manner
bientôtsoonadverb of time
déjàalreadyadverb of time
demaintomorrowadverb of time
enfinfinallyadverb of time
ensuitenext, thenadverb of time
heureusementfortunatelyadverb of manner
hieryesterdayadverb of time
icihereadverb of place
thereadverb of place
là-basover thereadverb of place
longtempsfor a long timeadverb of time
maintenant  nowadverb of time
malpoorlyadverb of manner
moinslesscomparative adverb
parfoissometimesadverb of frequency
partouteverywhereadverb of place
peufew, littleadverb of quantity
plusmore, ___-ercomparative adverb
quelque part somewhereadverb of place
rarementrarelyadverb of frequency
souventoftenadverb of frequency
tardlateadverb of time
tôtearlyadverb of time
toujoursalwaysadverb of frequency
trèsveryadverb of quantity
troptoo muchadverb of quantity
vitequicklyadverb of manner

Quiz: French adverbs