How and When to Use French Adverbs

Get the lowdown on French adverbs, with a list of the most popular

Base of the Eiffel Tower in the early evening.

Learn the types and placement of French adverbs with an in-depth look at how they're used.

10 Types of French Adverbs

  • adverbs of frequency
  • adverbs of manner (includes French adverb formation)
  • adverbs of place
  • adverbs of quantity
  • adverbs of time
  • comparative/superlative adverbs
  • exclamative adverbs
  • indefinite adverbs
  • interrogative adverbs
  • negative adverbs

French Adverb Placement

 Placement depends, to some extent, upon the type of adverb and the word that it is modifying. Here is a summary organized according to the type of adverb.

1. Short adverbs that modify a verb usually follow the conjugated verb. Remember that in compound tenses, the auxiliary verb is the conjugated verb, so the adverb follows that.

Nous mangeons bien.
Nous avons bien mangé.
Nous allons bien manger.
We eat well.
We ate well.
We will eat well.
Il fait souvent la cuisine.
Il a souvent fait la cuisine.
Il doit souvent faire la cuisine
He often cooks.
He often cooked.
He often has to cook.

2. Adverbs of frequency are usually placed after the verb. 

Exception: Parfois is normally placed at the beginning of the sentence

Je fais toujours mes devoirs.

I always do my homework.

Parfois, Luc ne fait pas ses devoirs Sometimes Luc doesn't do his homework.

3. Adverbs of time that refer to specific days can be placed at the beginning or end of the sentence

Aujourd'hui, je vais acheter une voiture. Today, I'm going to buy a car.
Elles arriveront demain. They'll arrive tomorrow.

4. Long adverbs are usually placed at the beginning or end of the sentence 

Généralement, nous mangeons avant 17h00. -> Normally, we eat before 5pm.

Je ne l'ai pas trouvé, malheureusement. -> I didn't find it, unfortunately

However, if the long adverb specifically modifies the verb, it is placed after the conjugated verb.

Il a immédiatement quitté Paris -> He left Paris immediately.

5. Adverbs of place are usually found after the direct object.

Il a mis ton sac à dos là-bas. He put your backpack over there.
J'ai trouvé le livre ici. I found the book here.

6. Adverbs that modify adjectives or other adverbs are placed in front of the word they modify.

Je suis très heureuse. I'm very happy.
Chantal fait assez souvent ses devoirs. Chantal does her homework fairly often.

7. In negative constructions, adverbs that would normally follow the verb are placed after pas.

Je mange bien. ==> Je ne mange pas bien. I eat well ==> I don't eat well.
Tu travailles trop. ==> Tu ne travailles pas trop. You work too much ==> You don't work too much.

10 Common French Adverbs

Here are 10 common French adverbs that will prove useful.

Assez (quite, fairly) 

  • Il est assez bon.
  • "He is quite good."

Toujours (always)

  • Vous regardez toujours ces émissions.
  • "You always watch these television shows."

Parfois (sometimes)

  • Je vais parfois à la bibliothèque.
  • "I sometimes go to the library."

Rarement (rarely)

  • Nous sortons rarement.
  • "We rarely go out."

Maintenant (now)

  • Elle mange maintenant.
  • "She is eating now."

Tard (late, later)

  • Tu arrives tard.
  • "You’re arriving late."

Très (very)

  • Le repas est très bon.
  • "The meal is very good."

Trop (too much)

  • Ils parlent trop.
  • "They speak too much."

Rapidement (quickly)

  • Elles lisent rapidement.
  • "They read quickly."

Lentement (slowly)

  • Répétez lentement, s’il vous plaît.
  • "Repeat slowly, please."
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Team, ThoughtCo. "How and When to Use French Adverbs." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Team, ThoughtCo. (2023, April 5). How and When to Use French Adverbs. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How and When to Use French Adverbs." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 3, 2023).