“Very,” “Really,” and 15 Other Commonly Confused Adverbs
  • 4-minute read
  • 2nd July 2023

“Very,” “Really,” and 15 Other Commonly Confused Adverbs

Find adverbs confusing? You wouldn’t be alone if you do. Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. In today’s post, we’ll look at some of the commonly confused adverbs and how to use them.

List of Commonly Confused Adverbs


As an adverb, “very” adds an extra level of intensity to the adjective or other adverb it’s modifying. It means to a great degree:

The summer went very fast.


Similar to “very,” the adverb “really” emphasizes a verb, adjective, or adverb. It means thoroughly or in actual fact:

Sally really loves ice cream.


The adverb “always” modifies verbs, adverbs, and adjectives by indicating frequency. While its literal meaning is at all times, it’s also used to mean on every occasion, regularly, or often:

My sister is always late.


“Quickly” is an adverb because it explains the speed at which something happens. It means fast or after a short time and can be used in a sentence like this:

We walked quickly to the bus stop.


“Too” is an adverb because it modifies other words by indicating that something is more than or less than necessary. It’s usually used to modify adjectives and adverbs:

This soup is too salty.


“Fast” can be an adverb and an adjective. As an adverb, it modifies verbs by describing something being done or happening quickly. For example:

Sofia will win because she runs fast.


You may think of “round” as an adjective describing a circular shape, but it can also be an adverb. As an adverb, it describes the way something is situated in relation to something else. It means on all sides, toward the opposite direction, or from one point to another. For example:

I made my way round the room.


Although “slow” is usually an adjective (with “slowly” being a more common adverb), “slow” can be an adverb when placed after the verb it’s modifying. It means moving or operating at a low speed:

My computer is running slow.


“Today” can be used as an adverb when it modifies a verb to indicate when something is happening. If “today” is the subject of the sentence, then it’s acting as a noun or adjective. “Today” means this present day:

Make sure you spend some time studying today.


Likewise, “yesterday” is an adverb that indicates the timing of an event. It means the day before today:

Lilly did her chores yesterday.


“By” works as an adverb by modifying a verb to indicate the direction an action is moving in. It means past, as in moving past:

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I avoided walking by the candy section so I wouldn’t be tempted.


Similar to “by,” we can use “in” as an adverb when it modifies a verb or adjective to indicate spatial movement. It means to or toward the inside:

We’re getting in the car now.


“Into” is another adverb that modifies the verb to show motion or direction. Its meaning is the same as “in,” indicating that something is moving toward the direction of being inside:

Place the ice cream into the freezer.


“Never” is an adverb that modifies verbs, adjectives, and adverbs by indicating that something won’t happen. It means at no time in the past or future:

I vowed to never skip school again.


The adverb “not” modifies verbs, adjectives, and adverbs by giving them a negative meaning. It expresses negation, denial, or a lack of something:

We did not go to the fair today.


“Often” modifies other words by indicating that something happens frequently. It means many times on different occasions:

That cat comes into our yard often.


The word “on” has many uses in English. As an adverb, it modifies verbs in a few different ways, including:

To cover something:

Put a coat on.

To indicate that something is beginning to operate:

Turn the lights on.

To mean continuous action:

We can’t go on like this.

To indicate spatial movement or placement:

She hesitated before getting on the bus.

Conclusion: Commonly Confused Adverbs

We hope this post helps you with your adverb usage. If you’d like an expert to check your work for grammar, word choice, spelling, punctuation, and more, be sure to send it our way! We’ll even proofread the first 500 words for free.

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