Share this entry

Share this page

Forming adverbs

Many adverbs are formed from adjectives and end in -ly. Here are some tips to help you form adverbs and spell them correctly:

  • The basic rule is that -ly is added to the end of the adjective:
adjective adverb
quick quickly
sudden suddenly
straightforward straightforwardly


  • If the adjective has two syllables and ends in -y, then you need to replace the final -y with -ily:
adjective adverb
happy happily
hungry hungrily
lazy lazily


  • If the adjective ends with a consonant followed by -le, replace the final -e with -y on its own:
adjective adverb
terrible terribly
comfortable comfortably
incredible incredibly


Adjectives that end in -ly, such as friendly or lively, can't be made into adverbs by adding -ly. You have to use a different form of words, e.g. ‘in a friendly way’ or ‘in a lively way’ instead.


Back to spelling.

You may also be interested in

Comparative and superlative adjectives

Spelling rules and tips

Common misspellings

Share this entry

Share this page

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Grammar and usage