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Spanish Adverbs of Manner

written by: djthyberg • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 8/2/2012

Spanish adverbs are used as modifiers for verbs and adjectives. This article lists a number of the most common adverbs of manner and adverbial locutions in the Spanish language. Additional sample sentences are included to clarify usage.

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    About Adverbs of Manner

    Adverbs of manner are essential for making descriptions and comparisons. It should be noted that adverbs in Spanish are invariable, that is, they do not show number or gender. Their function is to modify the meaning of verbs, the meaning of adjectives, and the meaning of other adverbs. Adverbs can be grouped into the following categories: Adverbs of Time, Place, Manner, Quantity, Affirmation, Negation, Doubt, Exclusion, Inclusion and Interrogation. Here is a list of Adverbs of Manner.

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    aun (even) ---*--- alto (aloud)

    aprisa (swiftly) ---*--- bajo (silently)

    mal (badly, poorly)---*--- bien (well)

    casi (almost) ---*--- claro (clearly)

    como (as, like, such as) ---*--- despacio (slowly)

    cual ( as, like, such as) ---*--- duro (hard)

    excepto (except) ---*--- así (like this/that)

    pronto (soon) ---*--- recio (strongly)

    rudo (brutally) ---*--- salvo (save, except)

    sereno (calmly) ---*--- tranquilo (calmly)

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    Adverbial Locutions

    a ciegas (blindly) ---*--- a cuestas (piggyback)

    a diestro y siniestro (tactlessly) ---*--- a hurtadillas (secretly)

    a tontas y a locas (disorderly) ---*--- a oscuras (in the dark)

    a toda velocidad (at full speed) ---*--- a sabiendas (knowingly)

    a la moda (fashionably) ---*--- al revés (backwards)

    de buena gana (willingly) ---*--- de buen grado (willingly)

    de golpe (suddenly) ---*--- de improviso (offhand)

    de mala gana (reluctantly) ---*--- de mal grado (unwillingly)

    de prisa (fast) ---*--- de pronto (suddenly)

    de repente (suddenly) ---*--- en balde (in vain)

    en resumen (in short) ---*--- en vano (in vain)

    por desgracia (unfortunately) ---*--- sobre todo (above all, especially)

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    Sample Sentences

    Logré a convenverlo, pero me ayudó de mala gana. (I managed to convince him, but he helped me reluctantly.)

    Casi ganaron el campionato. (They almost won the championship.)

    Había mucha confusión cuando de golpe llegaron los oficiales. (There was a lot of confusion, when the officers suddenly arrived.)

    Es necesario que entregues pronto el documento. (It's necessary that you hand the document in soon.)

    De repente se me ocurrió algo. (Something suddenly occurred to me.)

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    Additional Notes

    As you can see, there many adverbial locutions, or sayings that take adverbs, in the Spanish language. Many of these are somewhat metaphoric, and so it's important not to analyze them word by word, but as a whole instead. This is one of the challenges of grasping usage in another language.

    Of course, some of these expressions can border on slang. Take for example the locution "a toda velocidad" (at full speed). This is a direct translation and the phrase works in both English and Spanish. Yet, if we wanted to add a little flavor to the expression, we might say "a flecha veloz", which we could translate directly "arrow fast", or indirectly "like a bat out of hell". There is a lot of room to play and manipulate the language in the usage of adverbial locutions, and as you'll see over time, this is done "a cada rato" (often).