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Adverbs

Adverbs

An adverb is a helper to a verb, "I fear greatly," "that press works badly." Adverbs modify or help verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs just as adjectives modify nouns and pronouns. The use of adverbs presents some difficulties, mainly arising from the adverbial use of many other parts of speech and from the close relation between adverbs and adjectives.

It should never be forgotten that while adverbs never modify nouns or pronouns, adjectives never modify anything but nouns or pronouns. Remembrance of this simple fact will settle most questions as to the use of adverbs or adjectives. Careful observation and care in forming correct habits of expression will do the rest.

Do not multiply negatives. They cancel each other like the factors in an arithmetical problem. "He never did wrong" is correct in statement and clear in meaning. "He never did nothing wrong" does not add force, it reverses the meaning. The negatives have cancelled each other and you are saying "He did wrong." "He never did nothing wrong to nobody" leaves us with an odd negative and brings us back to the first statement, very badly expressed.