Adverbs of time,frequency and place from BBC website

August 06, 2018 Nicolas C

Do you know how to use different types of French adverbs?

How to form adverbs

Adverbs are words that add meaning to the verb and describe actions. They usually tell you where, when or howsomething happened or how something is done.

Adverb endings

Most French adverbs end in -ment, like -ly in English, for example:

  • généralement - generally

To form an adverb, you need to add -ment to the feminine singular form of the adjective. For example:

  1. heureux (happy) changes to → feminine singular is heureuse (happy)
  2. then add -ment → heureusement (happily)

But when the masculine singular adjective ends in a vowel, simply add -ment straight onto the end:

  • joli → joliment
  • libre → librement

When the masculine adjective ends in -ent or -ant remove the -ent or-ant and add -emment or -amment:

  • récent → réc(ent) → réc + -emment = récemment - recently
  • constant → const(ant) → const + -amment = constamment- constantly

Exception:

  • lent → lentement slowly

Irregular adverbs:

  • bref → brièvement - briefly
  • gentil → gentiment - kindly/gently

Position of the adverb

Most of the time the adverb goes after the verb.

When using the past tense it usually goes between the auxiliary (the part of avoir or être) and the past participle unless it is a long one!

  • il va fréquemment dans les magasins - he goes frequently to the shops
  • elle a mangé lentement - she ate slowly
  • il a vite mangé - he ate quickly

Adverbs of time and place

Adverbs of time and frequency

Adverbs of time usually come after the verb. They don’t always follow the regular pattern for formation but useful expressions include:

French English
toujours always
souvent often
jamais never
quelquefois sometimes
tard late
aujourd’hui today
aussitôt immediately
d’habitude usually
bientôt soon
demain tomorrow
maintenant now
  • elle arrive toujours en retard - she always arrives late
  • nous travaillons quelquefois le dimanche - we sometimes work on Sundays
  • il joue souvent au foot - he often plays football

Adverbs of place

Useful adverbs like là-bas (over there), ici (here) and quelque part (somewhere) usually follow the verb:

  • le musée se trouve là-bas - the museum is over there
  • c’est ici ! - it’s here!
  • ton manteau est quelque part dans la maison – your coat is somewhere in the house

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