Irregular adverbs

In most cases, to create an adverb we simply add –ly to the adjective:

Quick becomes quickly, slow becomes slowly, etc.

Some adverbs are irregular, however. Here’s a list of common irregular adverbs in English:

Irregular adverbs
Most adverbs are formed by adding -ly to an adjective (e.g. slow ⇒ slowly). Here is a list of irregular adverbs, i.e. adverbs which do not follow the normal rule.
Adjective Adverb
good well
fast fast
hard hard
late late
early early
daily daily
straight straight
wrong wrong, wrongly

Here are some example sentences:

  • He drives too fast.
    too fastly
  • He speaks good English. /  He speaks English well.
  • My mother always worked hard.
    always worked hardly

  • They arrived late for the party.
    arrived lately


  1. Anonymous - September 21, 2015, 3:12 pm Reply

    I found this very helpful
    Thank you

    • Anonymous - October 26, 2016, 8:54 pm Reply


  2. bahodir - September 25, 2015, 1:49 pm Reply

    useful for me

  3. Iloveengland - October 14, 2015, 10:40 pm Reply

    What about “lately”? I’ve seen that word many times…

    • Stuart Cook - October 15, 2015, 1:21 pm Reply

      Yes, lately is an adverb, but it doesn’t correspond to the adjective late; it means recently:

      I haven’t seen him lately.
      I haven’t seen him recently.

      • Anonymous - November 8, 2015, 6:44 pm Reply

        what is the adverb for sooner and later

        • Anonymous - August 24, 2016, 4:35 pm Reply

          “Sooner” is a comparative, therefore it does not have an adverb. However, “soon” is an adjective and aI would dare to say that its adverb is “promptly”

          • Margaret_Gloag - September 8, 2016, 5:54 pm Reply

            How about using shortly as an adverb for sooner? Or earlier, since sooner suggests the arrival will be earlier than expected? Promptly indicates the arrival will be at the exact time.

            • Drkha - August 28, 2018, 6:22 pm Reply

              Short is an adjective that is the opposite of ” long”. Shortly” is another word to say ” soon” though.

          • Anonymous - December 4, 2017, 7:24 am Reply

            Actually, “soon” is an adverb, not an adjective. “He’ll be home soon.” “Everyone will soon know the truth.” “It’s a pity you have to leave so soon.” In each case, “soon” is modifying the verb (“will be”, “will know”, “to leave”, respectively), not a noun. Take the first example: “He’ll be home soon.” “Soon” does not describe the home, nor does it describe the subject (“he”); rather, it describes the verb “will be”.

  4. John Morgan - December 10, 2015, 12:20 pm Reply

    Most adverbs are formed by adding -ly to an adjective (e.g. slow ⇒ slowly).
    BUT most adjectives ending in y change the y to i and add ly (e.g. easy ⇒ easily)
    Exceptions to this are when the y has the /ɑı/ sound, not the /Iː/ sound: shy ⇒ shyly, sly ⇒ slyly
    As Stuart Cook says, lately means recently.
    Also the adverb for hard is usually hard (e.g. He hit it hard)
    Hardly is used to mean unkindly or harshly – (e.g. He treated her hardly)
    but more usually to mean very scarce – (e.g. There’s hardly any sugar left)
    or almost not – (e.g I can hardly see it.)

  5. Mbali - February 7, 2016, 8:52 pm Reply

    Can you give me sentences with fast, hard, late working as adjective and adverb

    • Stuart Cook - February 8, 2016, 10:25 pm Reply

      He’s a hard worker. (adjective)
      He works hard. (adverb)
      He’s a fast driver. (adjective)
      He drives fast. (adverb)
      He was a late developer. (adjective)
      He arrived late. (adverb)

      • Anonymous - March 9, 2017, 11:25 am Reply

        what’s the adverb of fat, small, old , tall

        • Stuart Cook - March 14, 2017, 12:25 pm Reply

          Some adjectives cannot be made into adverbs, such as the ones you’ve listed.

          • Kayode - September 19, 2017, 10:01 am Reply

            What of:
            David is growing old? Is ‘old’ not answering the question how?

            • Stuart Cook - September 27, 2017, 8:52 am Reply

              No, it is saying what he is becoming, not describing how he is doing it. Compare:
              ‘He’s growing old. ‘(adjective)
              ‘He growing quickly.’ (adverb)

  6. Alexander Semochkin - March 27, 2017, 11:37 pm Reply

    There are adjectives ending in -ly, such as friendly, lonely. How do I form the adverbs or are they the same?

    • Milla - May 19, 2017, 11:35 am Reply

      some words ending in -ly are adjectives like the ones you mentioned in above and costly, cowardly, deadly, likely, lively, lonely, lovely, silly, ugly, unlikely. there are no adverb forms but we can use them like:
      she smiled in a friendly way.
      He gave a silly laugh.
      daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, early and leisurely are both adjectives and adverbs.

      • anon - December 13, 2017, 5:47 pm Reply

        I thought you could change -ly adjectives to -ily adverbs? For example happy becomes happily

        • Abeer - May 2, 2018, 6:23 pm Reply

          Yep like “happy” becomes “ happily “

    • mimi - January 15, 2018, 11:56 pm Reply

      great question.

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