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Key Adverbs. Seriously!

He somewhat naively believed that a comparatively short period of study would suffice. However, he soon realised that he had to do much more. Mostly orally but specifically in the area of vocabulary building. This is primarily because study is essentially unavoidable if you want to achieve any degree of success in English.


Explain the difference between the sentences in each pair.
    1. Heinrich's experiments were mostly successful.
    2. Heinrich's experiments were most successful.
    1. The results were somewhat surprising given the circumstances.
    2. The results were especially surprising given the circumstances.
    1. First-year students are directly affected by the new rules relating to tuition fees.
    2. First-year students are particularly affected by the new rules relating to tuition fees.
    1. The study is primarily concerned with urban alienation.
    2. The study is ultimately concerned with urban alienation.
    1. The team eventually obtained unpredicted results
    2. The team frequently obtained unpredicted results


Choosc the more appropriate adverb from the options.
  1. What you are saying is essentially / merely __________ true.
  2. To put it (basically / simply), __________
  3. ... there is (specially / basically) __________ no significant difference between the two writers' theories.
  4. However, one of them writes in a (simply / precisely) __________ dreadful style while the other ....
  5. has (eventually / possibly) __________ a more impressive style than any other contemporary scientist.


Change the sentences using adverbs which mean the opposite of the underlined ones.
  1. There were roughly 350 people living in the village in 1958.
  2. Parents seldom complained that the school authorities failed to inform them of changes.
  3. We investigated the problem and initially found some small errors in the calculations.
  4. The temperature was exactly half a degree lower than the average.
  5. Singh (1998) is explicitly critical of existing theories of economic growth.
  6. Soil erosion is specifically caused by water or wind.
  7. Senior citizens almost always use the internet to communicate with one another.
  8. The disease is directly linked to environmental factors.


Marine conservationists are currently attempting to save the world's coral reefs. One plan is to literally glue the damaged reefs back together, using coral artificially raised in underwater labs. Reefs are increasingly under attack from human activity as well as from events occurring naturally, such as hurricanes and tsunamis. A recent UN report warns that 30% of the world's coral reefs have been completely destroyed or are severely damaged.
Leon's Note: Naturally is often used to mean. "Of course" or "That's normal and not surprising.
Scientists have recently discovered that ants can remember how many steps they have taken. By carefully shortening or lengthening the legs of ants, the team observed that short-legged ants apparently became lost and could not easily find their way home to the nest. Similarly, ants with longer legs typically travelled 50% further than they needed to and were also temporarily unable to find the nest. It seems ants can definitely count their steps.
Leon I found it quite funny when I once realised that for some people living inthe Southern States of America, the words "ant" and "aunt" are homophones. For me they sound completely different. For me "aunt" and "aren't" are homophones.
Ask Leon for pronunciation practice and training.


  1. Which adverb means "in the same way"? __________
  2. Find two pairs of adverbs that mean the opposite of each other.
  3. Which adverb means the opposite of "a long time ago"? __________
  4. Which adverb means "more and more"? __________
  5. Which adverb could be substituted by seriously? __________
  6. Which adverb means "for a limited time"? __________

6 Collocations

Leon's Note: Make notes of any adverb + verb collocations that you find. Eg: "Particulary affected by", "absolutely impossible" ....
Add three more ...
  1. _____
  2. _____
  3. ______


Find an article of interest to you. Post it to your blog here. Mark all the key adverbs. Check that you understand their meaning.
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