Function of Adverbs
Adverbs are words or phrases which modify a verb or an adjective, giving information about place, time, manner, degree or frequency.
Check the two examples below to understand what this means:
He is really kind. Il est vraiment gentil.
We regularly go to the swimming-pool. Nous allons régulièrement à la piscine.
Here, really and regularly are adverbs. In the first example, the adverb modifies the adjective by giving information about the degree. In the second example, the adverb modifies the verb by giving information about frequency.
Note that adverbs are invariable. This means that their form does not change, no matter what they refer to.
In this article, we will focus on French adverbs ending in -ment
Formation of Adverbs ending in -ment
Just as many English adverbs end in -ly (clearly, gently), many French adverbs end in -ment.
To structure this type of adverbs in French, take the feminine singular form of an adjective and add -ment at the end.
See the table below for examples:
Il l'a clairement fait. He clearly did it.
Ils vont au restaurant quotidiennement. They go to the restaurant daily.
In most instances, adverbs can be structured from the feminine form of the adjective, but there are variations depending on the adjective. We will cover these below.
Adverbs in -ment derived from the masculine adjective form
When an adjective ends in -i, -é or -u, the adverb is structured using the masculine form of the adjective (instead of the feminine form seen above).
absolu becomes absolument
aisé becomes aisément
vrai becomes vraiment
Exception for gai, which becomes gaiement.