20 English adverbs of manner

Adverbs are words that describe verbs or adjectives, and adverbs of manner tell us how or in what way an action was done. Here are some examples of adverbs of manner:

  1. He quickly drank the water.
  2. I laughed nervously.
  3. She read the letter carefully.

Where should we put an adverb of manner in the sentence?

Adverbs of manner are typically located:

  1. Immediately before the main verb
    He quickly drank the water.
  2. Immediately after the main verb
    I laughed nervously.
  3. If the main verb has an object, then put the adverb of manner either after the object or before the main verb
    She read the letter carefully.
    She carefully read the letter.
    She read carefully the letter.

Adverbs of manner can help make your sentences more interesting, because they add more detail to the situation. Here are 20 interesting adverbs of manner, along with example sentences for each. Try to create your own example, too!


The adverb “anxiously” can mean in a worried/nervous way or in an impatient way, wanting something to happen.

  • The mother watched anxiously as her child crossed the street alone.
    = in a worried way
  • Everyone’s waiting anxiously for the concert tickets to go on sale.
    = impatiently; waiting for something to happen


The adverb “awkwardly” means in a way that is NOT graceful or elegant. This can refer to physical movements that are not elegant, or to social behavior that is not elegant.

  • She apologized awkwardly after she realized she’d made an offensive comment.
    = social behavior that is not done in an elegant way
  • The four of us awkwardly lifted the sofa onto the moving truck.
    = physical movement that is not done in a comfortable/elegant way


If you do something “calmly,” it means you do it in a way that is relaxed and not agitated. If you are calm, then your emotions/actions are at peace.

  • He calmly explained his point of view.
  • The cat walked calmly along the fence.


The adverb “cautiously” means to do something carefully, in a reserved way, to avoid danger or something bad happening.

  • The rock climber cautiously adjusted his safety equipment.
  • It’s best to drive cautiously when the roads are icy.


If you do something “deliberately,” it means you do it intentionally, on purpose – it was not an accident.

  • The police think the fire was started deliberately.
  • You deliberately ignored me when I asked you for help!


If you do something “eagerly,” it means you are excited about it; you do it with a lot of energy because you want something to happen.

  • The kids eagerly tore the wrapping paper off their Christmas presents.
  • eagerly accepted the job offer.


The adverb “faithfully” means that something is reliable; you can trust it and depend on it.

  • She has worked for this company faithfully for ten years.
  • This church has faithfully maintained its traditions.


The adverb “foolishly” describes an action that was stupid; it was not a good idea and the person didn’t think about the consequences before doing the action.

  • They foolishly spent all the money they inherited and didn’t save any for the future.
  • foolishly committed to the project without knowing whether or not I’d have time for it.


If you do something “frantically,” it means you take a lot of quick action because you are very nervous or in a rush.

  • frantically took notes as the professor explained what would be on the test.
  • The parents were searching frantically for their child who was lost in the park.


If you do something “gently,” it means you do it with soft, delicate, careful movements so as not to hurt or damage something. Or it can also mean you do it with kindness so as not to hurt someone’s feelings.

  • She gently patted the baby on the back.
  • The boss gently explained that I needed to do better work.


The adverb “hastily” is another way to say “quickly / fast.” It’s also possible for “hastily” to have the connotation of being too fast, without taking the time to do things properly.

  • hastily packed my suitcase because I was already late for my flight.
  • The ambulance arrived hastily at the scene of the accident.


If you look at someone or say something “irritably,” it means you are demonstrating your annoyance or slight anger in your eyes or tone of voice.

  • He watched irritably as the mechanic fixed his car for the third time this month.
  • “You always forget my birthday,” she said irritably.


The adverb “painfully” means that something causes pain (it makes part of your body hurt physically) or causes an unpleasant or uncomfortable feeling.

  • painfully stretched my legs after sitting in the same position for an eight-hour flight.
    = this action caused my legs to hurt
  • It’s painfully obvious that he’s not qualified for the job.
    = this observation makes us feel uncomfortable


The adverb “poorly” DOESN’T mean not having money. Instead, it means “badly.”

  • I was poorly prepared for the interview, and I couldn’t answer any of the questions.
  • Many of the students did poorly on the final exam.
  • He got a stomach virus and has been feeling poorly all week.


The adverb “promptly” means “without delay,” or “on time.”

  • The meeting will start promptly at 2:00.
  • She lay down and promptly fell asleep.


If you do something “recklessly,” it means you are NOT careful; you do things that might have a bad result in the future.

  • My sister spends money recklessly and now she’s in a lot of debt.
  • If we continue to use natural resources recklessly, we’ll destroy the planet.


If you do something “reluctantly,” it means you don’t really want to do it.

  • He reluctantly admitted that he was wrong.
  • My son reluctantly shared his toys with his classmates.


If something happens “repeatedly,” it means it happens again and again, many times.

  • You were expelled from school because you repeatedly broke the rules.
  • I’ve contacted the company repeatedly, but I haven’t gotten a reply.


If something goes “smoothly,” it means it happens without difficulties or problems.

  • The negotiations went smoothly and it was easy to reach an agreement.
  • Moving to a new house never goes smoothly; there’s always some last-minute problem.


The adverb “wildly” can mean “in an uncontrolled way,” or it can mean “extremely.”

  • She waved her hands wildly to attract the attention of a police officer.
  • That joke you made was wildly inappropriate for a professional context.

Learn more: 30 advanced adverbs

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