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Creating Adverbs by Adding '-mente' to Adjectives

Spanish for Beginners

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camel and tank

El camello anda lentamente. (The camel is walking slowly.)

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Marcus Fichti; Creative Commons license.

As in English, Spanish adverbs are words that modify or describe a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. And, as in English, there are countless adverbs that can be created from adjectives, and there are a fairly small number of adverbs that don't follow that pattern.

In English, adverbs can be created from many adjectives simply by adding "-ly" at the end. In Spanish, it's almost as easy.

The basic rule is that the suffix -mente is added to the end of the feminine singular form of the adjective. Generally, the feminine singular form of the adjective is the same as the "regular" or masculine singular form unless the adjective ends in an o, in which case the -o is changed to an -a.

See the following examples:

Basic adjective: feliz (happy)
Singular feminine form: feliz
Adverb: felizmente (happily)

Basic adjective: fácil (easy)
Singular feminine form: fácil
Adverb: fácilmente (easily)

Basic adjective: alegre (joyful)
Singular feminine form: alegre
Adverb: alegremente (joyfully)

Basic adjective: nuevo (new)
Singular feminine form: nueva
Adverb: nuevamente (newly)

Basic adjective: rápido (rapid)
Singular feminine form: rápida
Adverb: rápidamente (rapidly)

Note, as in two of the examples above, that if an adjective has an accent mark, the corresponding adverb retains the accent mark, even though the spoken emphasis likely will be on the next-to-last syllable.

Adverbs in a series: When two or more adverbs are used in a series, the -mente suffix is dropped from all but the last adverb. Examples:

  • Habla lenta y claramente. She speaks slowly and clearly.
  • Anda cuidada, dolorosa y pacientemente. He walks carefully, painfully and patiently.
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