To have fun with Portuguese, it’s important to master adverbs (advérbios). But what are they? Simply put, adverbs are words which modify other words – verbs, adjectives, and sometimes even other adverbs – and add to their meaning or clarify the circumstances in which they’re being used.
When an adverb modifies a verb, it tells us how the verb is being carried out. Example:
O João canta bem. João sings well.
The adverb “bem/well” tells us that the manner in which João carries out the action (singing) is a good one.
When an adverb modifies an adjective, it modifies how, or to what degree, a certain adjective applies to its object.
A Maria é extremamente talentosa. Maria is extremely talented.
The adverb “extremamente/extremely” modifies the adjective “talentosa/bonita” to tell us that Maria is not only talented, but the degree to which she is talented is very high.
Just as with adjectives, when an adverb modifies another adverb, it modifies the degree to which the other adverb is used.
Não entendi nada, ela fala muito depressa. I didn’t understand anything, she talks very quickly.
The adverb “muito/very” is modifying the adverb “depressa/quickly”, so not only do we know how “she” talks (quickly), but also the degree to which “she” is quick (very).
There are also locuções adverbiais (adverbial phrases), which are simply adverbs made up of two or more words instead of one.
Não tarda vou-me embora. I’ll be going away in a bit.
In Portuguese, just as in English, there are many forms of adverbs and adverbial phrases to express many different circumstances: time, place, mode, quantity, intensity, affirmation, denial, doubt, and exclusivity.
Oh, and remember: adverbs are always invariable!