The full guide to French adverbs

In contrast to adjectives which modify nouns, adverbs can be used to modify verbs, adjectives, and even other adverbs.

An overview of French adverbs

In French, adverbs can be categorized into five primary types: adverbs of manner, frequency, degree, time, and place.

French adverb placement

Although the placement of French adverbs is similar to that of English adverbs, there are some differences. For example, in the English sentence “he often wins”, the adverb is placed in front of the verb. In contrast, in the corresponding French sentence, the adverb is placed after the verb: “il gagne souvent”.

The formation of French adverbs

Much like the English language uses the suffix “-ly” to create adverbs from adjectives, French uses the suffix “-ment” for the same purpose.

This pattern has two sets of exceptions: adjectives ending in “-ent” and in “-ant”.

The general case: The formation of adverbs from adjectives that neither end in “-ent” nor in “-ant”

When forming adverbs from these adjectives, in most cases it is the feminine form of the adjective which is used.

An acute accent is added to the ‘e’ in some cases, in order to facilitate the pronunciation. For example:

French adverb formation
précisément (precise) précise + -ment
énormément (enormously) énorme + -ment
profondément (deeply) profonde + -ment
conformément (accordingly) conforme + -ment
intensément (intensely) intense + -ment
communément (commonly) commune + -ment

Here is a list of the most common French adverbs which are formed simply by adding the suffix -ment to an adjective.

In most cases, the feminine form of the adjective is used. In the table, we have sometimes indicated the masculine form of the adjective even in cases when the feminine form is used to create the adverb.

French adverb formation
éventuellement (possibly) éventuel + -ment
entièrement (entirely) entier + -ment
seulement (only) seule + -ment
actuellement (currently) actuelle + -ment
également (also / equally) égal + -ment
simplement (simply) simple + -ment
vraiment (truly) vrai + -ment
nécessairement (necessarily) nécessaire + -ment
facilement (easily) facile + -ment
probablement (probably) probable + -ment
lentement (slowly) lente + -ment
parfaitement (perfectly) parfait + -ment
absolument (absolutely) absolu + -ment
doucement (softly) douce + -ment
rapidement (speedily) rapide + -ment
exactement (exactly) exact + -ment
complètement (completely) complet + -ment
immédiatement (immediately) immédiate + -ment
clairement (clearly) clair + -ment
rarement (rarely) rare + -ment
malheureusement (unfortunately) malheureux + -ment
particulièrement (particularly) particulier + -ment
totalement (totally) totale + -ment
généralement (generally) générale + -ment
heureusement (luckily) heureux + -ment
autrement (otherwise) autre + -ment

Exception 1: forming adverbs from adjectives ending in “-ent”

French adverbs which are formed from adjectives ending in “-ent” replace that ending with “-emment”. Here are some examples:

French adverb formation
évidemment (evidently) évident + -emment
récemment (recently) récent + -emment
apparemment (apparently) apparent + -emment
impatiemment (impatiently) impatient + -emment
différemment (differently) différent + -emment
précédemment (before now) précédent + -emment
prudemment (carefully) prudent + -emment
fréquemment (often) fréquent + -emment
violemment (violently) violent + -emment
pertinemment (pertinently) pertinent + -emment
décemment (decently) décent + -emment
consciemment (consciously) conscient + -emment

An exception to this pattern is the adverb “lentement” (lente + ment).

Exception 2: forming adverbs from adjectives ending in “-ant”

French adverbs which are formed from adjectives ending in "-ant" replace that ending with “-amment”. Here are some examples:

French adverb formation
suffisamment (sufficiently) suffisant + -amment
couramment (fluently or commonly) courant + -amment
indépendamment (independently) indépendant + -amment
abondamment (abundantly) abondant + -amment
constamment (constantly) constant + -amment
brillamment (brilliantly) brillant + -amment
étonnamment (surprisingly ) étonnant + -amment
bruyamment (noisily) bruyant + -amment
incessamment (unceasingly) incessant + -amment

French adverbs which do not end in -ment

In French, there are also many adverbs that are not derived from adjectives. Here are some examples of these:

Adverb Meaning
bien well
jamais never
ainsi thus, so
bientôt soon, shortly
vite quickly, fast
avant before
peu little, few
désormais from now on
loin far
beaucoup very much
dehors outside
mieux better
assez enough, somewhat
néanmoins nevertheless, nonetheless
trop too much
maintenant now
toujours always
alors then, hence, so
ici here
tard late
ailleurs elsewhere
déjà already
tôt early
dorénavant from now on
encore still, yet, again
environ about
enfin finally, at last
presque almost
très very
longtemps for a long time
demain tomorrow
ensemble together
souvent often
derrière behind
cependant however
lors during
surtout especially
parfois sometimes
juste only, precisely
partout everywhere
autrefois back in the day, in the past
autant as much, equally
guère hardly, barely
auparavant beforehand
davantage more
pourtant however
jadis once, formerly
dessus above
dessous under
soudain suddenly, abruptly
toutefois however
volontiers willingly, gladly