Adverbs of Affirmation

What are Adverbs of Affirmation?

Adverbs of Affirmation (also, affirmative adverbs) express that something is true or some other expression equivalent to the truth. Obviously, this classification comes with adverbs of negation (also, negative adverbs), their opposite which express negative statements, logic, or judgment. It would be impossible to talk about affirmative adverbs and not compare them with their negative counterparts. For this article, we’ll touch a little bit on adverbs of negation as well.

Consider the following sentences:

  • She will definitely buy that.
  • She will never buy that.

In the first sentence, “definitely” affirms the intention of buying something. In the second sentence “never” negates the following action, affirming its impossibility.

Let’s take a look at the table that separates adverbs of affirmation and negation, with adverbs in bold:

Adverbs of Affirmation Adverbs of Negation 
– He was positively enamored by her.
– Ben was clearly bothered by the music in the bar.
– An electric fan was by all means needed in tropical states.
– Dierdre was indeed churning her own butter on her farm.
– Willem was really singing yesterday.
– I could hardly see you.
– Femke was in no condition to demand anything.
– Bella contradictorily did what she was against doing.
– Paulo will never agree to sell his family ranch.
– We could barely understand her.
Adverbs of Affirmation and Negation Examples Table
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Adverbs of Affirmation Rules

Unless the main verb is one of the forms of “to be“, adverbs of affirmation are placed before the main verb.– Feya is certainly friendly.
– They are obviously at work now.
– Ivo totally wanted that painting.
– Jan clearly cried after reading that.
In cases where the sentence has an auxiliary or helping verb, the adverb of affirmation is placed between the auxiliary and the main verb.– Cleon has certainly forgotten our anniversary.
– They will definitely be there to support you.
Adverbs of affirmation such as “certainly”, “probably”, and “undoubtedly” can be put at the beginning of the sentence. Undoubtedly, Elsie is the most talented designer in the group.
Probably, she got lost along the way.
When the adverb of affirmation “surely” is placed at the beginning of a sentence, it means the speaker is seeking confirmation for something they believe is true. Surely, nepotism is not a problem in this company.
– You’ve lived there for a decade. Surely, you speak the language.
Adverbs of Affirmation Rules Table

Examples of Adverbs of Affirmation

Adverbs of Affirmation Example Sentences

1. Wendy absolutely needed her car checked today.

2. My kids truly love pizza, like they can have it every night.

3. The view from our hotel room is undoubtedly breathtaking

4. I really like the modifications they did to the cupboard.

5. Baron certainly needs recognition for his achievements.

Adverbs of Negation Example Sentences

1. Celine never understood why Ally wanted to move away.

2. Vivian was barely out the door when Roman barged in.

3. My sisters hardly ever see eye to eye with things.

4. Rhonna scarcely does any household chores.

5. He invalidly claimed the price of the expired raffle ticket.

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Adverbs of Affirmation Exercises with Answers

Exercise on Adverbs of Affirmation

Complete the following sentences by choosing the correct adverb:

1. Gardo’s spectacular paintings were ______ the best in the exhibit.

A. almost

B. certainly

C. seldom

D. not at all

2. It was ______ a selfless act to devote time and resources to other people’s welfare.

A. definitely

B. rarely

C. not

D. scarcely

3. The contents of the luggage were ______ declared to the customs officer.

A. assuredly

B. hardly

C. rarely

D. not at all

4. Ella ______ visits her children so they don’t feel comfortable around her.

A. uncertainly

B. profoundly

C. barely

D. certainly

5. Surprisingly, Vishanti was ______ concerned about the packages that the airline lost.

A. by all means

B. exactly

C. scarcely

D. not at all


1. B: Gardo’s spectacular paintings were certainly the best in the exhibit.
2. A: It was definitely a selfless act to devote time and resources to other people’s welfare.
3. A: The contents of the luggage were assuredly declared to the customs officer.
4. C: Ella barely visits her children so they don’t feel comfortable around her.
5. D. Surprisingly, Vishanti was not at all concerned about the packages that the airline lost.

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Adverbs of Affirmation List

Adverbs of Affirmation (with phrases)Adverbs of Negation (with phrases)
by all means
hardly (ever)
barely (ever)
no longer
under/in no circumstances
(in) no way
(in/on) no condition
not at all
Adverbs of Affirmation and Negation List

Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

Sentences can be formed more accurately when descriptive words are incorporated, enabling them to express their thought with clarity. Adjectives and adverbs both serve this purpose and adverbs of affirmation and negation are especially essential when attempting to illustrate the target or content that sentences desire to convey, be it judgment, opinion, logic, and so on. To become adept in employing adverbs of affirmation and negation correctly, those learning English must comprehend how to apply them appropriately. You can master this skill by studying their function in sentence composition, being watchful of spelling and placement guidelines, and practicing consistently. Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand adverbs of cause and effect and adverbs definition and examples.

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Common Errors Made by English Learners

English language learners often make oversights when using adverbial clauses. The most frequent error is not being certain which type of clause should be used. Furthermore, many students have trouble with placing adverbs of affirmation and negation in sentences accurately, making the meaning of their intended statement harder to comprehend or creating stilted-sounding sentences. In order to prevent missteps with these adverb types, become familiar with how they are used by studying and practicing their usages, as well as reviewing them periodically.

Common ErrorsExplanation
Double AdverbsDouble adverbs can sound awkward and confuse the meaning that you want to convey with your sentences. Remember not to use affirmative adverbs and negative adverbs together when describing one word or phrase in a sentence. While they may be grammatically correct, they won’t be communicatively correct. For example, “I absolutely rarely go there.” In this case, the word “rarely” would suffice.
PunctuationAdverbs of Affirmation and Negative can function as adverbial conjunctions, which start an independent clause and connect it to another independent clause. When writing, a comma follows an adverbial conjunction (or conjunctive adverb)
FormSubordinating conjunctions always start adverbial clauses. It signifies that the clause doesn’t have a complete idea or thought and should therefore be attached to an independent clause to comprise a complete sentence.
Adverbs of Affirmation Common Errors Table

Learning Strategies and Best Practices with Adverbs of Affirmation

Developing your mastery in using adverbs of affirmation and negation can be done in various ways. Generally, you need to focus on the following:

  • The accurate distinction between positive and negative meanings or implications.
  • The correct placement of adverbs of affirmation and negation in sentences.
  • The functions of the words that the adverbs describe or modify.
Learning StrategiesExplanation
Language ListsLists can show language forms and sentence examples, making any grammatical concept easier to see, remember, and use.
Language ExposureReading, audio, and video materials are great resources to help broaden your vocabulary and see how native speakers use English in a variety of contexts, topics, and areas of expertise. You can also learn the difference between formal and informal English.
Language ExchangeUse what you’ve learned in daily conversations with fellow learners and English-speaking friends. This will eventually make you sound more confident and natural, and also use the English language with ease.
Adverbs of Affirmation Learning Strategies Table
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Adverbs of Affirmation Frequently Asked Questions

Adverbs of Affirmation declare that some concepts such as statements, judgment, logical propositions, and so on, are true or real. Here are some examples:

– The film was definitely compelling in a way that no other documentary has achieved. 
– The first reel clearly depicts an ape-like creature that broke through the trees.
– Viewing it obviously convinced us that eyewitness accounts had been accurate and truthful.
– They were certainly perturbed by the presence of humans around their habitat.
– Nancy was unquestionably late in completing the tasks given to her this week.

Yes. An adverb describes verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Adverbs usually add -ly to adjective forms such as bad – badly, truthful – truthfully, stoic – stoically. In the following sentences, the word “stoically” is used to describe the verbs stood and inhaled:

– My father stood stoically by the front door.
– The children inhaled stoically to show that they were not scared.

Here are 10 examples of adverbs of affirmation: absolutely, exactly, positively, surely, really, indeed, certainly, unquestionably, undoubtedly, assuredly. 

Take some time to read the article in full. There are many example sentences that you can study and review. Also, look around the blog to find dedicated pages for a comprehensive list of everything you need to know about adverbs and other grammar topics.

Modifiers are words that describe parts of speech, particularly nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Modifiers change the meaning of the words they describe. They also provide more details or explanations to describe a situation, action, or thing more fluently or eloquently. Adjectives and adverbs (along with phrases used for the same functions) are the most common examples of modifiers.

Affirmation or Negation are two classifications of adverbs used to distinguish the positive and negative meanings of adverbs. Some examples of affirmative adverbs reinforce positive meanings such as surely, definitely, certainly, etc. Their negative counterparts are never, nowhere, scarcely, etc.

Example Sentences with Adverbs of Affirmation:

– They will surely look for the necklace.
– She’s definitely happy with her Christmas gift.
– We’re obviously looking forward to the trip.

Example Sentences with Adverbs of Negation:

– Greg was hardly upset about the situation.
– Priya never wanted to offend anyone in the crowd.
– We scarcely go on leave.

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