Adverbs usage

Randy   Friday, August 06, 2004, 03:27 GMT
Are there different types of adverbs? For example, why is it OK to say:

I desperately need money to pay my bills.

But it is not correct to say:

I extremely need money to pay my bills.
Chance   Friday, August 06, 2004, 05:24 GMT
I need money desperately.

I need money extremely badly.

Extremely just doesn't sound right dangling by itself. Dunno why.
CalifJim   Friday, August 06, 2004, 06:27 GMT
Yes. There are different types of adverbs. The most important distinction for purposes of your example is the difference between adverbs of degree and all the others. "extremely", "very", and "somewhat" are examples of adverbs of degree. "desperately" is not an adverb of degree. (It's an adverb of manner.)

The words which don't fit nicely into any of the other parts of speech (nouns, verbs, etc.) are thrown on a trash heap called the adverbs, so it's not surprising that there are all sorts of subdivisions within this group. They usually are used with verbs (hence, the name "ad - verb"), but not necessarily. The adverbs of degree are used mostly to indicate the degree to which an adjective applies. Of course, it has to be an adjective which lends itself to this kind of treatment.

"The house is || extremely / very / somewhat || tall / large / beautiful."

But not *"The house is || extremely / very / somewhat || perfect."

They are also used with other types of adverbs.

"The car moved || extremely / very / somewhat || fast / slowly."

But not with other adverbs of degree.

*"The car moved somewhat extremely fast."

They are not typically used directly with verbs.

Not *"I extremely jumped over the fence", *"I very placed the book on the table."

But "I jumped over the fence extremely quickly." "I very carefully placed the book on the table."

Adverbs of manner (like "desperately") can modify verbs directly. Note "quickly" and "carefully" above.

Does this help solve the puzzle for you? I hope so.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Saturday, August 07, 2004, 00:52 GMT

A similar situation, except with verbs and indirect objects, was just described in the latest _Language Miniature_ topic:

I particularly like this observation:

"It may seem trivial, but isn’t it actually rather remarkable that everyone all over the world who’s a native speaker of English knows this [hidden rule] - even if we were quite unaware that we knew it? Nobody ever had to teach us which verbs can and can’t allow their direct object to shift like that."
CalifJim   Saturday, August 07, 2004, 04:39 GMT
<<_Language Miniature_ topic>>

Interesting. One thing not mentioned there, however, is the general principle that native English (one-syllable) verbs typically allow the shift described, while verbs originally borrowed from Latin (typically two or more syllables) do not allow the shift.

That means the rhythm is either two syllables or four:

show him ...
give him ...

explain to him ...
reveal to him ...

(There are exceptions.)

Is the rhythm part of the hidden thing that guides us native speakers?