Adverbs from Vietnamese

This lesson introduces you to the most popular uses of adverbs from Vietnam. This lesson on adverbs builds on the awareness of Vietnamese verbs and adjectives provided in previous lessons, as their primary function is to modify verbs and adjectives. If you read this lesson only after going through those classes, it helps a lot.

Place of adverbs from Vietnam

We will start with 2 examples to show that the use of adverbs in Vietnamese is very similar to the use of adverbs in English.


Cô ấyháthay
I want to learnVietnamesefast
Tôi muốn họctiếng Việtnhanh

The positions of the adverbs hay (‘well’) and nhanh (‘fast’) are exactly the same as their English equivalents, as you may observe. The adverb is placed immediately after the verb hát (‘sing’) in the first example, as no object is needed for this verb. As the verb học (‘learn’) takes an object, which is tiếng Việt (‘Vietnamese’), the adverb is placed after the object in the second example, as in English.

“The above adverbs are generally called” adverbs of manner “in that they add meaning to verbs they modify in the aspect of” manner. There is another commonly used category of adverbs known as frequency adverbs, which include adverbs such as commonly, frequently, and rarely. The rule of thumb in English is that they are placed after other verbs are to be and before. Any of these adverbs, however, may often be liberally put in front of or at the end of the sentence.

In the Vietnamese scenario, the very same thing happens. With some examples, let ‘s explain this:


Cô ấythườngthức dậy sớm
Sheusuallygets up early
Thỉnh thoảng,tôi thức dậy sớm
Sometimes,I get up early
Tôithỉnh thoảngthức dậy sớm
Isometimesget up early

You must think about so many parallels! Indeed, with “adverbs of strength” such as really, very, that is also the case. Let’s mention the following examples where adverbs and adjectives are used to modify them:


Cô ấy thức dậyrấtsớm
She gets upveryearly
Cô ấy cómộtgiọng hátrấthay
She hasavoiceverybeautiful

In the first example, sớm (‘early’) is followed by rất (“very”) in exactly the manner we would use in English. In the second case, the very adverb is used to modify the beautiful adjective and can therefore be considered “attached” to the adjective. In other words, a very beautiful voice is interpreted as consisting of a very beautiful adjective phrase that modifies the noun voice.”As such, it is not surprising that the translation order will be” voice “+” very beautiful “in Vietnamese, which yields” giọng hát “+” rất hay. In both cases, very is, as in English, placed before the adjective or adverb it modifies.

Muti-word adverbs from Vietnamese

Until now, all adverbs have been very familiar. And that’s the general case indeed. Let’s walk through one example before we finish this tutorial, where there is a slight difference in the role of adverbs between Vietnamese and English.

She sings extremely well and very well and in She sings very well, consider the adverb amazing. Except for the option of adverbs, the two sentences are absolutely identical.Therefore, the two sentences share the exact same structure as expected. Compare their Vietnamese translations below, however:


Cô ấy hátrấthay
She singsverywell
Cô ấy háthaykhông thể tin được
She singswellincredibly

The Vietnamese version is unbelievably, as indicated above, the word không thể tin được. “Incredibly well, according to what we have learned above, should be translated into the order:” incredibly “+” well “which should have created ” không thể tin được “+” hay. Why here the reverse? Is there an exception to this?

The response is yes, it’s an exception to our general rule that it does not obey. Fortunately, while there is a logical reason behind it, this is not the sort of exception you should only learn by heart.

We know that không thể tin được, whose word-by-word translation back to English can not be believed or difficult to believe, is wonderfully interpreted. The reason that an expression, not a letter, is unbelievably the Vietnamese translation of the adjective “credible” is because the Vietnamese translation of the adjective “credible” is already a multi-word adjective: có thể tin được. In Vietnamese, there is no one-word adjective that means ‘credible’. (Why? For further discussion , please see Remarks (*) below).

Now, if we look back at English and think about how we’d use a multi-word expression to the point that I can’t trust it to articulate it unbelievably. Do we still put the sentences in the place of creating She sings credibly, to the point that I can’t believe it, well, or do we need to move this long phrase to the end of the sentence? Suppose we use another sentence: can’t I believe it, can’t we put it in a plausible position, or do we have to put it in front of us? The same explanation why không thể tin được is positioned after hay (“well): “it seems to be a pragmatic matter.


It’s simple: just use them the way you usually do in English when it comes to adverbs in Vietnamese. For Vietnamese multi-word adverbs, which are generally put after the word(s) they modify, the first warning is.


(*) For curious learners who want more explanations of why there is no one-word adjective in Vietnamese that means trustworthy, the reason could be that Vietnamese (and Chinese is another example) can be regarded as meaning “compositional.” In other words, for a meaning that could have been conveyed by mixing meanings of existing words, there is generally not a new word. The “existing word” in our example is possibly the verb tin (“believe).”Then the term” incredible “is articulated in the form of” impossible to believe, “resulting in the multi-word translation không thể tin được.

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