Adverbial verbs are verbs of complex semantics: they express simultaneously two meanings – that of an action and that of its characteristics. For example, to stare – смотреть пристально; to shrill – пронзительно кричать. Atranslation equivalent is usually represented in the dictionary either by a verb and adverb or by a simple verb of complex semantics (to stare – уставиться), or by a verb and prepositional phrase: to rumble – ехать с грохотом.

Some verbs become adverbial only in context. For example, the verb to roar by itself denotes making a long and loud noise and is equal to реветь, громыхать. In the sentence Tanks roared into the city,181 the verb indicates not only producing a loud noise, but also moving. So the sentence corresponds to the Russian Танки с грохотом въехали в город. The seme of movement is easily recognized by the preposition into. The same role is performed by a postpositional element of a phrasal verb: The old jalopy clanked up the hill. – Старый драндулет с лязгом поднимался в гору.182

Semantically, adverbial verbs can be classified into the following groups:183

1. verbs expressing movement accompanied by some sound: to jingle – мчаться, звеня бубенцами; to creak – двигаться со скрипом; to bang – с хлопком, etc. These verbs are usually translated with the help of an adverbial participle (деепричастие) or a prepositional and nominal group.

2. Verbs expressing a shift from one place into another: He danced her out into a quiet corridor. – Танцуя с ней, он увел ее в пустой коридор. The servant bowed the guests out as they left. – Слуга с поклонами проводил гостей. So in this case, either an adverbial participle or a prepositional phrase is used. When it has a metaphoric meaning, the verb can be translated with a simile: He stormed out of the restaurant. – Он, как ураган, вылетел из ресторана.

3. verbs expressing transition from one state to another: The train slid to a halt. – Поезд плавно остановился. The adverbial feature is rendered in Russian by an adverb.

4. causative verbs: The slaves were whipped into work. – Рабов заставили работать с помощью кнута. (translation with a prepositional phrase). The threat angered him into activity. – Эта угроза пробудила его гнев и заставила действовать. (translated with parallel verbs). He refused to be blackmailed into silence. – Он отказался молчать, несмотря на шантаж. (translated through substituting parts of speech). He teased her out of making a scene. – Он подтрунивал над ней, чтобы она не устроила ему сцены. (translated with a subordinate clause).

5. verbs expressing cause and effect: Quietly she sang herself that night into fame. – Она так пела, что незаметно для себя в тот вечер стала знаменитой певицей. (translated through a sentence partitioning). Mary Bignall is long-jumping her way to victory.184 – В состязаниях по прыжкам в длину Мэри Бигнал выходит на первое место. (in translation the sentence is restructured).

Being a compressive means of expressing a meaning, adverbial verbs are widely used in modern English, especially in newspapers and fiction. Some of them have become set phrases: to cry oneself to sleep; to struggle into one’s coat; to bang out of the room, etc.

Many adverbial verbs form a structural pattern and, therefore, are easily recognized in the sentence, though their contextual meanings may not be found in the dictionary: The Tatar cavalry burned its way through Eastern Europe. – Сжигая все на своем пути, татарская конница пронеслась по Восточной Европе. The pattern to elbow one’s way, to push one’s way, to bribe one’s way (to, through) has been very frequent recently.

Another pattern is the structure to talk (laugh, joke, tease, etc.) somebody into (out of) something: I’ve talked her into coming camping with us. – Я уговорил ее поехать с нами отдыхать на природу.


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