Adjectives modify nouns.  The 'adverb' is the catch all term that is used to refer to phrases or words that modify everything else. 

Following is an adverb modifying an adjective:

Ils sont trop sophistiqués.
They are too sophisticated. 

and an adverb modifing an entire sentence:

Heureusement, bien que je sois pauvre, j'ai de la nourriture, de l'eau, et un abri.
Happily, athough I am poor, I do have food, water, and shelter. 

More than anything else, by modifying a verb, adverbs tell us how (i.e. the manner in which) something is done. Such adverbs are called manner adverbs.

Ils s'embrassent passionnément.
They kiss passionately.

Adverb Construction
Adverbs are typically built from adjectives. The standard, most common model is constructed by appending ment to the end of the feminine adjective (Regular Adverbs). 

facile facilement easily
rapide rapidement rapidly

Thankfully, not all adverbs are built the same way for things would get a little drab. Sometimes the ment is appended to the masculine adjective (Dropped E), sometimes not ment but mment is appended to the adjective (Irregular Adverbs), and sometimes the ment ending isn't used at all (Other Origins).

In English, we append ly as opposed to ment to an adjective to form a manner adverb. English speakers really love doing this and invent new adverbs all the time this way. French speakers have been more reserved about creating adverbs this way and many English ly adverbs are expressed in French using a prepositional phrase as opposed to an ment ending adverb.

Il a secoué son poing en colère
He shook his fist angrily.

Falling within the 'adverb' category are words and phrases that negate (Negations Tutorial), locate both in space (Place) and time(Time), as well as certain expressions that qualify sentences and phrases. I know this is all exciting but please try to contain your emotions.

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