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There are no true adverbs in Tamil, i.e. none that one could list in the dictionary. They are all formed by the addition of () -aa(y) to nouns or NOMINALIZED adjectives, with one exception: nalla `good' + aa nallaa `well', although nalladaa also occurs.In Brahmin dialect this item is regular, i.e. nallaa does not occur, but the nominalization of nalla is nannaa; nallataa also occurs.

Adverbial forms of adjectives occur in identity statements with copula iru . Contrast:

These two columns differ in meaning; the sentences with nominalized adjectives mean `habitually (so-and-so)' while the sentences with adverbial -aa iru- mean `temporarily, at the moment (so-and-so)'. Or, it can mean that something has recently become or attained the state in question: idu sari `This is all right, this is permanently all right' versus տ idu sariyaa irukku `This is all right NOW, at the moment (but it wasn't before)'.

With certain noun phrases marked with aa iru the meaning may be `temporarily serving as, functioning as', e.g. ޤ , ɤ Ȥ idu vahuppu saale, aanaa ippa aaffiisaa irukku `This is (usually) a classroom, but now it's (serving as) an office.'