Adverbs: Definition & Types
An adverb is a word/a set of words that modifies verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. It tells when, where, and how an action is performed or indicates the quality or degree of the action.
Many adverbs end in -ly but some words which end in -ly (such as friendly) are not adverbs. Many words can be both adverbs and adjectives according to their activity in the sentence.
- Robin is always hungry for success.
- I love her very much.
- He is running fast.
- Alex works hard.
- He wrote that willingly.
Adverb Clauses and Adverb Phrases are clauses and phrases that modify the verbs, adjectives or other adverbs in the sentence.
- He ran toward the bus until he was tired. (Adverb Clause)
- He came carrying his box with two hands. (Adverb Phrase)
- We were panicked without any reason. (Adverb Phrase)
Types of Adverbs:
1. Conjunctive Adverbs:
A conjunctive adverb connects phrases or independent clauses. It provides transitions between ideas and shows relationships.
Conjunctive adverbs are also called connectors.
- It rained last night. Nonetheless, the final match has not been canceled.
- We are still confused, however, if the umpires will come.
- Last season there was a great drought; consequently, we could not grow crops.
2. Sentence Adverbs:
A sentence adverb starts the sentence and modifies the whole sentence.
- Hopefully, we will win the match.
- Apparently, the sky is getting cloudy.
- Certainly, I did not think of coming here.
3. Adverbs of Time/Frequency (When?)
Adverbs of time/frequency indicate time or frequency of the action in the sentence. They answer the question ‘when/how frequently is the action performed?’.
Always, never, often, eventually, now, frequently, occasionally, once, forever, seldom, before, Sunday, Monday, 10 AM, 12 PM, etc. are common adverbs of time/frequency.
- I went to school a little late yesterday.
- He always gets a good result.
- I will leave Monday.
- He smokes occasionally.
4. Adverbs of Place/Direction (Where?)
Adverbs of place/direction that indicate place/direction of the action in the sentence. They answer the question ‘ where is the action performed?’.
Across, over, under, in, out, through, backward, there, around, here, sideways, upstairs, in the park, in the field, in that place, etc. are some common adverbs of place/direction.
- I went through the jungle.
- He plays in the field.
- Alex is going to school.
- He is staying at my home.
5. Adverbs of Degree (How Much?)
Adverbs that express the importance/degree/level of the action in the sentence are called adverbs of degree. They answer the question ‘how much is the action performed?’.
Completely, nearly, entirely, less, mildly, most, thoroughly, somewhat, excessively, much, etc. are common adverbs of degree.
- She completely forgot about her anniversary.
- I read the newspaper thoroughly.
- I am so excited about the new job.
- Robin hardly studies
6. Adverbs of Manner (How?)
Adverbs that express the manner/approach/process of the action in the sentence are called adverbs of manner. They answer the question ‘how is the action performed?’.
Beautifully, equally, thankfully, carefully, handily, quickly, coldly, hotly, resentfully, earnestly, nicely, tirelessly, etc. are common adverbs of manner. These adverbs usually end in ly.
- Let's divide the prizes equally.
- Please, handle the camera carefully.
- Mike is walking slowly.
- He is running fast.
Adverbs and adverb phrases: position
We can put adverbs and adverb phrases at the front, in the middle or at the end of a clause.
The front position of the clause is the first item in the clause:
Suddenly I felt afraid.
Yesterday detectives arrested a man and a woman in connection with the murder.
The end position of the clause is the last item in the clause:
Why do you always have to eat so fast?
The mid position is between the subject and the main verb:
Apples always taste best when you pick them straight off the tree.
Where there is more than one verb, mid position means after the first auxiliary verb or after a modal verb:
The government has occasionally been forced to change its mind. (after the first auxiliary verb)
You can definitely never predict what will happen. (after a modal verb)
We mightn’t ever have met. (after the modal verb and before the auxiliary verb)
In questions, mid position is between the subject and the main verb:
Do you ever think about living there?
Adverbs usually come after the main verb be, except in emphatic clauses:
She’s always late for everything.
When be is emphasised, the adverb comes before the verb:
Why should I have gone to see Madonna? I never was a fan of hers. (emphatic)
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