An adverb is a part of speech used to describe a verb, adjective, clause, or another adverb. It simply tells the readers how, where, when, or the degree at which something was done.


For example:


  • The manager accepted the challenge very

The italicized word is an adverb that describes nicely, which is another adverb.


  • Tears began to fall as he saw the completely lifeless body of his wife.

The adverb in this sentence is completely, which describes the         adjective


  • Surprisingly, the cubicles of the public restroom are clean.

            Surprisingly is the adverb in this sentence. It modifies the clause that comes           right after it.


Even though all of the sample sentences above have one-word adverbs, adverbs    are not limited to a single word. Sometimes, adverbs come in phrases. Take a    look at the example below.


  • At 4 a.m., a stray cat jumped into the open window.

The italicized part is a prepositional phrase with an adverbial function. It tells        when the event occurred.


What are the Different Kinds of Adverb?


Aside from answering the main question “What is an adverb?” it is also important to explore the different kinds of this part of speech. Basically, there are four kinds of adverbs:





→Manner    Adverbs               Degree←


Adverbs of Manner


This kind of adverb describes the manner by which something was done or something happened. Adverbs of manner answer the question “How?”



  • The students measured the volume of the chemicals accurately.

            The italicized adverb describes the verb “measured.”


  • She walks gracefully.

            Gracefully modifies the verb “walks.”

Adverbs of Place


Adverbs of place simply answer the question “Where?” Here are some examples:




  • Heisenberg looked away from the dead body.


            The adverb away answers the question, “Where did Heisenberg look?”


  • They built a huge toy factory nearby.


            The adverb nearby answers the question, “Where did they build the huge toy      factory?”


            You will notice based on these examples that adverbs of place can be placed        right after the verb or after the object of the verb.


Adverbs of Time


Aside from answering when an event occurred, adverbs of time also answer questions like, “How long?” and “How often?”




  • Syndra lived in Germany for a year.


            For a year tells how long something happened (how long Syndra lived in Germany).


  • I’m going to the dentist tomorrow.


The adverb tomorrow indicates when something will be done.


Adverbs of Degree


This kind of adverb indicates the degree at which something will be done. It tells something about the intensity.




  • You didn’t try hard enough.


            Hard enough is an adverb pertaining to the verb, “try.”


  • The temperature of the room was extremely


            Extremely describes the adjective, “high.”


The Most Important Tips for Using Adverbs:


Sometimes, people know what adverbs are but don’t know how to use them properly. So here are the most useful tips that you should keep in mind:


  1. In writing an adverb of manner, you must never write the adverb in between the verb and the object of the verb.

Examples (from above):


  • The students measured accurately the volume of the chemicals. (wrong)
  • The students measured the volume of the chemicals accurately. (correct)


The first sentence is wrong because the adverb is located somewhere between      “measured” (verb) and “volume” (object of the verb).


  1. Know when to use the comparative or superlative forms of adverbs. Words like more or less are added to the main adverb when comparing two things. Most or least are used if there are three or more things to compare.




  • most often; more frequently




























Just like adjectives, adverbs are also used to describe words, but the difference is that adverbs describe adjectives, verbs, or another adverb.


The different types of adverbs are:


  • Adverb of Manner– this refers to how something happens or how an action is done.


Annie danced gracefully.

The word “gracefully” tells how Annie danced.


  • Adverb of Time- this state “when” something happens or “when” it is done.


She came yesterday.

The italicized word tells when she “came.”


  • Adverb of Place– this tells something about “where” something happens or” where” something is done.


Of course, I looked everywhere!

The adverb “everywhere” tells where I “looked.”


  • Adverb of Degree– this state the intensity or the degree to which a specific thing happens or is done.


The child is very talented.

The italicized adverb answers the question, “To what degree is the child talented?”

Errors in the use of adverbs


Different kinds of adverbs go in different positions in a sentence. The usage is sometimes very different, too.


  • Incorrect: He plays tennis good.
  • Correct: He plays tennis well.

Good is an adjective. The adverb for this meaning is well.


  • Incorrect: I am very much sorry.
  • Correct: I am very sorry.

Very is used without much before adjectives and adverbs in the positive degree.


  • Incorrect: I am much tired.
  • Correct: I am very tired.

Much does not mean the same as very.


  • Incorrect: She is so poor to pay the dues.
  • Correct: She is too poor to pay the dues.
  • Incorrect: It is very hot to go out.
  • Correct: It is too hot to go out.

Note the structure too…to.


  • Incorrect: She carefully drove.
  • Correct: She drove carefully.


  • Incorrect: She angrily spoke.
  • Correct: She spoke angrily.


Adverbs of manner usually go in the end-position.


  • Incorrect: The room is enough spacious for us.
  • Correct: The room is spacious enough for us.


The adverb enough goes after the adjective or adverb it modifies.


  • Incorrect: I know to swim.
  • Correct: I know how to swim.


Know cannot be directly followed by an infinitive. Instead we use the structure   know how to.


  • Incorrect: He is not clever to solve the problem.
  • Correct: He is not clever enough to solve the problem.


  • Incorrect: He is now too strong to walk.
  • Correct: He is now strong enough to walk.



























Adverbials of manner

Adverbs of manner are usually formed from adjectives by adding –ly:

bad > badly quiet > quietly sudden > suddenly

but sometimes there are changes in spelling:

easy > easily gentle > gently careful > carefully

The adverb formed from good is well:

  • You speak English very well.

Adverbs of manner normally come after the verb:

  • He spoke angrily.

or after the object:

  • He opened the door quietly.

If an adjective already ends in -ly, we use the phrase in a …. way to express manner:

  • silly: He behaved in a silly way.
  • friendly: She spoke in a friendly way.

A few adverbs of manner have the same form as the adjective:

  • They all worked hard.
  • She usually arrives late/early.
  • I hate driving fast.


                             Be Careful

hardly and lately have different meanings from hard and late:

He could hardly walk. = It was difficult for him to walk.
I haven’t seen John lately. = I haven’t seen John recently.

We often use phrases with like as adverbials of manner:

  • She slept like a baby.
  • He ran like a rabbit.

Adverbials of manner and link verbs

We very often use adverbials with like after link verbs:

  • Her hands feltlike ice.
  • It smellslike fresh bread.




                                                        Be Careful

We do not use adverbs of manner after link verbs. We use adjectives instead:

They looked happy. (NOT happily)
That bread smells delicious. (NOT deliciously)

Intensifiers and mitigators


We use words like veryreally and extremely to make adverbs stronger:

  • She speaks English very
  • They behaved really
  • He put the glass down extremely

We call these words intensifiers. Other intensifiers are:

amazingly exceptionally incredibly remarkably particularly

We also use enough to say more about an adverb, but enough comes after its adverb:

She didn’t win. She didn’t play well enough.




We use words like fairlyrather and quite to make adverbs less strong:


  • She speaks English fairly
  • They behaved rather
  • The children played quite

We call these words mitigators. Mitigators are the opposite of intensifiers.

Adverbials of place

Most adverbials of place are prepositional phrases:

  • They are in Franceat present.
  • Come and sit next to me.

But we also use adverbs:

abroad downstairs nearby overseas
ahead here next door there
away indoors out of doors upstairs


  • They are abroadat present.
  • Come and sit here.


We use adverbials of place to describe location, direction and distance.


We use adverbials to talk about where someone or something is:

  • He was standing by the table.
  • You’ll find it in the cupboard.
  • You’ll find it inside.
  • Sign your name here – at the bottom of the page.
  • Stand here.
  • They used to live nearby.




We use adverbials to talk about the direction in which someone or something is moving:


  • Walk past the bankand keep going to the end of the street.
  • It’s difficult to get into the carbecause the door is so small.
  • They always go abroad for their holidays.




We use adverbials to show how far things are:


  • Birmingham is 250 kilometresfrom London.
  • We live in Birmingham. London is 250 kilometres away.

We often have an adverbial of place at the end of a clause:

  • The door is very small, so the car is difficult to get into.
  • We’re in Birmingham. London is 250 kilometres away.
  • Our house is down a muddy lane, so it’s very difficult to get to.
  • Can I come in?

Adverbials of location

We use prepositions to talk about where someone or something is:

above among at behind below beneath
beside between by in in between inside
near next to on opposite outside over
round through under underneath


  • He was standing by the table.
  • She lives in a village near Glasgow.
  • You’ll find it in the cupboard.

We use phrases with of as prepositions:

at the back of at the top of at the bottom of at the end of
on top of at the front of in front of in the middle of


  • There were some flowers in the middle of the table.
  • Sign your name here – at the bottom of the page.
  • I can’t see. You’re standing in front of me.

We can use right as an intensifier with some of these adverbials:

  • He was standing right next to the table.
  • There were some flowers rightin the middle of the table.
  • There’s a wood rightbehind our house.

We also use adverbs for location:

abroad here indoors upstairs
overseas there outdoors downstairs
away round out of doors home
nearby around next door


  • Children love to play out of doors.
  • Did you see anybody there?
  • We have one-bedroom downstairs.
  • Don’t leave things lying around.

Adverbials of direction

We use prepositions to talk about direction:

across along back  back to down into
onto out of  past through to towards


  • She ran out of the house.
  • Walk past the bankand keep going to the end of the street.

We use adverbs and adverb phrases for both location and direction:

everywhere abroad indoors upstairs home
anywhere away outdoors downstairs back
somewhere here inside up in
nowhere there outside down out


  • I would love to see Paris. I’ve never been there(place)
  • We’re going to Paris. We flythere (direction)
  • The bedroom is upstairs(place)
  • He ran upstairsto the bedroom. (direction)


We often have adverbials of direction or location at the end of a clause:

  • This is the room we have our meals in.
  • Be careful you don’t let the cat out.
  • There were only a few people 

Adverbials of distance

We use prepositions to show how far things are:

  • Birmingham is 250 kilometres from 
  • Birmingham is 250 kilometres away from 
  • It is 250 kilometres from Birmingham to 

Sometimes we use an adverbial of distance at the end of a clause:

  • We were in London. Birmingham was 250 kilometres away.
  • Birmingham was 250 kilometres off.
  • London and Birmingham are 250 kilometres apart.

Adverbials of time

We use adverbials of time to describe:


  • whensomething happens:


  • I saw Mary yesterday.
  • She was born in 1978.
  • I will see you later.
  • There was a storm during the night.


  • We waited all day.
  • They have lived here since 2004.
  • We will be on holiday from 1 July until 3 August.
  • how often(frequency):
  • They usually watched television in the evening.
  • We sometimes went to work by car.


When (time and dates)

We use phrases with prepositions as time adverbials:


We use at with:

clock times: at seven o’clock at nine thirty at fifteen hundred hours
mealtimes: at breakfast at lunchtime at teatime
these phrases: at night at the weekend at Christmas at Easter


  • We usein with:
seasons of the year: in (the) spring/summer/autumn/winter
years, centuries, decades: in 2009 in 1998 in the 20th century in the 60s in the 1980s
months: in January/February/March etc.
parts of the day: in the morning in the afternoon in the evening
  • We useon with:
days: on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday etc. on Christmas day on my birthday
dates: on the thirty-first of July on June the fifteenth


Be Careful


We say at night when we are talking about all of the night:


·          When there is no moon, it is very dark at night.

·          He sleeps during the day and works at night.


but we say in the night when we are talking about a specific time during the night:


·          He woke up twice in the night.

·          I heard a funny noise in the night.


We often use a noun phrase as a time adverbial:

yesterday today tomorrow
last week/month/year this week/month/year next week/month/year
last Saturday this Tuesday next Friday
the day before yesterday the day after tomorrow
one day/week/month
the other day/week/month

We can put time phrases together:

  • We will meet next weekat six o’clock on Monday.
  • I heard a funny noise at about eleven o’clocklast night.
  • It happened last week at seven o’clock on Monday night.

We use ago with the past simple to say how long before the time of speaking something happened:

  • I saw Jim aboutthree weeks ago.
  • We arrived a few minutes ago.

We use in with a future form to say how long after the time of speaking something will happen:

  • I’ll see youin a month.
  • Our train’s leaving in five minutes.

How long

We use for to say how long:

  • We have been waiting for twenty minutes.
  • They lived in Manchester for fifteen years.

We can also use a noun phrase without for:

  • Let’s go. We’ve been waiting nearly an hour.
  • I’ve worked here twenty years.

We use since with the present perfect or the past perfect to say when something started:

  • I have worked here since December.
  • They had been watching since seven o’clock in the morning.

We use from … to/until to say when something starts and finishes:

  • They stayed with us from Monday to Friday.
  • We will be on holiday from the sixteenth until the twentieth.


                                                                Be Careful


We can use to or until with a noun phrase:


·          My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 to her death.

·          My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 until her death.


But we can only use until with a clause:


·          My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 to she died.

·          My great-grandmother lived in Liverpool from 1940 until she died.

How often

The commonest adverbials of frequency are:

always never normally
rarely seldom sometimes
occasionally often usually

We usually put these one-word adverbials of frequency in front of the main verb:

  • We often spendChristmas with friends.
  • I have never enjoyedmyself so much.


but they usually come after the verb be:

  • He wasalways tired in the evening.
  • We are never late for work.

Sometimes these adverbials have an intensifier or mitigator:

  • He is veryrarely late for work.
  • We nearlyalways spend Christmas with friends.

We use the adverbial a lot to mean often or frequently. It comes at the end of the clause:

  • We go to the cinema a lot.

We can also use a lot with another time adverbial:

  • We go to the cinema a lotat the weekend.

We use much/a lot with a negative to mean not often:

  • We don’tgo out much/a lot. (= We don’t go out often.)

We often use phrases with every as adverbials of frequency. We use every with words like minute, hour, day, week, month and year:

  • There is a big celebration every year.
  • We have a meeting twice every week.
  • I usually go home once every two months.
  • There is a leap year every four years.

We also use every with days of the week and months of the year:

  • We have a meeting every Monday.
  • We go on holiday every August.

We use the phrase every other:

  • We will email you every other day(= on alternate days)
  • We go to see my mother every other week(= in alternate weeks)

We use phrases with once, twice, three times, four times, etc. and a period of time:

  • I go swimming twice a week.
  • I see my old school friends four or five times a year.


We use how often and ever to ask questions about frequencyhow often comes at the beginning of the clause:

  • How oftendo you go to the cinema?
  • How oftenhave you been here?

ever comes before the main verb:

  • Do you evergo to the cinema at the weekend?
  • Have you everbeen there?




‘still’ and ‘no longer’, ‘already’ and ‘yet’


We use still to show that something continues up to a time in the past, present or future. It goes in front of the main verb:

  • Even when my father was 65, he still enjoyedplaying tennis.
  • It’s past midnight but she’s still doingher homework.
  • I won’t be at work next week. We’ll still beon holiday.

or after the present simple or past simple of be:

  • Her grandfather has been very ill, but he isstill
  • We tried to help them, but they werestill


no longer

We use no longer to show the idea of something stopping in the past, present or future. It goes in front of the main verb:

  • At that moment, I realised that I no longerloved
  • We no longerlive in England. We’ve moved to France.
  • From midnight tonight, Mr Jones will no longer bethe president.

or after the present simple or past simple of be:

  • Sadly, Andrew and Bradley areno longer  They had an argument.
  • It wasno longer safe to stay in the country. We had to leave immediately.

In a negative sentence, we use any longer or any more. It goes at the end of the sentence:

  • We don’t live in England any longer.
  • It wasn’tsafe to stay in the country any more.


We use already to show that something has happened sooner than it was expected to happen. It goes in front of the main verb:

  • The car is OK. I’ve alreadyfixed
  • It was early but they were alreadysleeping.

or after the present simple or past simple of be:

  • It was early but we werealready
  • We arealready

Sometimes already comes at the end of the sentence for emphasis:

  • It’s very early but they are sleeping already.
  • It was early but we were tired already.
  • When we got there, most people had arrived already.



We use yet in a negative or interrogative clause, usually with perfective aspect (especially in British English), to show that something has not happened by a particular timeyet comes at the end of a sentence:

  • It was late, but they hadn’t arrived yet.
  • Have you fixed the car yet?
  • She won’t have sent the email yet.

Adverbials of probability

We use adverbials of probability to show how certain we are about something. The commonest adverbials of probability are:

certainly definitely maybe possibly
clearly obviously  perhaps probably

maybe and perhaps usually come at the beginning of the clause:

  • Perhaps the weather will be fine.
  • Maybe it won’t rain.

Other adverbs of possibility usually come in front of the main verb:

  • He is certainly comingto the party.
  • Will they definitelybe there?
  • We will possiblycome to England next year.

or after the present simple or past simple of be:

  • They aredefinitely at home.
  • She wasobviously very surprised.

But these adverbs sometimes come at the beginning of a clause for emphasis:

  • Obviously,she was very surprised.
  • Possibly we will come to England next year.


Comparative and superlative adverbs

Comparative adverbs


We can use comparative adverbs to show change or make comparisons:


  • I forget things more often
  • She began to speak more quickly.
  • They are working harder 

We often use than with comparative adverbs:

  • I forget things more often than I used to.
  • Girls usually work harder than 

We use these words and phrases as intensifiers with comparatives:

much far a lot quite a lot
a great deal a good deal a good bit a fair bit

I forget things much more often nowadays.

We use these words and phrases as mitigators:

a bit  slightly rather
a little a little bit just a little bit

She began to speak a bit more quickly.

Superlative adverbs


We can use superlative adverbs to make comparisons:

  • His ankles hurt badly, but his knees hurt worst.
  • It rainsmost often at the beginning of the year.

We use these words and phrases as intensifiers with superlatives:

easily by far much

When we intensify a superlative adverb, we often put the in front of the adverb:

  • In our office, Jill worksby far the hardest.
  • Of the three brothers, Brianeasily runs the fastest.


How to form comparative and superlative adverbs

We make comparative and superlative adverbs using the same rules as for comparative and superlative adjectives. For example:

One syllable: Jill works fast. > faster > fastest
One syllable ending in –e: They arrived late. > later > latest
Two or more syllables: Alan finished the test quickly. > more quickly > most quickly
wellShe speaks English well. > better > best
badlyShe speaks German badly. > worse > worst
farHe’ll go far. > farther/further > farthest/furthest


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