Adverbs are one of the most powerful tools in the English language. They can add subtlety and nuance to your writing, making it more vivid and expressive. But they can also be tricky to use correctly, so understanding how adverbs work is an important part of mastering English grammar.
In this reference, we’ll take a look at what are adverbs, where they fit into sentences, and some adverb usage examples that will help you understand them better. With these tips in hand, you’ll soon be able to use English with confidence!
Adverb definition and examples
What are adverbs? They’re words that modify or describe a verb, adjective, or another adverb. This means that it tells you when something happens or how something happens – for a common example of adverb, try: “I quickly closed the door”; “He writes beautifully”; “She spoke quietly.”
There are many adverb examples that can help you speak clearly. The most common use is to tell you when an action happens: yesterday, now, tonight, soon. You might also encounter these adverbs of time in their comparative form – one such common example of adverb is the word “sooner”. Other common adverbs include those of place (here, there), degree (very, quite), and manner (slowly, carefully).
So what is the best way to use adverbs in English? Place them as closely as possible to what they modify or describe – for example: “We visited my brother last weekend!”
What is an adverb phrase? It's a combination of a main adverb and other words that add extra context to how an action is taking place. For example: “She spoke very softly”; “He worked quickly”; “We will see them soon”; or “He drives extremely carefully.”
Adverb phrases can be composed of single words (e.g., quickly) or multiple words (e.g., in a hurry). When multiple words are used to form an adverb phrase, it may include prepositions such as in, on, off, by, for, from, and with. Adverbs themselves can be modified by adjectives (e.g., beautifully) or other adverbs (e.g., really slowly).
The primary purpose of adverb phrases is to provide more precise details about the action being described. They can also help lend a more vivid description and bring life to your writing by creating imagery that readers can visualize more easily. To achieve this effect effectively, it is important to choose the right adverbs and use them appropriately in your sentences.
6 kinds of adverbs
There are different ways to modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They include adverbs and adverb phrases of time (such as "today," "yesterday," and "tomorrow"), adverbs of place ("above" and "nearby"), adverbs of manner ("happily," "slowly," and "carefully"), frequency (“often” and “rarely”), and adverbs of degree ("very" and "not at all").
Lastly, there are conjunctive adverbs that connect words and phrases together. These are words like “moreover,” “furthermore,” “besides,” and so on.
So, there are 6 types of adverbs you need to know:
- Adverbs of time
- Adverbs of place
- Adverbs of manner
- Adverbs of frequency
- Adverbs of degree
- Conjunctive adverbs
Find more detailed adverbs examples and many useful words in this reference!
Adverbs of Time
Some of the most common adverbs in English, they’re used to tell us when something happens and can often be seen as the answer to questions such as “when?” or “how long?”. Adverbs of time can be either single words such as ‘now’, ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’, or adverb phrases such as ‘just now’ and ‘for the foreseeable future’.
They can also include comparative forms such as sooner and more quickly which can help emphasize how fast something happens. In addition, adverbs of time may also contain intensifiers such as 'immediately' which adds emphasis to the action being described. These types of modifiers are very helpful in describing the timeframe of an event without having to use lengthy explanations.
Moreover, some adverbs of time can also be used to express habitual actions or general truths with words like 'always', 'usually' or 'often'. For example, using "He usually wakes up at 7am" rather than "He wakes up at 7am every day" helps make your writing more concise and interesting.
10 common adverbs of time:
Adverbs of Place
Adverbs of place are words that describe location, direction or position in relation to other objects. They can either be single adverb words such as “here”, “there”, and “everywhere”; or they can be adverb phrases with prepositional phrases such as “in front of” and “next to”. Adverbs of place modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.
Another example of when to use an adverb of place is with reflexive pronouns (e.g., myself) for added emphasis and clarity: “I took these photos myself”; “We made this cake ourselves”; or “The kids drew these pictures by themselves".
Lastly, when talking about movement and direction with verbs like come and go (as well as their synonyms), it is more common to use two-word adverb phrases rather than single-word adverbs: “She went inside” instead of “She went in”; “He came outside” rather than “He came out”; “She arrived home” but not “She arrived back.”
10 common adverbs of place:
Adverbs of manner
Adverbs of manner are words that describe the way in which something is done. They answer questions such as “how?” or “in what way?”. These adverbs can be used to describe an action, its speed, or the attitude with which it was done. Adverbs of manner also have comparative forms such as more slowly and less quickly which help to emphasize how fast or slow something happens.
Common adverbs of manner include words like ‘quickly’, ‘happily’, ‘angrily’ and ‘carefully’. For example, if you wanted to emphasize how quickly someone ran you could say: "He ran quickly." Adverbs of manner can also describe attitudes and emotions; for example: "She sang beautifully," or "He spoke confidently".
Moreover, adverbs of manner often contain intensifiers for added emphasis such as 'very' or 'really'. Intensifiers are usually placed before the adverb: "She really sang beautifully," or "He very confidently spoke". These modifiers make your sentences more vivid and descriptive.
Adverbs of manner can also be combined with other words to create phrases that are more detailed and specific; for example: 'carefully sifted', 'eagerly awaited', and 'lovingly prepared'. Another way they can be used is to make comparisons between different actions; for example: “I ran faster than him.”
10 common adverbs of manner:
Adverbs of frequency
Adverbs of frequency are words which denote how often something is done. They show the repetition or rate of an action, and can be used with both present and past tense verbs. They answer questions such as “how often?” or “how many times?”. For example, if you wanted to express that something happens every day you could use the adverb 'daily'.
Common adverbs of frequency include words like 'always', 'usually', 'often', 'sometimes' and 'never'. These adverbs may be placed at the beginning or end of your sentence depending on what you're trying to say; for example: "I always get up early" or "I get up early always". Adverbs of frequency are also used in affirmative and negative statements; for example: "He never comes late" or "He rarely comes on time".
Moreover, adverbs of frequency can be modified with intensifiers such as 'very' or 'really' to add emphasis to an action; for example: "She very rarely speaks in class", or "He really always arrives late". When adding these modifiers it's important to remember that they usually go before the adverb; so instead of saying "She rarely very speaks in class", it should be "She very rarely speaks in class".
Lastly, when talking about habits and general truths it is more common to use adverbs of frequency than specific numbers; for example: "She often eats breakfast" rather than saying "She eats breakfast three times a week". Using adverbs makes your writing more concise while still accurately conveying what you want to say.
10 common adverbs of frequency:
Adverbs of degree
Adverbs of degree are words that indicate the extent or magnitude of an action, adjective, or another adverb. They answer questions such as “how much” or “how far” and can be used to express a wide range of intensities. Adverbs of degree include words like ‘very’, ‘quite’, ‘slightly’, and ‘absolutely’.
These types of adverbs can be used to modify adjectives and other adverbs in order to show how extreme something is; for example: "He was very tired," or "I slightly disagree". Adjectives can also be intensified by adding two or more adverbs together; for example: "He was extremely tired" or "I completely disagree". When using multiple adverbs it's important to keep the order consistent; so instead of saying "He was very extremely tired", it should be "He was extremely tired".
Moreover, adverbs of degree may also be used to add emphasis to an action; for example: "She quickly ran away" emphasizes that she ran away faster than normal. Adding these modifiers allows you to control the intensity and emphasize particular aspects of your writing. Lastly, when expressing opinions it is common to use adverbs like 'totally', 'absolutely', and 'definitely' which all express strong levels of certainty.
10 common adverbs of degree:
Conjunctive adverbs are words used to connect different parts of a sentence and help show the relationship between two ideas. They can be used to express contrast, comparison, cause and effect, or other types of relationships. Conjunctive adverbs often come at the beginning of a sentence and can be followed by either a comma or a semicolon; for example: "Consequently, he had to quit his job".
Conjunctive adverbs can also help you join two independent clauses; for example: "He wanted to go out, but it was raining". In this case, 'but' is used as an adverb that connects the two independent clauses together. Additionally, these adverbs may also be used in pairs to create emphasis on an idea; for example: "He certainly did not expect that".
Moreover, conjunctive adverbs are usually followed by a comma before they're followed by a coordinating conjunction like 'and' or 'but'; for example: "He was tired and exhausted, yet he still managed to finish the task." This type of word order helps emphasize the relationship between the two clauses. Lastly, when writing dialogue it's common to use conjunctive adverbs like ‘however’ and ‘therefore’ to express relationships between characters and their thoughts.
Using conjunctive adverbs correctly can help add complexity to your English as well as better express how one idea relates to another. Furthermore, incorporating these words into your everyday language is important in order for you to properly communicate what you want to say in any given situation. With practice you will become more familiar with using these types of words in both casual conversations and formal writing contexts.
10 common conjunctive adverbs
- In conclusion
Adverb meaning can be tricky to navigate at first, but now you should be able to easily identify and use them in English.
It’s hard to imagine never using adverbs of time such as ‘today’ and ‘now.’ Same goes for adverbs of place such as ‘here’ or ‘outside.’ Adverbs of manner such as ‘happily’ or ‘angrily’ can help express all kinds of emotions, and adverbs of frequency like ‘always’ and ‘never’ help you communicate clearly. Lastly, adverbs of degree such as ‘very’ or ‘absolutely’ can help indicate how extreme something is while conjunctive adverbs like 'however' and 'therefore' show relationships between ideas.
By incorporating these powerful words into your everyday conversations and writing, you will become more proficient in English and level up. With practice, you should have no problem expressing yourself with all 6 types of adverbs so that everyone understands you clearly!