Grammar: Adverbs

Posted December 13, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Adverbs are getting dumped on these days. “Everyone” is condemning those adverbs that end in -ly, saying writers should be more creative in their writing. That they shouldn’t need to write slowly or quietly or, ahem, quickly, lol…you get the picture.

Admittedly there are a few adverbs that are abused to hell and gone. Really. There truly are very many adverbs that are really, really overused.

Grammar Explanations is…

…an evolving list of the structural rules and principles that determines where words are placed in phrases or sentences as well as how the language is spoken.

If you’d like to track it, bookmark this page. Consider sharing this Grammar Explanation with friends by tweeting it. And if you have any suggestions or questions about interrupters or other grammar bombs, talk to me.

Adverb
Credit to: Purdue OWL; Bruckmyer, 44; Richard Nordquist; Wilson, 26
Definition: A part of speech that provides a greater description to a verb, adjective, another adverb, a phrase, a clause or a sentence (Your Dictionary.com). Words that add information to:

  • Describe or modify adjectives, other adverbs, verbs, or whole sentences
  • Tells to what degree the “how”, “when”, “where”, “why”, and “to what extent” — how hard, how fast, how late…
Post Contents:
List of Adverbs
Positioning Adverbs
Adverb Agreement

TYPES OF ADVERBS:

Return to top

Rule: There are no hard-and-fast rules about which words are adverbs; it depends on if it affects the word. How the reader perceives the verb.
Adverbs / Adverbials Adjectives
Adverb – describes an adjective, adverb, or verb

Adverbial – part of a sentence which performs a certain function, but not necessarily an adverb (Richard Nordquist)

Adjective – describes a noun

An adjective will never modify an adverb.

Examples:
He ran really fast. He ran real fast.
The 8:45 a.m. train arrived early.

“Early” describes when the train arrived, modifying the verb.

The early train arrives at 8:45 a.m.

“Early” describes the noun, the train.

The quarterback threw the football hard.

How did he throw the football? Hard, modifying “throw”.

The quarterback threw a hard pass to the receiver.

What kind of pass was it? Hard, modifying the noun.

She played extremely well.

The verb is “played” and how did she play? “Extremely well”, an emphasizer adverb modifying another adverb: “extremely” and “well”.

That woman is extremely nice.

How nice is she? “Extremely” is an adverb modifying “nice”, which is an adjective modifying “woman”, the noun.

Legend:

  1. Blue indicates the adjective
  2. Green indicates the adverb/adverb phrase
Partial List of Adverbs
Not ending
in -ly
Most end in -ly Words ending in -ly that are NOT adverbs
afterwards
again
all but
almost
already
always
atop of
well
better
best
fast
for sure
hard
how
just
kind of
last month
late
little
less
least
much
more
most
now
often
on
only
quick
quite
seldom
sharp
slow
soon
sometimes
sort of
still
that
then
there
to some extent
twice
very
when
wrong
yesterday
bimonthly
biweekly
frequently
generally
hardly ever
immediately
lately
monthly
nearly
nearly always
never
occasionally
quickly
rarely
really
slowly
softly
usually
weekly
cowardly
friendly
ghastly
homely
leisurely
lonely
lovely
motherly
neighborly
scholarly

Also see the list of conjunctive adverbs.

Cautions: Pay attention to the following problem areas with adverbs (Bruckmyer, 47):

  • Use a real adverb
  • Is really or very truly needed? I mean, really?
  • Ensure that the adverb is positioned to reflect what you mean

Return to top

Positioning Adverbs
Huh, What? How About…
These flowers only bloom for a day.

Makes it sound like the flowers just bloom. They don’t do anything else.

These flowers bloom only for a day.

These flowers bloom for one day only.

She was only a woman with one goal in mind: med school.

Excuse me? Only a woman?

She was a woman with only one goal in mind: med school.

She has one thing she intends to do in her life.

Marie offered only to pick him up on Fridays.

She’s only offering chauffeur service. She’s not going to bring his lunch or do any errands.

Marie offered to pick him up on Fridays only.

She’s only offering to get him on Fridays.

I almost swam 15 miles when I was training for the Iron Man.

Poor guy just didn’t feel like swimming that day.

I swam almost 15 miles

He didn’t quite swim 15 miles, only *eye roll* 14+.

What are you still doing here?

Well, if you want to be offensive…

Why are you still here?

Aren’t you ever going home?

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb and affected word/phrase
Positioning Provides Finer Shades of Meaning
The Sentence What It’s Saying
I just want you to eat the crackers in the opened box. That’s all I want you to do, just eat the damned crackers.
I want just you to eat the crackers in the opened box. Don’t offer any to anyone else.
I want you to eat just the crackers in the opened box. Don’t eat crackers from unopened boxes.
I learned that rock superstar Kurt Cobain had died on CBS. Yup, right there on TV. They musta’ been interviewing him or somethin’.
I learned on CBS that rock superstar Kurt Cobain had died. Makes a difference, doesn’t it?
They economically competed with each other. They were careful in how they spent the money.
They competed economically with each other.

Credit to: Michael Brady

They were business rivals.
There was no water I could safely drink. Ick, must have been some nasty water around.
There was no water I could drink safely.

Credit to: Michael Brady

Maybe the person was driving…

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb/adverb phrase
  2. Orange indicates the word/phrase being modified
Royal Order of Adverbs
The Capital Community College Foundation (CCC) refers to a “royal order”, a basic order, in which “adverbs will appear when there is more than one adverb”:

Subject-Predicate + Manner + Place + Frequency + Time + Purpose

CCC goes on to note that it’s “highly unusual to have a string of [such] adverbial modifiers beyond two or three (at the most). [That] … the placement of adverbs is so flexible, one or tow of the modifiers would probably move to the beginning of the sentence … [and such an] introductory adverbial modifier … [would be] set off with a comma.”

Subject-Predicate Manner Place Frequency Time Purpose
Sherri sews happily in her studio every morning before breakfast to get her quilt done.
Henry bags slowly in the backyard every afternoon after lunch to finish cleaning up the weeds he pulled.
Libby reads in bed every evening before sleeping.
Short Comes Before Long Principle: Shorter adverbial phrases come before longer adverbial phrases, no matter the content (Capital Community College Foundation).

Return to top

Marie takes a quick swim before breakfast every morning in the summer.

In the usual “royal order”, frequency would come before time, but the frequency adverbial phrase is longer.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb of time
  2. Blue indicates the adverb of frequency
More Specific Comes First Principle: More specific adverbial phrases [in the royal order] come first. (Capital Community College Foundation).

Return to top

My grandmother was born in a sod house on the plains of northern Nebraska.

“In a sod house” is more location-specific than “on the plains”.

Helen said yes to a date for next Friday.

Helen is quite specific about going out with this person, at some time next Friday.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the more specific adverbial phrase
  2. Blue indicates the less specific
Moving Modifier to the Front Principle: Moving an adverbial modifier to the start of the sentence places a particular emphasis on that modifier. An especially useful technique with adverbs of manner (Capital Community College Foundation).

Return to top

Slowly, ever so carefully, Jesse filled the coffee cup to the brim.

Occasionally, but only occasionally, the paper boy gets the paper up on the porch.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the introductory modifier
Adverb Agreement
Rule: Pay attention to whether your nouns are singular or plural, as the adverb must also be singular or plural.

For more complete information on words and phrases used with countable and uncountable nouns, see Quantifier.

Return to top

Partial List of Adverbs to Use with…
Countable Nouns Uncountable Nouns Degree
a lot
enough
few
fewer
lots
many, more
not enough
too few
too many
a lot
enough
lots
much, more
not enough
too little
too much
a little
a little bit
enough
not very
pretty
quite
rather
so
too
very
Types of Adverbs are:
Adverb of Attitude Definition: Expresses the writer’s attitude toward the state or action described in the sentence.

Return to top

Rule: Usually refers to the entire clause or sentence and not just a particular word or phrase.

  • Beginning or end of a clause
  • Before the subject of the sentence
  • Immediately before a verb
  • Before a complement

Adverbs of attitude may also function as adverbs of manner.

Partial List of Adverbs of Attitude
clearly
fortunately
frankly
hopefully
luckily
obviously
sadly
unfortunately
unluckily
Examples:
Frankly, I don’t think we’ll win.

I don’t think we’ll win, frankly.

He obviously doesn’t want to come.

She’s clearly the best person for the job.

Clearly, it’s a question of choice.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb of attitude
Adverb of Certainty Definition: Expresses how certain we feel about an action or event.

Credit to: EduFind.com

Return to top

Rule: The adverb of certainty goes before the main verb unless…

  • The main verb is to be, in which case, place it after the main verb
  • There is an auxiliary verb, then place it between the auxiliary and the main verb
  • Sometimes placed at the beginning of the sentence
  • Surely is at the beginning of a sentence, it means the speaker thinks something is true, but is looking for confirmation
Partial List of Adverbs of Certainty
certainly
definitely
probably surely
undoubtedly
Examples:
Mark definitely left his lunch behind again.

Surely he won’t talk about this?

He probably won’t get to it.

She certainly doesn’t understand the first thing about this!

It surely is time to go.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb of certainty
Adverb of Focus Definition: Concentrates the attention on what is being said or highlights specific information. It tends to limit the sense of the sentence or act as an additive.

Return to top

CAUTION: The meaning of these adverbs will depend upon the context in which they’re used as each has their own special features and grammatical requirements.
Partial List of Adverbs of Focus
Highlights Specific Information Restricts Refers to Other parts of the Text
especially
even
particularly
just
merely
only
also
either…or
too
Examples:
She received an A just for coming to class

She won a blue ribbon in addition to taking the Best of Show award.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb of focus
Adverbs of Frequency Definition: How often something is done or happens: indicates routine or repeat activities.

When used as an adverb of definite frequency, it describes daily, weekly, or yearly activities.

Return to top

Rule: An adverb of frequency goes:

  • Before a main verb, but after the subject
  • After a to be main verb
  • Between an auxiliary verb and the main verb OR the to be verb
  • Indicate routine or repeat activities, use with present simple tense
  • Used in the negative or as a question, use it before the main verb
Partial List of Adverbs of Frequency
again
almost
always
bimonthly
biweekly
ever
frequently
generally
hardly ever
monthly
nearly
nearly always
never
normally
now and again
occasionally
often
rarely
seldom
sometimes
twice
usually
weekly
Examples:
He never takes out the garbage.

She often goes by herself.

She’s always nagging the poor guy.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb of frequency
  2. Orange indicates the verb being modified
Adverbs of Indefinite Frequency Definition: Doesn’t specify an exact time frame.

Rule: Primarily use in the:

  • Mid position of a sentence and before the main verb — but after a to be verb
  • * can go at the beginning or end of a sentence
  • ** can go to the end of a sentence and often with a very

Return to top

List of Adverbs of Indefinite Frequency
hardly ever
infrequently
occasionally *
rarely **
seldom **
sometimes *
Examples:
Sometimes he takes the bus.

Our family seldom eats together.

She rarely goes out to eat, as she prefers to cook at home.

Adverbs of Manner Definition: How something is done or happens

Return to top

Rule: When the adverb modifies a(n):

  • Adjective, it modifies the quality or character of the adjective and is placed before the adjective
  • Verb, it tells how the action or activity is performed and is usually placed after the verb
  • Clause, it expresses the attitude of the speaker on the content of the clause and is placed before the clause
Partial List of Adverbs of Manner
badly
cautiously
closely
extraordinarily
fast
fortunately
happily
hard
illegally
properly
purposely
quickly
regretfully
sadly
silently
slowly
Examples:
She spoke easily and moved smoothly.

He drove quickly.

She worked purposefully.

She was happily engaged in unwrapping her presents.

Fortunately, he was only pretending to be mad.I can see him quite clearly.

I would like to speak to you frankly.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb of manner
  2. Orange indicates the word/clause being modified
Negative Adverbs Definition: Creates a negative meaning in a sentence without the use of the usual no, not, neither, nor, or never constructions.

A.k.a., negator

Return to top

CAUTION: Be careful that a double negative is not created when using negative adverbs.
Partial List of Negatives
Negative Adverbs Negative Verbs
barely
ever
hardly
little
neither
never
no
nor
not
nowhere
rarely
scarcely
seldom
can’t
couldn’t
doesn’t
don’t
isn’t
shouldn’t
wasn’t
won’t
wouldn’t
Examples:
He comes over so seldom these days.

I’m worried about Dana. She hardly eats anything since she got to high school.

Rarely can anyone stay awake through Empire.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the negative adverb
Adverbs of Place Definition: Where something is done or happens or expresses movement in a particular direction

Rule: Use it after the verb, after the object, or at the end of a sentence.

Return to top

Rule: * Adverbs, that may be prepositions as well, always modify a verb.
Partial List of Adverbs of Place
above *
abroad
anywhere
around *
backward(s)
behind *
below *
down *
downhill
downstairs
everywhere
here
homeward(s)
in *
indoors
nowhere
off *
on *
outside *
over *
over there
sideways
somewhere
there
under *
uphill
upstairs
upward(s)
upwardly
westward(s)
Examples:
They have lived on a houseboat for the past six years.

I don’t agree with you there.

Nope, been there, done that.

Let’s stop here and look at the antiques.

The sailor went below deck.

She went back to the jewelry counter.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb of place
  2. Orange indicates the word/phrase being modified
Adverb of Purpose Definition: Expresses the reason for an action or its purpose or the level or extent that something is done or happens: the action’s intensity, how much it is, or modifies the quality or character of the adjective.

To put it simpler, it answers the question why.

A.k.a., adverbs of reasons

Return to top

Rule: Should is the only auxiliary verb that can go after lest. Use modal auxiliary verbscan or may — after so that and in order that. Be careful NOT to use rather with absolute words.
Partial List of Adverbs of Purpose
accidentally
almost
because
enough
consequently
excessively
extremely
hence
in case
in order that
in order to
intentionally
just
lest
much
nearly
on account of
purposely
quite
rather *
really
since
so
so as not to
so as to
so that
that
therefore
thus
to
too
very
Examples:
Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb of purpose
  2. Orange indicates the word being modified

He talks too much.

He talks really well.

He is very chatty.

It was raining too hard to go out.

Watch it! You nearly hit that dog!

She drives her car slowly, so she’s always late.

He’s still feeling very tired after running that 25k.

Adverb of Quantity Definition: Expresses how much or how many of something you have.

Return to top

Rule: Used with countable or noncountable nouns.

In addition, some adverbs are best used with negative sentences, others are best with positive sentences, and some can be used in both.

Partial List of Adverbs of Quantity
Used with Negative Sentences Used with Positive Sentences Used with Both
much a bit
a little
a lot
all
any
both
each
enough
every
few
fewer
little
lesser
lots of
many
more
most
numerous
several
some
Examples:
Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb of quantity

I don’t get a lot of action these days.

I got a lot of presents this year.

Helen knows a little about gardening.

I haven’t been getting much done lately.

Adverbs of Time Definition: Tells when something is done or happens.

Rule: Use it at the beginning or end of a sentence; if used at the beginning, it acts as an emphasis.

Return to top

Partial List of Adverbs of Time
afterwards
already
always
before
continually
currently
early
immediately
just
last [month]next [week]now
presently
recently
since
soon
that [Friday]then
tomorrow
yesterday
Examples:
Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb of time
  2. Orange indicates the word/phrase being modified.

I hope she gets here before the party starts.

Mary Louise, get in here right now.

Henry left early to catch his train.

Georgie ate all his Halloween candy first.

Adverbs of Viewpoint Definition: Does NOT tell how an action occurs. What viewpoint adverbs do is tells us about a speaker’s viewpoint, their opinion about an action, or make a comment on the action.

Return to top

Commenting and viewpoint adverbs modify entire clauses rather than single verbs, adverbs, or adjectives with no real distinction between commenting adverbs and viewpoint adverbs, except in their sentence placement (EduFind.com).

Rule: Viewpoint or commenting adverbs are mostly placed at the beginning of a sentence, before the main verb, and rarely at the end of a sentence.

Viewpoint adverbs are usually separated from the rest of the sentence with commas.

Commenting adverbs are placed before the main verb and are also, sometimes, separated from the rest of the sentence by commas.

Partial List of Adverbs of Viewpoint
bravely
carelessly
certainly
clearly
cleverly
confidentially
definitely
disappointingly
foolishly
fortunately
generously
kindly
luckily
naturally
obviously
personally
presumably
seriously
simply
stupidly
surely
technically
theoretically
thoughtfully
truthfully
unbelievably
undoubtedly
unfortunately
wisely
Examples:
Foolishly, they set out to see the Wizard.

They foolishly set out to see the Wizard.

They set out to see the Wizard, foolishly.


Obviously, I am reading.

I am obviously reading.

I am reading, obviously.


Kindly, she gave the homeless man shelter.

She kindly gave the homeless man shelter.

She gave the homeless man shelter, kindly.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb of viewpoint
Comparative Superlative
Definition: Shows a degree of comparison between two people, places, or things. Definition:
Compares three or more people, places, or things. It indicates that the action performed is to the greatest or least degree within a group or of its kind. They are sometimes preceded by the word the but not always.
Rule: Add -er to create a one syllable comparative adverb. Rule: Add -est to create a one syllable superlative adverb.
better
faster
greater
harder
smoother
thicker
best
fastest
greatest
hardest
smoothest
thickest
Rule: More than one syllable adverbs use less or more to create a comparative adverb Rule: More than one syllable adverbs use least or most to create a superlative adverb
more carefully
less slowly
more boldly
most carefully
least slowly
most boldly
Rule: There are irregular adverbs as well; this is English after all.
Base Adverb Comparative Adverb Superlative Adverb
badly worse worst
early earlier earliest
far farther, further farthest, furthest
little less least
much more most
well better best

Return to top

Examples:

The goat can see better than you think.

better – comparative of well

The goat can see the best of the three.

best – superlative of well

Try to paint the edges more carefully; it will save time later.

more carefully – comparative of carefully

Jeez, Tom painted the edges the least carefully.

least carefully – superlative of carefully

He tries harder than most, but he has no aptitude for languages.

harder – comparative of hard

Because he tries the hardest of them all, he does the best.

hardest – superlative of hard;
best – superlative of well

The engine operates less efficiently with alcohol.

less efficiently – comparative of efficiently

Return to top

The engine operates the least efficiently with water.

least efficiently – superlative of efficiently

Expressing Equality or Sameness
Rule: Use the as … as construction to create adverbs that express equality or sameness.
Examples:
He runs as slow as his cousin.

She paints as well as her mother.

One company’s customer service is as bad as the other’s.

Interrogative Adverb Definition: Adverb that asks the questions: how, when, where, why

Return to top

Why are you so late?

How are you doing?

When will you get here?

Relative Adverb Definition: Introduces a relative clause, a.k.a., an adverbial clause, that starts with an adverb.

Return to top

List of Relative Adverbs &
How They’re Used
Formal Structure of Preposition + which Informal Adverb Used… Example
in
on which
when
whenever
Refers to an expression of time: day, month, hour, minutes, …the night on which when we went out.
in
at which
where
wherever
Refers to a place …the place at which where we met Rufus.
for which why Refers to a reason, the purpose …the reason for which why we arrested him.
Adverbials
Adjunctive Adverb Definition: Adverb or adverbial phrase that expresses a writer’s or speaker’s attitude to the content of the sentence in which it occurs or places the sentence in a particular context.

A.k.a., adjunct

Return to top

Rule: Fits neatly into the flow of a sentence.
Partial List of Adjunctive Adverbs
frankly
obviously
politically technically
too
Examples:
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Politically speaking, he’s too hot to handle.

Well, technically, you’re not supposed to work on those computers.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the grammar

Conjunctive Adverb Definition: A function word that connects two independent clauses

A.k.a., conjunct, adverbial conjunction, connecting adverb, transitional devices

Return to top

Rule: The ideas need not exist in the same sentence. See the rules on how and when to punctuate a sentence using adverbs.
Partial List of Conjunctive Adverbs
after all
after a while
afterward
again
all in all
also
although
altogether
and then
and yet
as a result
as an illustration
as has been said
as long as
at last
at length
at that time
at the same time
before
before that
besides
briefly
but at the same time
by contrast
certainly
concurrently
consequently
despite that
earlier
equally important
even
even so
even though
eventually
finally
for all that
for example
for instance
formerly
further
furthermore
granted
hence
however*
in a word
in addition
in brief
in conclusion
in contrast
indeed*
in fact
in other words
in particular
in short
in simpler terms
in spite of
instead
in summary
in the first place
in the past
in the same way
it is true
last
lately
later
likewise
meanwhile
momentarily
moreover
namely
naturally
nevertheless
next
nonetheless
notwithstanding
now
nowadays
of course
on the contrary
on the other hand
on the whole
otherwise
presently
previously
really
regardless
shortly
similarly
simultaneously
since
so far
soon
specifically
still
subsequently
that is
then
thereafter
therefore
though
thus
to illustrate
too
to put it differently
to summarize
truly
until
until now
when
yet
Includes:

  • First, second, third, etc.
  • Firstly, secondly, thirdly — lastly, etc.
  • These words may also be interrupters, in which case, they would not be a conjunctive adverb.
Examples:
If they start smoking those awful cigars, then I’m not staying.

We’ve told the landlord about this ceiling again and again, and yet he’s done nothing to fix it.

Jose has spent years preparing for this event; nevertheless, he’s the most nervous person here.

I love this school; however, I don’t think I can afford the tuition.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the conjunctive adverb
Disjunctive Adverb Definition: Makes a comment on the meaning of the rest of the sentence.

CAUTION: Does not fit into the flow of the clause and is often set off by a comma or set off with commas.

A.k.a., disjunct, sentence adverb, sentence modifier, adverbial disjunct

Return to top

Rule: Modifies the verb or the entire clause.

Partial List of Disjunctive Adverbs
frankly seriously surprisingly
Examples:
Frankly, Martha, I don’t give a hoot.

Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Adverbial Genitive Definition: Very few adverbial genitives are left, as it has mostly gone out of fashion with a few holdovers from Old and Middle English.

Return to top

Current Adverbial Genitives
(Adds a -t)
Former Adv. Gen. are Now Ordinary Adverbs Originally Formed From
always all way
afterwards
towards
From their counterparts in -ward, which historically were adjectives
once
twice
thrice
The roots of one, two, and three
hence
thence
whence
Related to the roots of here, there, and where
alongst along
amidst amid
amongst among
midst mid
whilst while
The adverbial genitive still exists in some stock phrases that have a literary feel or exist in isolated and mountainous regions of the southern United States.

For example:
“I work days and sleep nights” with the genitive adverbial being the words days and nights.

The modern British expression “Of an afternoon I go for a walk”

Adverbial Intensifier, a.k.a., Adverb of Degree Definition: Describes the quality of the action: its strength or weakness.

There are four types of intensifiers:

  1. Amplifier
  2. Downtoner
  3. Emphasizer
  4. Premodifier
Amplifier Definition: Words that enlarge the meaning of the word

Return to top

Partial List of Amplifier Adverbs
absolutely
completely
heartily
so
totally
undoubtedly
well
Examples:
That dress is absolutely amazing on you.

That movie completely scared the pants off me.

The New England Patriots played so well at the Superbowl.

Downtoner Definition: Words that play down, tone down, or downtone the actions of verbs.

Return to top

Partial List of Downtoner Adverbs
all but
kind of
mildly
not so much
simply
sort of
to some extent
Examples:
She all but swallowed that sundae in one bite.

The weather was mildly warm.

It was, you know, kind of okay.

Emphasizer Definition: Words that make the verb stronger. Emphasizers would include such words as certainly, obviously, really, simply, literally, for sure.

Return to top

Partial List of Emphasizer Adverbs
certainly
for sure
literally
obviously
really
simply
Examples:
I didn’t mean you should literally crack the case.

I would really like a chocolate milkshake.

Tackling Mt. Everest would certainly be a challenging climb.

Premodifier Definition: Words that appear before a verb and changes its emphasis. They may also modify or change the meaning of an adverb.

Return to top

Partial List of Premodifier Adverbs
all the
quite
rather very
Examples:
The hypnotherapy session went quite well, I thought.

The wheel turned very slowly at first.

The Ferrari moved rather quickly.

Clause and/or Phrase
Adverbial Clause Definition: A dependent clause with a subject and a verb used as an adverb within a sentence to indicate time, place, condition, contrast, concession, reason, purpose, or result (Richard Nordquist).

Return to top

Rule: An adverb clause can be defining, a.k.a., restrictive or essential, (and required to identify the noun it’s attached to) or it can be non-defining, a.k.a., nonrestrictive or nonessential, (just provides extra information).
This part of the park is beautiful in the spring when the tulips are blooming.

When we finish the dishes, we can go to the movies.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the adverb clause
Adverbial Phrase Definition: When a group of words not containing a subject and verb acts as an adverb.

There are two types of adverbial phrases:

  1. Infinitive Phrase
  2. Prepositional Phrase
Infinitive Adverb Phrase Definition: Acts as an adverb telling why

Return to top

Examples:
Paul Revere rode that night to warn the patriots.

He hurried to the airport to pick up his girlfriend.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the infinitive phrase that answers why
Prepositional Adverb Phrase Definition: A prepositional phrase which provides information on the “how”, “when”, “where”, or “why” of an adjective, another adverb, or a verb (Bruckmyer, 44).

Return to top

Examples:
The boy hopped over the fence.

Describes “hopped”


The dark lake was beautiful in a sinister way.

Describes “beautiful”


The thief ran around the corner and vanished.

Tells where he “ran”


I go to McDonald’s for breakfast when I’m feeling glum.

Describes why

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the prepositional adverb phrase

One response to “Grammar: Adverbs

Leave a Reply