Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place help us express where the verb is taking place. Using them will help us be more accurate about locations.

"Adverbs of Place" in the English Grammar

What Are Adverbs of Place?

Adverbs of place (also called spatial adverbs) modify a verb to tell us where an action is done.

One important thing to know about adverbs of place is that they do not modify adjectives or other adverbs.

I've never lived abroad before.

Come here for a minute.

I've lived in France my whole life.

Here is a list of the interrogative adverbs of place:

  • Where
  • Wherever
  • Wheresoever
  • Whence
  • Whereabouts
  • Wherein
  • Whereto

Whence does Parliament derive this power?

Whereabouts do you live?

Wherein lies the difference between conservatism and liberalism?

Adverbs of Place: Placement

An adverb of place is usually put after an intransitive main verb or after the object with a transitive verb. Usually, they come at the end of a clause.

He walked towards me. (after the main verb)

Please put the book here. (after the object)

To be more formal you can use adverbs that end in -ward or -wards, at the beginning or near the beginning of a sentence to emphasize the writing's formal style.

I'm glad that they are homeward bound.

Please step forward.

In 'formal' style, you can use adverbial prepositional phrases at the beginning of a sentence to emphasize the location of the place they describe.

Behind the bench, we sat and he let me cry.

Under the willow tree, he first met her.

The adverbs 'here' and 'there' are normally used at the beginning of a sentence to put emphasis on the location or direction of a place they describe.

Here, we have a beautiful artefact from 1939.

There, at the middle of the woods, a wolf awaited his prey.

Adverbs of Place: Structure

Most adverbs of place are technically adverbials of place that are prepositional phrases. But some adverbs of place are flat adverbs (also called simple adverbs or bare adverbs) which means they have one word, like 'here, there, upstairs, downstairs, etc.

I went upstairs and took a shower.

He was standing by the stairs.

Adverbs of Place: Prepositional Phrases

We can use many adverbs of place as prepositions too. When used as prepositions, they must be followed by a noun.

He put his hand into his pocket.

We walked slowly up the hill.

Adverbs of Place: Uses

Adverbs of place are used to describe location, direction, and distance.

Location

We can use adverbs of place to talk about the position of someone or something in relation to another thing or person.

My mother is cooking in the kitchen.

Let's go play outside.

using an adverb of place in a sentence

Direction

Adverbs of place can be used to talk about the direction which means they tell us in which way someone or something is moving.

She waved as she drove past.

They always go abroad for their holidays.

Tip

'Toward' and 'towards' are both adverbs that are used to indicate 'something is in the direction of something else.' The only difference between them is the letter s.
In the united states and Canada people tend to use toward, while other English speakers such as people in the united kingdom use towards.

He stood up and walked towards his daughter.

His glance kept going toward the phone.

Distance

Adverbs of place can also be used to show the distance of something, such as how close or how far something is.

She turned away and looked the other way.

He ran away from home.

Adverbs of Place: Suffix -wards

Adverbs of place ending in the suffix -wards show movement towards a particular direction or place.

homeward journey

a downward movement

Adverbs of Place: Suffix -where

Adverbs of place which end in the suffix -where express the idea of an indefinite location, rather than a specific one.

It's got to be around here somewhere.

She's looked everywhere but still couldn't find her keys.

Here and There

Two of the most common adverbs of place are 'here' and 'there.' They express a location relevant to the speaker, not another subject or object in the sentence.
'Here' expresses a place towards or with the speaker, and 'there' expresses away from, or not with the speaker.

Come on. I'm over here.

Australia? I've always wanted to go there.

Sometimes 'here' and 'there' are placed at the beginning of the sentence in exclamations for emphasis.

Here comes the bride!

There goes the plane!

What Is the Difference between Adverbial or Dummy 'There'?

'There' as a 'dummy pronoun' is usually followed by a verb and it actually does not give further information about something. On the contrary, 'adverbial' 'there' can be added to a pronoun to point out someone. So take a look at the examples:

There he is.

Here there is an adverbial 'there' because it is added to a pronoun it cannot be a dummy pronoun.

She is there.

Adverbial

There are many small rooms in this hotel.

Dummy

Adverbs of Place or Prepositions?

Many adverbs of place can have the role of a preposition in a sentence. The only difference between them is that prepositions have to be followed by a noun but adverbs do not.

He went inside.

Here, 'inside' is an adverb.

He went inside the building.

Here, 'inside' is a preposition.

Adverbs as Subject Complements

Adverbs can sometimes be used as predicative subject complements. Mostly the adverbs of place can be used in this way. For example:

Our seat is there.

Here is where the trouble starts.

Review

Adverbs of place as their name requires are used to refer to a place let us take a look at their uses:

  • to talk about the position (location)
  • to talk about direction
  • to talk about distance

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