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 takes place. They provide information about the location or position of something.

Adverbs of place modify the verb in a sentence and provide information about location. 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.

Interrogative Adverbs of Place

Here is a list of the interrogative adverbs of place:

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

Whence does the 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 placed after an intransitive main verb or after the object of a transitive verb. Usually, they appear 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' to emphasize the 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 being described. For example:

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 the place being described. For example:

Here, we have a beautiful artefact from 1939.

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

Adverbs of Place: Structure

While most adverbs of place are technically prepositional phrases that function as adverbials of place, some adverbs of place are flat adverbs (also called simple adverbs or bare adverbs) that consist of only one word, such as 'here', 'there', 'upstairs', 'downstairs', and so on.

I went upstairs and took a shower.

A flat adverb

He was standing by the stairs.

A prepositional phrase functioning as adverb

Adverbs of Place as Prepositions

Many adverbs of place can also be used as prepositions. When used as prepositions, they must be followed by a noun. For example:

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. For example:

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 describe direction, indicating which way someone or something is moving or pointing. For example:

She waved as she drove past.

They always go abroad for their holidays.

Tip

'Toward' and 'towards' are both adverbs used to indicate that something is moving or pointing in the direction of something else. The only difference between them is the letter 's'. In the United States and Canada, 'toward' is more commonly used, while in other English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, 'towards' is more prevalent.

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 or proximity of something, that is, how far or how close something is. For example:

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. For example:

They embarked on a homeward journey.

The leaves fell from branches in a downward movement.

Adverbs of Place: Suffix -where

Adverbs of place which end in the suffix -where indicate an indefinite location rather than a specific one. For example:

It's got to be around here somewhere.

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

Here and There

'Here' and 'there' are two of the most common adverbs of place, indicating a location that is relevant to the speaker rather than another subject or object in the sentence. 'Here' expresses a place that is near or with the speaker, while 'there' indicates a location that is away from or not with the speaker. pay attention to the examples:

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. For example:

Here comes the bride!

There goes the plane!

Adverbial and Dummy 'There'

'There' as a 'dummy pronoun' is usually followed by a verb and does not give further information about something. On the contrary, 'adverbial' 'there' can be added to a pronoun and is used as an adverb of place to indicate the location of an action or event. It tells us where something is happening in a sentence. Take a look at the examples:

There he is.

Here, 'there' is adverbial because it is added to a pronoun.

She is there.

Adverbial

There are many small rooms in this hotel.

Here, 'there' is a dummy pronoun because it is followed by a verb.

Adverbs as Subject Complements

Some adverbs, particularly adverbs of place, can be used as predicative subject complements in a sentence. 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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