Adverbs of Time

'Adverbs of time' give you some information about the time something happened. Using them will help us add details about time to our sentences.

"Adverbs of Time" in the English Grammar

What Are Adverbs of Time?

Adverbs of time (also called temporal adverbs) modify a verb to tell us when and for how long an action is done.
We have many adverbs of time in the English language and they are extremely common in English.

Common Adverbs of Time

The most common time adverbs are words that indicate a particular moment in the past, present, and future.

  1. past: yesterday, last year, just, before, previously, recently
  2. present: still, today, now
  3. future: tomorrow, soon, next week, later

Tip!

Do not confuse adverbs of time with adverbs of frequency. Although, they are technically the same, most instructors choose to teach them separately.

Adverbs of Time: Placement

Depending on what the adverb of time is, they can have various places in the sentence.

  • We usually put adverbs talking about when at the end of the sentence.

I couldn't watch the series yesterday.

I'll have to watch it today.

The doctor will see you now.

Adverbs talking about when naturally come at the end of a sentence, but these adverbs can be put in other positions to put emphasis on different parts.
We can place them at the beginning of the sentence or before the main verb, especially in literary contexts.

Later that night, he passed away.

Sally eventually showed up at the wedding.

using an adverb of time in a sentence

  • We usually put adverbs talking about how long at the end of the sentence.

Bake the cake for 45 minutes.

She hasn't been quite herself for a while.

They have lived in this mansion since the 1990s.

Changing the place of adverbs of time makes it more emphatic on a certain aspect of a sentence.

Soon they were in the car and ready to leave town.

She immediately contacted the authority.

Adverbs of Time: Order

Adverbs of time (also called temporal adverbs) modify a verb to tell us when and for how long an action is done.
If you want to use more than one adverb of time in a sentence, follow this order:
How long? How often? When?

I studies abroad for two months (How long?) last year (When?).

She worked in a café for three days (How long?) every week (How often?) last month (When?).

Formal Context

When it comes to formal style you can place adverbs of time at the beginning of a sentence before main verbs.

Different Types of Adverbs of Time

We have different types of adverbs of time. For example, we have adverbs of time that show:

  • a point in time (past, present, and future)

I will finish my homework tonight.

  • frequency

I've been visiting every month.

  • length of time

She stayed for 4 hours.

  • a relation between two points in time

I've already called her several times.

Review

Adverbs of time are usually used to refer to a point in time or to a length of time. adverbs of time express the following tenses and make the tense of these clauses clear.

  • past
  • present
  • future

Comments

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