What Is an Adverbial Phrase?
To put it in the simplest way, adverbial phrases are similar to adverbs: they add more information to the sentence, but an adverb can be a single word, like 'now,' 'slowly', or 'well.' However, adverbial phrases are made up of multiple words.
Adverbial Phrases: Structure
Adverbial Phrases Made with Prepositions
Adverbial phrases can be made with most kinds of prepositions. Take a look at some examples:
In summer, we often slept
Note that 'under the star' is a prepositional phrase that uses the preposition 'under' and the object 'stars.' In this case, the prepositional phrase functions as an adverb in the sentence. Since it modifies the verb, it is both a prepositional phrase and an adverbial phrase.
I arrived in Colorado
Adverbial Phrases Made with Infinitives
Some adverbial phrases can be made with the infinitive form of a verb. Most of these phrases express purpose. Take a look at these examples:
She stepped outside
I left early
Adverbial Phrases Made with Intensifiers
Another kind of adverbial phrase is made with an intensifier e.g., 'very,' 'extremely,' 'really.' Take a look at these examples:
The traffic's moving
Adverbial Phrases: Functions
Adverbial Phrases Describing When
Adverbial phrases of time describe when something happens or how often. For example:
When = The bats hunt
How often = The bats
Adverbial Phrases Describing Why
Adverbial phrases of reason describe why something is done. For example:
Why = The bats hung upside down
Adverbial Phrases Describing Where
Adverbial phrases of place describe where something happens. For example:
Where = The bats live
Adverbial Phrases Describing How
Adverbial phrases of manner describe how something is done. For example:
How = The bats fly
Adverbial Phrases: Position in a Sentence
Adverbials are normally put after the main verb.
The shop has been closed
She baked the cake
We visited our grandparents
If you want to emphasize an adverbial, you can put it at the beginning of a clause.
Adverbial Phrase vs. Adverbial Clause
An adverbial phrase is a phrase that functions as an adverb.
An adverbial clause is a dependent clause that functions as an adverb.
A clause has both a subject and a predicate, while a phrase does not.
An adverbial phrase: The game will take place
(A phrase does not contain a subject and a verb.)
An adverbial clause: The game will take place
(A clause contains a subject "both teams" and a verb "are.")
An adverbial phrase: The scene was filmed
An adverbial clause: The scene was filmed
(In this clause, the subject is "the bridge" and the verb is "crosses.")
Adverbial phrases are made of multiple adverbs and give more information about the sentence. They are made of prepositions, infinitives, or intensifiers. They are placed:
- after the main verb
- after the object or complement
- at the beginning of a clause to emphasize
- What Is an Adverbial Phrase?
- Adverbial Phrases: Position in a Sentence
- Adverbial Phrase vs. Adverbial Clause