Types of Adverbs

Adverbs give us a description of a verb in a sentence. There are five basic types of adverbs in the English language.

"Types of Adverbs" in English Grammar

What Are Adverbs?

Adverbs are words that add more information to a verb, an adjective, a phrase or another adverb. They tell us when, where, and how an action is performed or indicate the quality or degree of the action. There are several types of adverbs, which are classified based on their function and meaning.

Adverbs: Types

Here is a list of different types of adverbs in English:

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner provide information on how an action or event is performed, answering the question 'how?
They are among the most common types of adverbs, and many of them end in '-ly'.

Please could you speak more slowly?

She sings beautifully.

‘I'm so sorry,’ she said sadly.

Adverbs of Time

Adverbs of time indicate when an action or event occurs or for how long, providing information on time duration. They are very common in English and can be placed at the beginning or end of a sentence.

When?

Adverbs that answer the question 'when?' are usually placed at the end of the sentence. For example:

Where are you living now?

She's leaving tomorrow.

I've got a piano lesson later today.

While the most common position for an adverb of time is at the end of a sentence, these adverbs can also appear in other positions to provide a different emphasis or effect.

Now I have to leave.

How Long?

Adverbs answering the question 'how long?' are also usually placed at the end of the sentence.

I was waiting here all day.

Sometimes, adverbial phrases that answer the question 'how long?' may be followed by either 'for' or 'since' to indicate the duration of an action or event.

  • for is always followed by an expression of duration,
  • since is always followed by an expression of a point in time.

I'm going away for a few days.

She's been off work since Tuesday.

'beautifully' is an example of adverbs of manner

Adverbs of Movement and Direction

Adverbs of movement modify verbs that imply an activity or movement, indicating how the action is being performed. Adverbs of direction, on the other hand, indicate the direction in which the action or movement is taking place. Pay attention to the examples:

We are taking the dog outside.

They are putting the phone away.

Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency tell us 'how often' an action takes place.
They are usually placed:

She always arrives at 7.30.

You must always fasten your seat belt.

I'm usually home by 6 o'clock.

Adverbs of Degree

Adverbs of degree express the intensity or level of an action or state in a sentence, answering the question 'how much?'. They are typically placed before the adjective, adverb, or verb they modify, but this is not always the case. Take a look at some examples:

It's too late to do anything about it now.

I'm very grateful.

I was somewhat surprised to see him.

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place are used to indicate where an action or event occurred. Note that adverbs of place do not modify adjectives or other adverbs. Rather, they modify verbs to provide information about where the action occurred. Pay attention to the examples:

I was trying to tell her to stay here.

He should be at the hospital. He said was going there.

Adverbs of Place vs. Adverbs of Movement

Adverbs of place indicate the location where an action or event occurs. On the other hand, adverbs of movement and direction modify verbs that show movement or give directions. They describe where the action is directed towards. Compare the following examples:

I live near Lake Michigan.

Here, the adverb is showing the location.

I'm going to take a walk outside.

As you can see, the adverb is showing a movement.

Adverbs of Probability

Adverbs of probability indicate the likelihood or certainty of an action or event occurring. They express the speaker's level of certainty or doubt about something. While many adverbs of probability end in '-ly', not all of them follow this rule. Pay attention to the examples:

Maybe he is trying to reconnect.

It certainly wasn't her fault.

Demonstrative Adverbs

Demonstrative adverbs are adverbs that indicate the proximity or distance of the object or event in relation to the speaker or the listener. For example:

I see a bird over there.

'There' refers to a place far from the speaker.

I left my keys here.

'Here' refers to a close distance from the speaker.

Relative Adverb

Relative adverbs are a type of adverb that introduce a dependent clause and relate it to the main clause in a sentence.
Three main relative adverbs in English are:

This is where I spent my childhood.

I remember when I met you for the first time.

Interrogative Adverbs

Interrogative adverbs are used to ask questions. These questions may be direct or indirect. There are different types of interrogative adverbs:

  • interrogative adverbs of time (when)
  • interrogative adverbs of place (where)
  • interrogative adverbs of reason (why)
  • interrogative adverbs of manner (how)

Why are they here?

How is she doing this?

Conjunctive Adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs are adverbs or adverbial phrases that link two clauses. They can be used to express cause and effect, time, comparison, and contrast. These adverbs include: because, besides, however, and therefore.

I love this jacket. However, it is too expensive.

He was popular because of his good behavior.

Viewpoint and Commenting Adverbs

Adverbs typically modify the verb of a sentence. However, viewpoint and commenting adverbs modify the sentence as a whole. These adverbs indicate the attitude of the speaker towards a particular situation. For example:

Apparently, she is suffering from a head trauma.

He is definitely handsome.

Intensifiers and Mitigators

Intensifiers and mitigators are two types of adverbs that modify the degree or intensity of another word or phrase in a sentence.
Intensifiers increase the strength or degree of another word or phrase, while mitigators decrease or soften its degree. Compare the examples:

She's completely exhausted

She's a little tired

Adverbial Nouns

Adverbial nouns are nouns that function as adverbs in a sentence. They are not adjectives, but they provide additional information about the action or event being described. Adverbial nouns are often used to express time, distance, or manner. For example:

He goes to the gym every morning.

'Every morning' is an adverbial noun that functions as an adverb of time.

She ran five miles yesterday.

'Five miles' is an adverbial noun that functions as an adverb of distance.

Review

Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. There are several types of adverbs as follows:

  • Adverbs of Manner
  • Adverbs of Time
  • Adverbs of Place and Direction
  • Adverbs of Frequency
  • Adverbs of Degree
adverbs of manner answer the question 'how is the action performed?' He shouted angrily at the baby.
adverbs of time tells us about 'when' a verb takes place; it also tells us for 'how long'. I have an important exam, today.
adverbs of frequency tell us 'how often' is the frequency of an action I can never sleep in a cold room.
adverbs of degree express the degree or level of the action in the sentence. He couldn't speak English well.

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