Adverbial Nouns

Adverbial nouns are nouns with multiple functions according to the sentence they are in. In this lesson, we will learn more about them.

Adverbial Nouns in the English Grammar

What Are Adverbial Nouns?

Adverbial nouns (also called adverbial objectives or adjunct adverbial) are nouns that can have two functions depending on the sentence they are used in.

They can be:

What Kinds of Noun Are Adverbial Nouns?

Nouns that talk about measurements or a specific amount of something, such as time or distance or location or direction or weight or value are usually adverbial nouns.

Adverbial Nouns: Time

Adverbial nouns can talk about when (at what time) or the extent of time (how long). Names of the weeks, months and seasons can also be adverbial nouns.

We have waited years for this reform.

I am leaving tomorrow.

Wait a moment.

She never came home Monday.

using a noun as an adverb

Adverbial Nouns: Distance, Direction, Location

Adverbial nouns can talk about the distance or direction (the cardinal directions, such as north, south, east, and west) or the location of something. Take a look at the examples:

I think I just stay home.

I think he went this way, and she went that way.

The river is three miles away.

The water rose three feet.

The curtains are an inch too long.

Adverbial Nouns: Weight

Take a look at some examples about adverbial nouns that talk about the weight of something:

Your bag weighs a ton!

The package weighed five kilos.

Adverbial Nouns: Age

Adverbial nouns talk about the age of something or someone. For example:

She is 23 years old.

The whisky is aged ten years.

Adverbial Nouns: Value

Certain adjectives, such as 'worth' take nouns or noun phrases as complements. For example:

This toy is only worth a dollar.

Since worth indicates an answer to the question 'how much,' it requires an amount as a modifier.

One of the antiques is worth 50000 pounds.

What Do Adverbial Nouns Do?

Like adverbs, these nouns normally modify verbs but can also modify adjectives, adverbs, and even prepositions.


Nouns and noun phrases can act as adverbials – that is, they can modify or add information to a verb. When noun phrases act in such a role, they describe time, place, quantity, or manner.

Adverbial Nouns vs. Direct Objects

Adverbial nouns often occur at or near the end of a sentence, however, you should not confuse them with the object of the sentence.
The objects answer the question "what?" but adverbial nouns answer the question "where?" "when?", "for how long?", "how much?" etc.

Mike drove north.

Here, the word 'north' is an adverbial noun giving additional information about the direction in which subject drove and answering the question of "where."

Mike drove an hour without rest.

Likewise, 'an hour' indicates a length of time, answering 'how long?,' making 'an hour' also an adverbial noun.

Mike drove his Mercedes.

This sentence however, answers a question of 'what.' The words 'his Mercedes' are, therefore, the object of the sentence.


Nouns denoting numbers of some sort are commonly used for adverbs.


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Adverbial Clauses

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