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.

intermediate
Adverbial Nouns in the English Grammar

What Are Adverbial Nouns?

Adverbial nouns are nouns that function as adverbs in a sentence. They modify the verb, adjective, or another adverb in a sentence by providing additional information about time, manner, place, or frequency. Adverbial nouns can be single words or noun phrases.

What Kinds of Noun Are Adverbial Nouns?

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

Adverbial Nouns: Time

Adverbial nouns can talk about when (at what time) or for how long (the duration of time) an action takes place. Names of the weekdays, 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'll 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 to see how adverbial nouns can be used to talk about the weight of something:

Your bag weighs a ton!

The package weighed five kilos.

Adverbial Nouns: Age

Adverbial nouns can also be used to 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 50,000 Pounds.

What Do Adverbial Nouns Do?

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

Tip!

Nouns and noun phrases can function as adverbials in a sentence by modifying or providing additional information about a verb. When used in this way, they can describe time, place, quantity, or manner.

Adverbial Nouns vs. Direct Objects

Adverbial nouns are often found at or near the end of a sentence, but they should not be confused with the object of the sentence.
While, the objects answer the question "what?", 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 answers the question '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 the question 'what'. The words 'his Mercedes' are, therefore, the object of the sentence.

Tip!

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

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