Adverbs of Movement and Direction

Adverb of movement or directions shows an action toward a place or points to a particular direction. In this lesson, we will learn about them.

Intermediate
What Are Adverbs of Movement and Direction?

What Are Adverbs of Movement and Direction?

Adverbs of movement and direction are used to describe a verb that implies an activity or a certain movement. And adverbs of direction point to a particular direction.

Adverbs vs. Prepositions of Movement and Direction

Prepositions are only used to show relations between words, but adverbs are used to describe verbs, adverbs, and adjectives.

Adverbs are not followed by an object and are used after the direct object of a transitive verb, but prepositions are followed by a noun or pronoun as their object. Here are the examples:

I couldn't get through. → adverb

Water will be pumped through a pipe. → preposition

How to Use Adverbs of Movement and Direction

Adverbs of movement and direction are used after main verbs or after the direct object of a transitive verb. However, in both ways, we are describing the verb with the adverb.

Remember, we do not use an adverb before the object and after the main verb, if you face this structure you are facing with a preposition, not an adverb.

Here are the examples:

We went outside.

In this example 'went' is a main verb and 'outside' is used after it to define it.

I moved it forward.

Adverbs of Movement and Direction vs. Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place are used to show a state in a particular place or to indicate where something is; however, adverbs of direction show where something is moving or pointing to.
Some adverbs can be both adverbs of place and adverbs of movement based on the verb that describes. Here are the examples:

Those kids are playing inside. → adverb of place

We will take the dog inside. → adverb of movement and direction

Common Adverbs of Movement and Direction

Adverbs of movement and direction are a lot in number, but here are the most common adverbs of ones for more clarification:

Adverbs with Suffixes -ward or -wards

-Wards or -ward is a suffix that forms adverbs showing direction. In American English, and sometimes in British English, -ward is used instead of `-wards' to form adverbs of direction. For example:

  • backwards/forwards
  • northwards/southwards/eastwards/westwards
  • homewards
  • inwards
  • onwards
  • outwards

Take a look at some examples:

I stretched upwards to grab a cup from the cupboard above the sink.

Adverbs with the Suffix -side

'Outside' and 'inside' are opposite in meaning. Outside means not inside a particular place. 'Upside' means a direction which is to the top area of something. If we use these adverbs with proper verbs which can indicate the movement toward the out area or inside a building then they are adverbs of movement. Here are the examples:

They stay inside/outside. → adverb of place

They take the dog outside. → adverb of movement

We will carry the trolley inside. → adverb of direction and movement

"inside" is an example of adverbs of movement and direction

Adverbs with the Suffix -stairs

Downstairs is the opposite of upstairs. Downstairs means toward the lower floor of a building, while upstairs means toward the upper floor of a building. Here are the examples:

Carry the bags downstairs.

I pushed the box upstairs.

the Adverb Back

Back as an adverb of movement and direction means to a previous place. Here are the examples:

Those animals were sent back, where they lived before.

Tip!

Usually when the word back is used as an adverb of movement or direction, it is followed by the prepositions in. For example:

They went back in.

Below, Above, Behind, Under, Between

Above, below, under, behind, between are considered adverbs of place and they cannot be used as adverbs of movement or direction when used alone.

The kite was high above.

Look at the examples below.

Through

Through means into a place from one side to the another. Here are some examples that may help you understand this adverb better:

Let me through. I am a cop.

Keep going in straight through.

Off

The adverb off means away or far from a place. With some verbs, it can actually have a meaning which implies a movement or direction. Here are the examples:

When she heard it, she just drove off.

Adverbial Phrases

Adverbs can be combined with some prepositions or adverbs and make an adverbial phrase that can also be used as an adverb of movement or direction. Here are the examples:

We were driving right through, but there was an accident in the tunnel.

Let us just walk down there.

Adverb Order

Adverbs can be placed in different positions. The only important point is to know that adverbs of movements usually modify verbs, thus they are used before adverbs of time.

But in a sentence, they can be placed at the beginning, middle position, or at the last. Check out the examples:

Driving off, she listened to her favorite songs.

We just took the hive outside last night at nine.

Review

Adverbs of movement and direction show movement toward a particular place or they can point to it. They are placed:

  1. after the main verb
  2. after the direct object of a transitive verb

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