Adverbs are words or phrases that modify or qualify an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc.
|How||How often||How much||When||Where|
|Adverbs of manner |
|Adverbs of frequency||Adverbs of degree||Adverbs of time||Adverbs of place|
Adverbs of time
- She stayed in the Bears’ house all day.
- My mother lived in France for a year.
- I have been going to this school since 1996.
Adverbs of time tell us when an action happened, but also for how long, and how often. Adverbs of time are invariable. They are extremely common in English. Adverbs of time have standard positions in a sentence depending on what the adverb of time is telling us.
- I stayed in Switzerland for three days.
- I am going on vacation for a week.
- I have been riding horses for several years.
- The French monarchy lasted for several centuries.
- I have not seen you since Monday.
- Jim has been working here since 1997.
- There has not been a more exciting discovery since last century.
We use some adverbs of frequency to describe how frequently we do an activity.
|Frequency||Adverb of Frequency||Example Sentence|
|100%||always||I always go to bed before 11 p.m.|
|90%||usually||I usually have cereal for breakfast.|
|80%||normally / generally||I normally go to the gym.|
|70%||often* / frequently||I often surf the internet.|
|50%||sometimes||I sometimes forget my wife’s birthday.|
|30%||occasionally||I occasionally eat junk food.|
|10%||seldom||I seldom read the newspaper.|
|5%||hardly ever / rarely||I hardly ever drink alcohol.|
|0%||never||I never swim in the sea.|
Frequency definite or indefinite?
Adverbs of Indefinite Frequency
- I often eat vegetarian food.
- He never drinks milk.
- You must always fasten your seat belt.
- I am seldom late.
- He rarely lies.
- I visit France frequently. I frequently visit France.
- Generally, I don’t like spicy foods. I generally don’t like spicy foods.
- I listen to classical music normally. I normally listen to classical music.
- I go to the opera occasionally. I occasionally go to the opera.
- Often, I jog in the morning. I often jog in the morning.
- I come to this museum regularly. I regularly come to this museum.
- I get up very early sometimes. I sometimes get up very early.
- I enjoy being with children usually. I usually enjoy being with children.
Adverbs of Definite Frequency
We can also use the following expressions when we want to be more specific about the frequency:
- He visits his mother once a week.
- This magazine is published monthly.
- I work five days a week.
- I saw the movie seven times.
- every day
- once a month
- twice a year
- four times a day
- every other week
Adverbs of time usually are at the end of a sentence.
- Goldilocks went to the Bears’ house yesterday.
- I’m going to tidy my room tomorrow.
- I saw Sally today.
- I will call you later.
- I have to leave now.
- I saw that movie last year.
- I remember the day when we first met.
- Later Goldilocks ate some porridge. (the time is important)
- Goldilocks later ate some porridge. (this is more formal, like a policeman’s report)
- Goldilocks ate some porridge later. (this is neutral, no particular emphasis)
We use yet as an adverb to refer to a time which starts in the past and continues up to the present. We use it mostly in negative statements or questions in the present perfect. It usually comes in end position: Kevin hasn’t registered for class yet.
- No, not yet. (simple negative answer)
- Have you finished your work yet? (simple request for information)
- They haven’t met him yet. (simple negative statement)
- Haven’t you finished yet? (expressing surprise)
Still as an adverb. We use still as an adverb to emphasize that something is continuing: They have been together for 40 years and they are still very much in love. We’re still waiting for our new couch to be delivered.
- She is still waiting for you.
- Jim might still want some.
- Do you still work for the BBC?
- Are you still here?
- I am still hungry.
Order 1: how long 2: how often 3: when
- 1 + 2 : I work (1) for five hours (2) every day
- 2 + 3 : The magazine was published (2) weekly (3) last year.
- 1 + 3 : I was abroad (1) for two months (3) last year.
- 1 + 2 + 3 : She worked in a hospital (1) for two days (2) every week (3) last year.
Adverbs of place
Here and there
Adverbs of place tell us where something happens. Adverbs of place are usually placed after the main verb or after the clause that they modify. Adverbs of place do not modify adjectives or other adverbs.
Adverbs that change or qualify the meaning of a sentence by telling us where things happen are defined as adverbs of place. Some instructors refer to these words or phrases as spatial adverbs. No matter what they are called, these adverbs always answer one important question: Where?
- What are you doing up there?
- Come over here and look at what I found!
- The baby is hiding down there under the table.
- I wonder how my driver’s license got stuck under here.
- Here comes the bus!
- There goes the bell!
- There it is!
- Here they are!
Adverbs of place that are also prepositions
- The marble rolled around in my hand.
- I am wearing a necklace around my neck.
- Hurry! You are getting behind.
- Let’s hide behind the shed.
- Mary fell down.
- John made his way carefully down the cliff.
- We decided to drop in on Jake.
- I dropped the letter in the mailbox.
- Let’s get off at the next stop.
- The wind blew the flowers off the tree.
- We rode on for several more hours.
- Please put the books on the table.
- He turned over and went back to sleep.
- I think I will hang the picture over my bed.
Adverbs of place ending in-where
- That’s the restaurant where we met for the first time.
- Is there anywhere I can find a perfect plate of spaghetti around here?
- I would like to go somewhere warm for my vacation.
- I have nowhere to go.
- I keep running in to Sally everywhere!
- Cats don’t usually walk backwards.
- The ship sailed westwards.
- The balloon drifted upwards.
- We will keep walking homewards until we arrive.
WARNING: Towards is a preposition not an adverb, therefore it will always be followed by a noun or pronoun.
- He walked towards the car.
- She ran towards me.
Some examples of adverbs of place: here, everywhere, outside, away, around
- I searched everywhere I could think of.
- John looked around but he couldn’t see the monkey.
- I’m going back to school.
- Come in!
- They built a house nearby.
- She took the child outside.
Movement and Location
- The child went indoors.
- He lived and worked abroad.
- Water always flows downhill.
- The wind pushed us sideways.
Adverbs of degree
They are called DEGREE ADVERBS because they specify the degree to which an adjective or another adverb applies. Degree adverbs include almost, barely, entirely, highly, quite, slightly, totally, and utterly. Degree adverbs are not gradable (*extremely very).
The water was extremely cold.
The movie is quite interesting.
He was just leaving.
She has almost finished.
She is running very fast.
You are walking too slowly.
You are running fast enough.
She’s not experienced enough for this job.
Is this gift for me too?
We have enough bread.
This coffee is too hot.
I would like to go swimming too, if you will let me come
Adverbs of certainty
We use adverbs of certainty to say how sure we are of something. Examples are: certainly, definitely, clearly, obviously and probably.
- He definitely left the house this morning.
- He surely won’t forget.
- He is probably in the park.
- He is certainly a smart man.
- He has certainly forgotten the meeting.
- He will probably remember tomorrow.
- He is definitely running late.
- Undoubtedly, Winston Churchill was a great politician.
- Certainly, I will be there.
- Probably, he has forgotten the meeting.
- Surely you’ve got a bicycle.
- Surely you’re not going to wear that to the party.
Adverbs of manner
These adverbs explain HOW something happened or is.
- He swims well.
- He ran quickly.
- She spoke softly.
- James coughed loudly to attract her attention.
- He plays the flute beautifully. (after the direct object)
- He ate the chocolate cake greedily. (after the direct object)
- The child ran happily towards his mother.
- The child ran towards his mother happily.
- The town grew quickly after 1997.
- He waited patiently for his mother to arrive.