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Types of Adverbs

Updated on July 8, 2014

The various kinds of adverbs in the English language

By definition an adverb is a word that modifies a verb, an adjective, and an adverb itself. Adverbs always add more to the meaning of verbs, adjectives and adverbs themselves.

Examples of adverbs modifying verbs, adjectives and other adverbs in sentences:

  • We quickly changed our story when we found out what was happening. ("Quickly" is the adverb modifying the verb “changed”)
  • He walked slowly to work. (“Slowly” is the adverb modifying the verb “walked”)
  • It is really cool. (“Really” is the adverb and it is modifying the adjective “cool”)
  • You are very beautiful. (“Very” is the adverb and it is modifying the adjective “beautiful”)
  • She sings extremely well. (“Extremely” is the adverb and it is modifying the adverb “well”)
  • He ate the food very quickly. (“Very” is the adverb and it is modifying another adverb “quickly”)

Now that we have refreshed our memories on what adverbs are all about, let us now take a look at the various types of adverbs that we have in the English language.

In this lesson we are going to focus on at least 7 or 8 kinds of adverbs and we shall explain each one of them thoroughly. Without any further ado, let us now delve straight into that.


The Types/kinds of adverbs in the English language


Adverb of time

What is an adverb of time? An adverb of time tells us when an action or event will take place or when an action or event took place. Simply put, this type of adverb tells us when something happened or is going to happen.

Examples of adverbs of time are as follow:

  • He arrived yesterday. (The adverb of time is “yesterday” and it is modifying the verb “arrived”)
  • The players will meet tomorrow. (The adverb of time is “tomorrow” and it is modifying the verbs “will meet”)
  • The President arrived late. (The adverb of time is “late” and it is modifying the verb “arrived”)
  • I am travelling to London soon. (The adverb of time is “soon” and it is modifying the verbs “am travelling”)

All the highlighted words above are all adverbs of time simply because they are telling us when an event/action took place or is going to take place. All adverbs of time answer the question WHEN?

Let us take the first example for instance: He arrived yesterday. WHEN did he arrive? Yesterday.


Adverb of place

What is an adverb of place? An adverb of place tells where an action/event happened. These adverbs also show the location of things.

Examples of adverbs of place include the following:

  • I cleaned outside the house last night. (The adverb “outside” shows where the action of the verb “cleaned” took place. It is therefore an adverb of place.)
  • I gave him the money there. (The adverb “there” shows where the action of the verb “gave” took place. This is the reason why “there” in this sentence is also an adverb of place.)
  • The child stood before the door. (The adverb “before” is the adverb of place and it is modifying the verb “stood”. It is an adverb of place because it is showing us the place where the child stood.)

All adverbs of place answer the question WHERE? For example in the last sentence we can ask the question: Where did the child stand? Answer: Before the door.

Another example is this: The woman is standing outside. WHERE is the woman standing? Answer: Outside.


Adverb of manner

What is an adverb of manner? An adverb of manner shows how an action was done or is done. It basically shows us the manner in which an action took place or takes place. Adverbs of manner always answer the question “HOW?”

Let us look at some examples of adverbs of manner below:

  • We walked quickly towards the house. (The adverb of manner is “quickly” and it is modifying the verb “walked”. It is basically telling us the manner in which we walked. How did we walk? Quickly.)
  • The boy talks loudly. (The adverb of manner is “loudly” and it is modifying the verb “talks”. The adverb is showing us how the boy talks. How does the boy talk? Loudly.)
  • He slept peacefully. (The adverb of manner is “peacefully” and it is modifying the verb “slept”. It is showing us the manner or way in which he slept. How did he sleep? Peacefully.)
  • The driver drives recklessly. (The adverb o f manner is recklessly and it is modifying the verb “drives”. It is showing us the manner or how the driver drives. How does the driver drive? Recklessly.)

Adverb of degree

What is an adverb of degree? An adverb of degree shows us to what degree or extent a thing is or was. It basically shows us to what extent something happened. Adverbs of degree answer the question “to what extent or degree?”

Examples of adverbs of degrees:

  • The man was very tired. (The adverb of degree is “very” and it is modifying the verb “was”. It is an adverb of degree because it is telling us the extent or degree of the tiredness of the man. To what extent or degree was the man tired? Very.)
  • John spoke too harshly to the woman. (The adverb of degree is “too” and it is modifying the adverb “harshly”. To what extent or degree did John speak harshly to the woman? Too harshly.)
  • The house is nearly completed. (The adverb of degree is “nearly” and it is modifying the verb “completed”. It is showing us the degree or extent of completion of the house. To what extent or degree is the house completed? Nearly.)

Adverb of frequency

What is an adverb of frequency? This type of adverb tells how often or frequent an action is done. These adverbs answer the question “HOW OFTEN?”

Examples of adverbs of frequency

  • I always attend classes. (“Always” is the adverb of frequency because it is telling us how frequent or often I attend classes. It is modifying the verb “attend”.)
  • She visits me sometimes. (“Sometimes” is the adverb of frequency because it is telling us how often she visits me. It is modifying the verb “visits”.)
  • I seldom go to church. (“Seldom” is the adverb of frequency because it is telling us how often I go to church. It modifies the verb “go”)
  • He regularly visits his hometown. (“Regularly” is the adverb of frequency because it is telling us how often I visit my hometown. It modifies the verb “visits”)

Adverb of interrogation

What is an adverb of interrogation? To interrogate means to ask questions. An adverb of interrogation therefore is an adverb that is used in asking questions.

Examples of adverbs of interrogation

  • When did he arrive?
  • Where did you go?
  • How much money do you have?

All the highlighted adverbs above are adverbs of interrogation simply because they have been used to ask questions.

Adverb of number

An adverb of number is an adverb that shows the number of the action of the verb. Examples of adverbs of number are: firstly, secondly, yearly, once, etc.

Example:

  • They saw me once.

In the sentence above, “once” is the adverb of number because it shows the number of the action of the verb “saw”.

NOTE: The adverb “once” can also be used as an adverb of time depending on how it is used in the sentence.


Adverb of affirmation

What is an adverb of affirmation? This is an adverb that is used to declare actions firmly.

Examples of adverbs of affirmation are:

  • The teacher will certainly come to the class.
  • We will surely win the match.
  • The headmaster will definitely deliver a speech on indiscipline in the school
  • Yes, we can do it!

All the highlighted adverbs in the sentences above are all adverbs of affirmation simply because they have been used to firmly declare the actions of their respective verbs.


Other types of adverbs

We have many other types of adverbs such as the following: adverbs of assertion, adverbs of reason, adverbs of quality, adverbs of probability, adverbs of negation, etc.

This is where I bring an end to this lesson. Please try your hands on the simple exercise below and if you have any question relating to any part of this lesson do not hesitate asking.

Find the adverbs in the following sentences and tell what type of adverbs you are dealing with

Since the weather was pretty hot, I decided to have a shower.
The man eats too fast.
The singer is perfectly well.
I will leave soon so I need to see him.
I want it now!
Please sit down here.

© 2014 myvenn

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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      This is another great post on proper usage of the English language.

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