Published on by

What Are Adverbs?

Without a complete comprehension of the different parts of speech, no knowledge of English grammar would be thorough.

The study of word types usually comprises an analysis of their form, function, and distribution to memorize the rules that govern them. One part of speech that is as important as the others is adverbs. 

But what are adverbs exactly? Look no more on this page; we lay out everything adverbs for you.

From its definition to the different types of adverbs and their importance in the English language, you will find them here. Please keep reading.  


An adverb is a word that modifies verbs, adjectives, phrases, and other adverbs. Many adverbs end in -ly and are typically found adjacent to the word they modify. 

Adverbs, like adjectives, are regularly used parts of speech that modify (describe) another word to provide more information to a sentence or clause. ‘Where,’ ‘when,’ ‘how,’ ‘how often,’ and ‘to what extent’ are all questions that adverbs answer.

Adverbs are a common element of speech that we use to add more information to our sentences and make them more interesting. “Alice walked,” for example, is a good sentence but not particularly intriguing. 

However, we can add some variety to the sentence by including an adverb, as in “Alice walked smoothly.” You may also say, “Alice walked awkwardly” if she is clumsy. You can say “Alice walked suspiciously” if you want to add a little suspense. 

Finally, you can say “Alice walked underwater” if she travels beneath the sea. (Adverbs are fantastic, aren’t they?)

How Do Adverbs Function in English Grammar?

Adverbs are challenging to identify by function, just as they are difficult to recognize by form. This is because of the wide range of advantages they provide to a speaker. 

Adverbs enhance the meaning of a verb by emphasizing factors such as how, when, where, how often, and to what extent. 

Adverbs of Manner (How)“He speaks French fluently.”

“She opened the door carefully.” 
Adverbs of Time (When)“Let’s meet tomorrow.” 

“I submitted my project last week.” 
Adverbs of Place (Where)“They met at a bowling alley.”

“Let’s go home, I’m tired.” 
Adverbs of Frequency (How Often)“I visit my family every year.” 

“We usually go fishing on weekends.” 
Adverbs of Degree (To What Extent)“It was extremely cold at the venue.”

“I almost hit a deer while driving this morning.” 

While other word types have stricter functions (for example, adjectives can only modify nouns), adverbs can modify adverbs, prepositional phrases, adjectives, sentences, and verbs. 

What it Modifies Examples
Adjective“The exam was quite easy.” 

“The purse was pretty expensive.” 
(Another) Adverb“She slammed the door rather angrily.”  

“The guests arrived too soon.” 
Verb“He quickly ate his breakfast and headed to work.” 

“They waited eagerly for the program to start.” 
Prepositional Phrase “She is desperately in a lose-lose situation.”

“They were unfortunately at the mercy of the farm owners.”  
The Whole Sentence “He accepted the gift nevertheless.” 

“The train leaves on time; thus, you should be at the station early.” 

How Should Adverbs be Distributed in a Sentence? 

Adverbs have a lot more freedom of distribution than other word types, making them a little simpler to spot.

This means they can change their location within a phrase without compromising its grammar or meaning. 

However, as the following example demonstrates, not all alternatives are grammatical, and some sound stranger to native speakers than others. 

Correct Placement of Adverbs Wrong Placement of Adverbs 
Excitedly, the child opened the presents.” 

“The child excitedly opened the presents.”

“The child opened the presents excitedly.” 
“The child opened excitedly the presents.” 
Tomorrow, they are going to meet.” 

“They are going to meet tomorrow.” 
“They are tomorrow going to meet.”

Are Adverbs and Adverbials the Same? 

While the terms ‘adverb’ and ‘adverbial’ are similar in many respects, it is vital to remember that ‘adverb’ refers to a word type, whereas ‘adverbial’ refers to a phrase function, such as subject or object. 

Although adverbs and adverbials generally operate similarly and have similar distribution patterns, not all adverbials are made up of adverbs.

This is due to the fact that an adverb is a single word, whereas an adverbial might be a clause, a single word, or a phrase.

“The guests arrived yesterday.” 

“He humbly received the award.”  

“They slept in the living room.” 
“He ran as fast as he could.” 

“Her books are on the table.”

“They have been waiting for three hours.” 

Difference Between Adverbs and Adjectives

If you are studying English, even at an advanced level, adjectives and adverbs can be perplexing.

Learning the difference between the two will improve your English grammatical skills and help you avoid some common mistakes.

Adjectives and adverbs are components of speech or word classes. They are both important components of English grammar that help to describe sentences. What distinguishes them is what they describe.


Describe to what extent, how often, where, when, and how an action is done. They can be placed in three different positions in a sentence: start, middle, and end. 


  • “She dresses elegantly.”
  • “I hardly see him these days.” 
  • “We are going on a holiday next week.” 
  • “The concert was held in an open field.” 


  • Define nouns and pronouns (people, places, or things). They never use other adjectives or verbs to describe them. 


  • “My purse is black.”
  • “He owns three cars.” 
  • “That dress is lovely.” 
  • “She lives in a big mansion.” 

Be careful, however, as some words can either be an adjective or an adverb, dependent on how they are employed in the sentence. 


  • “The car he is driving is fast.” 

‘Fast’ here is an adjective because it describes the noun ‘car’

  • “She answered her homework fast.” 

‘Fast’ here is an adverb because it describes the verb ‘answered’.  


  • “My dad decided that he will take an early retirement.” 
  • ‘Early’ here is an adjective because it describes the noun ‘retirement’
  • “He wakes up early every morning.” 
  • ‘Early’ here is an adverb because it describes the verb ‘wakes up’

What are the Common Mistakes with Adverbs and Adjectives?

You may be one of those who are often confused about whether a word is an adjective or an adverb. And we can’t blame you.

These two parts of speech could be complicated at times. 

To help you understand them better, here are the most common mistakes people make when it comes to adjectives and adverbs. 

Mistake 1 – ‘Well’ vs ‘Good’

This is one of the most frequently misunderstood adjective/adverb pairings. Apart from memorization, there is not really a good way to recall this. The word ‘well’ is an adverb. The word ‘good’ is an adjective.


“You’ve got good grades this semester.” (adjective)

It describes the noun ‘grades.’

“You’ve performed well this semester.” (adverb)

It describes the verb ‘performed.’ 

Mistake 2 – ‘Enough’ 

As an adverb, ‘enough’ should appear after verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. 


“My bag isn’t big enough for all my things.” 

NOT “My bag isn’t enough big for all my things.” 

“The weather today isn’t cold enough to wear a sweater.” 

NOT “The weather today isn’t enough cold to wear a sweater.” 

On the other hand, as an adjective, ‘enough’ should come before nouns. 


“We do not have enough flour for the dough.” 

NOT “We do not have flour enough for the dough.” 

“Does he have enough money to purchase the car?” 

NOT “Does he have money enough to purchase the car?” 

Mistake 3 – Adverbs of Degree vs Adjectives ‘A lot’ and ‘Lots of’ 

To describe or emphasize something intense, the words ‘so’, ‘very’, and ‘really’ are used before adjectives and adverbs. 


  • “She tried really hard to convince her parents.” 
  • “He walked very quickly to catch up with the group.” 

To describe a vast quantity, ‘a lot of’ / ‘lots of’ is used before nouns. 


  • “I ate a lot of pizza last night.”
  • “There were lots of people at the convention.” 

What are the 3 Categories and 16 Types of Adverbs?

Though adverbs as a group are less well defined than other word categories like verbs and nouns, they can be classified in three ways. 

The three types of adverbs are (each with several subcategories):

  • Adjunctive
  • Conjunctive
  • Disjunctive  

Adjunctive Adverbs 

This adverb offers optional information regarding an event or state’s circumstances, such as its location, time, condition, or manner.

Depending on the concept they represent, they are commonly divided into five categories.

Adverbs of Manner (How)anxiously




Adverbs of Time (When)last week



two weeks ago

Adverbs of Place (Where)away

in the kitchen



Adverbs of Frequency (How Often)always




Adverbs of Degree (To What Extent)barely





Conjunctive Adverbs 

Conjunctive adverbs, like ‘although’ or ‘therefore’, differ from adjunctive adverbs. 

We benefit from conjunctive because they connect clauses and begin or end sentences, displaying logical and rhetorical relationships between ideas such as contrast and result.

We may categorize conjunctive adverbs into six different categories. 

Additive Adverbsfurthermore 

in addition

Contrastive Adverbscontrarily 


in contrast
Listing Adverbs firstly


Resultative Adverbs thus

as a result

Relative Adverbs when


Interrogative Adverbs how




Disjunctive Adverbs 

A disjunctive adverb expresses feelings, judgments, and probabilities regarding entire phrases and sentences. 

These adverbs are especially helpful in academic works and dialogues, where value judgments are frequently used in complex arguments.









Sourceaccording to



Writing Sentences with Adverbs

As mentioned earlier, adverbs can be placed at specific positions in a sentence.

However, it is not as simple as it seems. 

You need to follow the rules when it comes to placing the adverbs in the correct position, so the meaning of your sentence is not compromised. 

Rule 1 – An adverb should not be placed between a verb and its object.


In this example, the verb is ‘read’, the object is ‘book’ and the adverb is ‘sometimes’

  • Sometimes, she reads a book before she sleeps.” – CORRECT
  • “She sometimes reads a book before she sleeps.” – CORRECT
  • “She reads a book before she sleeps sometimes.” – OK, but INFORMAL
  • “She reads sometimes a book before she sleeps.” – INCORRECT

Rule 2 – Adverbs are usually placed in one of three positions.

Front Position: Before the clause 


  • Suddenly, the lights went off.”
  • Last week, I met with my old friends.” 
  • Maybe I’ll go to the party.” 

Middle Position: Besides the main verb


  • “He drives slowly.” 
  • “I always take the bus to work.” 
  • “They completely forgot to lock the door.” 

End Position: After the clause


  • “He speaks English well.” 
  • “You have to go there.” 
  • “She took notes quickly.” 

Rule 3 – The placement of adverbs is determined by their type. Some adverbs can be positioned in a variety of ways.

Adverbs of manner can occupy the front, middle, and end positions. 


  • Luckily, she passed the driving test.” 
  • “She is undoubtedly the smartest student in the class.” 
  • “He accepted the gifts gratefully.” 

Adverbs of manner that do not end in ‘-ly’ always take the end position. 


  • “She reads fast.” 
  • “I am studying hard.” 
  • “He plays basketball well.” 

Adverbs of frequency and adverbs of time can be placed either in the front or end positions. 


  • “She walks to school every day.” 
  • Every day, she walks to school.” 
  • “I went to the supermarket last week.”
  • Last week, I went to the supermarket.”

Adverbs of the frequency with only one word cannot be placed in the front position.


“I often go to the park to relax.” 

NOTOften, I go to the park to relax.” 

“Let’s practice for the competition daily.” 

NOT Daily, let’s practice for the competition.” 

The adverbs of frequency ‘always’ and ‘never’ go before the verb in the middle position. 


  • “He always jogs in the morning.” 
  • “She never leaves the house without her phone.”

Adverbs of place normally, right following the verb, go in end-position or middle position. 


  • “They played outside.” 
  • “The children hid everywhere.” 
  • “I drove south on the highway.” 
  • “She walked towards the red car.” 

The adverbs of certainty ‘perhaps’ and ‘maybe’ are frequently placed in the front position.


  • Perhaps, I need to explain it further.” 
  • Maybe she will turn down the offer.”

The rest of the adverbs of certainty usually occupy the middle position.


  • “He will probably win the race.”  
  • “She clearly understands the mechanics of the game.” 

Adverbs of degree are frequently placed in the middle of the sentence, right before the word they modify.


  • “I almost left my passport.” 
  • “The course is pretty difficult to understand.” 

Which Adverbs are Important in Academic Writing?

In this section, we are providing you with a list of nearly 100 high-frequency academic adverbs to assist you in writing academic essays or developing academic presentations. 

It could be beneficial to master the grammar and meaning of the following terms and incorporate them into your academic vocabulary. 

100+ Common Academic Adverbs  

Aabove, accordingly, accurately, adequately, also, approximately
Bbarely, basically, believably, bluntly 
Cclearly, closely, commonly, consequently, considerably, conversely, correctly
Ddeeply, densely, differently, directly, doubtfully, downward
Eeffectively, either, equally, especially, essentially, explicitly, extremely
Ffairly, far, frequently, fully, further, furthermore
Ggenerally, greatly
Hhence, highly, however
Iincreasingly, indeed, independently, indirectly, individually, inevitably, initially
Jjoyfully, justly
Kkindly, knowingly
Llargely, lastly, less, likewise
Mmainly, more, moreover, most
Nnamely, necessarily, normally, notably
Ooften, only, originally, over
partially, particularly, potentially, previously, primarily, purely
Qquarterly, quickly, quietly, quite, 
Rreadily, recently, relatively
Ssecondly, significantly, similarly, simply, socially, solely, somewhat, specifically, steadily, strongly, subsequently, successfully
Tthen, there, thereby, therefore, thus, traditionally, typically
Uultimately, universally, under, undoubtedly, upfront, upstairs 
Vvirtually, voluntarily
Wwearily, well, wholly, widely
Xxerically, xerographically
Yyearly, yearlong, yesterday, yet
Zzealously, zestfully

Why Should We Be Familiar with Adverbs?

Adverbs assist us in providing descriptive details of what we are talking and writing about and express our emotions and feelings about the topics at hand. 

It gives our listeners and readers a more excellent knowledge of our viewpoints and allows them to fully engage with your message. 

Adverbs play in our professional/academic and personal lives.

We hope that you have gained a deeper understanding of what adverbs are and how to use them more effectively with this article. 


A group of language enthusiasts with a shared commitment to helping you succeed in your English language journey. With years of experience, relevant certifications, and a deep love for languages, we're here to provide you with the support and resources you need to excel in exams like IELTS, TOEFL, OET, Duolingo and many others. We take pride in helping individuals like you achieve their language goals.