Adverb Uses

Recognize how adverbs function in a clause

speaker
 

 

Adverbs versus Prepositional Phrases

ADVERB

An adverb modifies a wide variety of sentence elements: a verb, an adjective, a prepositional phrase, a dependent clause or an independent clause.

MANNER — HOW?

Professor Wiley teaches enthusiastically.  He looks at us curiously. (modifies a verb)

See Adv for Manner. 

PLACE (LOCATION) — WHERE?

He teaches at Stanford. He loves it there. He wants to go back.   (modifies a verb)

See  Adv for Place.  

TIME (TEMPORAL) — WHEN?

He teaches daily.  He is teaching us now(modifies a verb)

See Adv for Time. 

TIME (FREQUENCY) — HOW OFTEN?

He usually draws diagrams. He rarely raises his voice.  (modifies a verb)

See Adv Frequency. 

DEGREE — HOW MUCH, TO WHAT EXTENT?

He is very talkative. He is completely crazy. He is exceptionally bright.(modifies an adjective)

He writes too slowly. He speaks extremely fast. He does pretty well.  (modifies an adverb)

He arrives exactly on time. He came right over to my desk  (modifies a prepositional phrases)

This is approximately where he stands. He is exactly whom we should ask.   (modifies a wh- clause)

See Adv for Degree. 

FOCUS

Only we came here because we want to learn.  (modifies a subject)

We only came here because we want to learn.  (modifies a verb)

We came here only because we want to learn.  (modifies a reason clause)

We came here only when he was teaching.   (modifies a time-relative clause)

(Modifies a particular sentence part such as a  subject, a verb, an object, a phrase, a dependent clause, etc.)  

See Adv for Focus.

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE

A similar meaning may often be expressed with a prepositional phrase.

MANNER

Professor Wiley teaches with enthusiam. 

He looks at us in a curious manner.

PLACE (LOCATION)

He teaches at Stanford. He loves teaching in the university.

TIME (TEMPORAL)

He teaches in the morning.  He is teaching us at this moment.

TIME (FREQUENCY)

In general, he draws diagrams.

On occasion, he raises his voice.

DEGREE

He is, for the most part, crazy.  (adjective)

FOCUS

By and large, we came here because we want to learn.  (in large part; mostly)

We, for the most part, came here because we want to learn. (in large part)

We came here, in particular, because we want to learn.  (in part)

We came here because we want, at least, to learn about the culture.  (in the smallest part)

 

 

Also see Adverb Forms. (suffixes).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adverbials

Circumstance, Stance, and Linking

 

 

 

(1) Circumstance Adverbials

ADVERBIAL

Circumstance adverbials add information about the situation in the clause (circumstantial information).

He walked a short distance. place: how far? in what direction?

He has been lecturing a while. time: how long, how often?

He will rest before he comes to class. time: Time-relative to what?

He will sing as a bird sings. manner: Comparison

He was ill because of influenza. cause: Because of / By

He will stay home so that he can get better. purpose: So that

He will teach though he is not feeling well. concession: Because/ Though

He will teach if he can. condition: Pres-Future Real)

The garden became beautiful as a result of his work. result: Cause & Effect) 

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE

A similar meaning may often be expressed with a prepositional phrase.

He walked from one whiteboard to the next. place: how far? in what direction?

He has been lecturing for several hours / since 2 p.m. time: how long, how often?

He will rest in advance of class.

He will sing like a bird. (manner: Comparison)

He will listen with headphones. (means: By/ With

He will listen by using headphones. (means: By/ With)

He was ill from influenza. (cause: Because of / By)

He will stay home in order to get better. pupose: In order to

He will teach in spite of not feeling well. (concession: Because/ Though

He will teach under the condition that he is able.

The garden became beautiful under his care.

 

 

 

 

(2) Stance Adverbials

ADVERB

Stance adverbials express the speakers attitude or opinion about the situation in the clause (personal point of view).

OPINION REGARDING THE TRUTH OF A THE SITUATION

Perhaps, he is done, but we'd better ask.

Actually, he knows that this is to complicated for us.

Professionally, he is the best.

See Adv for Opinion. 

ATTITUDE TOWARD A SITUATION

Fortunately, everyone was paying attention.

Surprisingly, everyone was happy about it.

See Adv for Evaluation.

CIRCUMSTANCE UNDER WHICH ONE IS SPEAKING

Frankly, he's looking for a new job.

Briefly, he doesn't know what else he can do.

See Adv for Speech Acts. 

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE

A similar meaning may often be expressed with a prepositional phrase.

OPINION

In my opinion, he is done, but we'd better ask.

In fact, he knows that this is too complicated for us.

From a professional view, he is the best.

 

ATTITUDE TOWARD A SITUATION

In a fortunate way , everyone was paying attention.

In a surprising way, everyone was happy about it.

CIRCUMSTANCE UNDER WHICH ONE IS SPEAKING

In truth, he's looking for a new job.

In brief , he doesn't know what else he can do.

 

 

 

 

 

(3) Linking Adverbs

ADVERBIAL

Linking adverbials link the situation in one clause to the situation in another clause (relational markers).

RELATING THE IDEA  OF ONE CLAUSE TO THE NEXT

First, he's a very likeable guy. 

See  Adv for Linking–Ordering.

Therefore, someone will hire him quickly.

See Adv for Linking–Result

Additionally, he has a number of skills.

See Adv for Linking and Additionally.

However, he doesn't have much experience.

See Adv for Linking and However.

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE

A similar meaning may often be expressed with a prepositional phrase.

RELATING THE IDEA OF ONE CLAUSE TO THE NEXT

In the first place, he's a very likeable guy.

For all these reasons , someone will hire him quickly.

In addition, he has a number of skills.

 

On the other hand, he doesn't have much experience.

 

See Linking Adverbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adverb

Placement

 

 

 

Modifier placement matters—it changes the meaning!

BEFORE A VERB

move over modifies the word after it
She nearly passed all her exams.  (She passed none.)

BEFORE AN ADJECTIVE

move over modifies the word after it
She passed nearly all her exams (She passed most of them.)

Nearly could modify either passed (verb) or all (adj. / determiner).

 

 

 

 

Place the word as near as possible to the word it modifies: 

WORD MODIFIED RECOMMENDED PLACEMENT EXAMPLE

AN ADJECTIVE

before

She passed nearly all her exams.  (She passed most of them.)

AN ADVERB

before

She passed very nearly all her exams. (She passed most of them.)

A PREPOSITION

before

She passed her exams nearly on time. (She was late.)

A CONJUNCTION

before

She took her exams exactly where I took them.

A VERB

before

She nearly passed all her exams.  (She passed none.)

AN AUXILIARY + VERB

after auxiliary and before main verb

She could barely pass her exams. (She passed.)

AN INFINITIVE  

placed after "to" or after infinitive

She wanted to really do well. /She wanted to do really well.

precede (v.) – come before

 

 

 

 

 

 

actressPractice

Identifying Modified Words

 

 

Which word does the adverb modify?

  1. Select the option that best answers the question.
  2. Compare your answer to the comment in the feedback box. 

 

1.
Jayne happily accepted her award for Best Actress.

(the subject)

(the verb)



2.
She went completely crazy on stage.

(subject)

(verb)

  (adjective)

3.
She spoke extremely fast?

(subject)

(verb)



4.
The actress stood exactly in the middle of the stage.




5.
She was allowed to speak for only three minutes.





6.
Suddenly, the music started to play because she had talked too long.



(verb)



 

7.
She left the stage dramatically blowing kisses to the audience.



(verb phrase)




dramatically  (adv.) – in an acting (drama) way; intended to get people's attention.