Grammar-QuizzesAdverbialsAdverbs › An Adverb

An Adverb

Recognize the ways an adverb can function in a clause

speaker
 
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 Adverb Suffixes. 

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 enthusiasm. 

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 occasions, he raises his voice.

DEGREE

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

He to a great extent enjoys his work.

FOCUS

We came here in particular because we want to learn.  (a reason clause)

We arrived here at least before he finished his lecture.

 

Also see Adverb Forms. (suffixes).

Adverbials—include adverbs, noun phrases, prepositional phrases: He teaches well (adverb); He teaches this morning. (noun phrase); He teaches in English. (prepositional phrase); He teaches because he likes it. (prepositional phrase);

 

 

 

 

An Adverb Phrase

Include modifiers that intensify or limit the adverb

 

 

 

Adverb Phrase—an adverb with modifiers placed before or after it

PRE-POSITION MODIFIER

An adverb phrase includes an adverb (the "head" of the phrase) and a word or words that modify the adverb (one or more "dependents"). The modifiers (dependents) are said to be "complements" of the adverb.

Our time passed much too quickly.  (Degree Adv + Adv)

(Quickly is the "head" of the adverb phrase; much too are its "dependents".)

Our work progressed much more slowly. (Adv + Adv)

We shared our work fairly evenly( Adv + Adv)

Our time passed very slowly. ( Adv + Adv)

POST-POSITION MODIFIER

An adverb phrase may  also include an adverb (the "head" of the phrase) and a modifying adverb or prepositional phrase (a "dependent") placed after the adverb.                                                                                

We worked similarly to the way we worked before. (Adv + PP)

Everything went differently than the way we expected. (Adv + PP)

Everyone spoke favorably of the work we did. (Adv + PP)

Our work went quite well(Adv + Adv)

 

Also see Focusing Adverbs  (limiting).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adverbials

Circumstance

 

 

 

(1) Circumstance Adverbs

ADVERBIAL

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

He walked a short distance. LOCATION: 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: Real Conditions

The garden became beautiful as a result of his work. RESULT: Because

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE

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

He walked from one white-board to the next. LOCATION: 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. TIME: when ("before")

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. PURPOSE: 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. CONDITION

The garden became beautiful under his care. RESULT

 

 

 

 

 

Adverbials

Stance

 

 

(2) Stance Adverbs

ADVERB

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

OPINION REGARDING THE TRUTH OF A 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Adverbials

Connective

 

 

 

(3) Connective Adverbs

ADVERBIAL

Connective adverbs 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 likable guy. 

See Connective Adverbs–Ordering.

Therefore, someone will hire him quickly.

See Connective Adverbs–Result

Additionally, he has a number of skills.

See Connective Adverbs and Additionally.

However, he doesn't have much experience.

See Connective Adverbs 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 likable 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 Connective Adverbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adverb

Properties

 

 

 

Members of the Adverb category share these properties:

1) ALL CAN MODIFY A VERB 2) SOME CAN MODIFY OTHER CATEGORIES 3) A FEW ACCEPT COMPLEMENTS

Adverb is a distinct category of words that modify the manner, frequency, degree and other circumstances of an action. An adverb modifies a verb. 

Adverbs expressing degree can modify words of other categories such as adjectives, verbs, prepositions and nouns.

A few adverbs accept prepositional phrases as their complements. Adverbs in comparative expressions with than or as accept clauses as complements

He teaches enthusiastically.   

He speaks surprisingly quickly.  (Adv)

He works independently of the others. 

We listen carefully

He looks rather young.  (Adj)

This functions similarly to the others

We work hard

He is almost in the middle of the book.  (PP)

He doesn't drive as carefully as he should.

We overwhelming agree

He read practically the whole book.  (NP)

He drove so wildly that I became sick.

property (N) — an essential or distinctive attribute or quality of a thing

(Huddleson 6 §5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adverb Placement

Express a precise meaning

 

 

Modifier placement changes the meaning:

BEFORE A VERB

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

AFTER THE VERB & BEFORE AN ADJECTIVE

                           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 WH–CLAUSE

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 really to do well.  (awkward)

She wanted to really do well.  (may be informal, not incorrect¹)

She wanted to do really well. 

precede (V) – come before

¹ See Splitting a Verb or an Infinitive

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice

Identify the Modified Word(s)

actress

 

 

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.