Learning any foreign language takes time. It also requires commitment and regularity. As an English learner, you may have realized that a traditional classroom setup is not adequate to improve proficiency in a short period of time. It has to go hand in hand with self-directed instruction.

Training at school or language center allows you to:

  • Practice English with your classmates
  • Use or apply English in various activities and exercises
  • Get immediate or direct feedback
  • Hone your skills under the tutelage of a teacher or an expert

Meanwhile, self-studying helps you achieve competence in other aspects of language learning. You can:

  • Acquire extensive background knowledge
  • Build a strong vocabulary
  • Develop valuable reading habits
  • Reinforce skills that are limited by class time and size

However, the self-study materials that students utilize aren’t always the right ones. The major hurdle is to find the proper resources and ensure that the ones in which you are investing time and effort are suitable and beneficial to your language level and learning preferences.

With the necessity of independent learning and its challenges in mind, this grammar hub will serve as a comprehensive guide dedicated to all major topics of English grammar. This particular section will discuss Adverbs in detail.

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Adverbs Reference Handbook for ESL and English Language Student

If you’re looking for a wide-ranging and exhaustive resource on the topic of Adverbs, you’ve come to the right place. This grammar hub was specifically developed and built for the English Language Learner no matter what level of proficiency they’re in.

While these pages might provide more value to Beginner or Intermediate learners, Advanced students will find usefulness in their range, specialized classifications of different Adverb Types, real-world sample sentences, and refined breakdowns of rules and concepts.

This page and its subpages were designed to be an accessible, convenient, all-in-one resource for Adverbs and other grammatical topics that you can refer back to at any time. As English is a creative language that continues to evolve, these articles are periodically edited and updated. It is advisable to save or bookmark them for future reference.

Why are Adverbs Confusing to Many English Learners?

Adverbs are difficult modifiers to work with, especially since their practicality has been a point of contention for many experts and language specialists.

Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, and Stephen King are famous writers whose popular dislike of the use of adverbs has been a prominent topic in the writing community for years. They have stated that using adverbs makes any form of writing look lazy, weak, and muddled.

They’re not completely right, but there is some truth in their statements. There is a massive number of adverbs that are considered of little worth. Since many of them have been used thoughtlessly in writing and speech, they have turned into little more than roundabout literary devices or verbal tics.

But in truth, no respectable writer would recommend abolishing adverbs altogether. Even Hemingway, Twain, and King use them on occasion. You’ll find dozens of adverbs in their books, although the frequency is lesser than in other writers’ work.

Let’s not forget that “too” is an adverb, as in “This room is too small for me.” “Often” is also an adverb, as in “I don’t use my phone often.” Furthermore, these “useless” adverbs are still essential in instructional materials to demonstrate how adverbs function. What Hemingway, Twain, and King were driving at was using adverbs in moderation.

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Why are Adverbs Essential to Language Use?

Adverbs are a part of speech that can modify adjectives, verbs, other adverbs, clauses, and entire sentences. They provide information or details about how things happen, to what extent or degree, where, and when. We can’t deny that some of them are necessary, especially adverbs of time, place, frequency, and measure.

What are Bad Adverbs

The underlying question is what makes an adverb good or bad. In writing, you would want to present your ideas concisely and clearly to your readers (notice the use of adverbs in this sentence). Excessive use of any part of speech can make sentences clunky.

Bad adverbs are unnecessary, which means the sentence will read far more strongly without them. Let’s take a look at the following examples:

  • This house is very dirty. You can’t see the floor.
  • He is totally funny, which is why we like hanging out with him.

In these sentences, the adjectives dirty and funny are too weak to express what the writer or speaker wants to convey, which is why adverbs are employed. Adding the adverbs very and totally when the adjectives are weak could pass the first time around, but it would make reading awkward if they’re used in every sentence.

You need to consider if there is a stronger replacement for a weak adjective that can shorten the sentence and get the meaning across at the same time. Let’s read the same sentences with stronger adjectives:

  • This house is filthy. You can’t see the floor.
  • He is hilarious, which is why we like hanging out with him.

The sentences now display a high level of fluency or articulation. They also paint a better picture with fewer words. Now, let’s read some sentences with weak verbs:

  • Benjamin called out loudly to get Hami’s attention.
  • Miko looked aggressively at his bully.

The verbs called out and looked need adverbs to express the strong intensity that the writer or speaker is going for. But the adverbs loudly and aggressively are overused and appear lazy in this construction. Here are the same sentences with stronger verb replacements:

  • Benjamin yelled to get Hami’s attention.
  • Miko glared at his bully.

The verbs yelled and glare articulate more powerful actions. At the end of the day, this kind of editing or language choice defines formidable writing skills.

Nonetheless, It should be reiterated (not “mentioned repeatedly”) that these sentences are not wrong. But writing or speaking a long series of sentences with the same structure or falling into a habit of using the same composition weakens your language expression and makes it redundant. Imagine using adverbs that end in -ly with every verb and every adjective in every sentence:

  • Lukas was speaking profoundly at the amazingly restored coliseum of his completely quaint hometown.

The reader will give up.

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What are Good Adverbs

Good adverbs add context or provide new and solid information to the parts of speech, clauses, and sentences that they are modifying. Let’s consider the adverb “interestingly.” The information that follows it should be interesting and not just a placeholder for exaggerating a point.

In addition, good adverbs replace writing that is chunky. For example:

  • They exchanged ideas one after another by giving someone a chance to speak at the meeting.

This can be expressed better with an adverb:

  • They exchanged ideas alternately at the meeting.

Remember that not all adverbs are bad, and not all of them are good. When used properly, adverbs can add important information to sentences and make them unique, engaging, and valuable. However, they should never be overdone, which is a rule applicable to all parts of speech.

What it comes down to is acquiring and strengthening your understanding of adverbs so that you can develop the skill of using them wisely. You won’t be able to decide when to do so if you don’t have a robust knowledge of the basics.

So, fundamentals first. That’s where comes in.

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How to use this Grammar section / Adverbs Section

This page was created to deliver a general list of topics related to [Adverbs] with links to designated sub-pages that cover its definition, its many types or classifications, and FAQs. Each sub-page will take you to a resource article that dives further into its respective topic, which includes the following:

  • Word lists
  • Practice exercises & answers
  • Reference tables and charts
  • Sample sentences
  • and a lot more

Not only have our language experts put together a comprehensive handbook for Adverbs, but we have also undertaken all topics related to English Grammar. We designed them for English Learners across all proficiency levels. Each article is perfectly suited to you wherever you may be in your language-learning journey.

Feel free to explore the main [Grammar Page] for other grammatical subjects that you want to learn. You can save or bookmark these pages for easy access and future use. You can print out the tables and charts as handy references when you need a quick review or side-by-side comparisons. You can use them as a framework to create your own lists and tables which you can customize to fit your language needs.

Learning English can be a pain. We were all students once so we know that all too well. The people behind this blog are language specialists, General and Business English teachers, and ESL instructors who have years of experience learning and teaching the language across the globe. Our objective is to share our professional knowledge and insight to help students navigate the complexity, nuance, and difficulties of the English language.

On that note, below is the list of Adverb Topics available for you to read and study.

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Adverbs Definition and Examples

Before diving into the different types of adverbs. it’s important to learn the basics, which is what this page is about. It aims to help beginners grasp the concept of adverbs as a whole. Mainly, it serves as an overview that includes general spelling and functionality rules, sample sentences, and a useful vocabulary list. The page explains what adverbs are, which parts of speech they modify, and how they are used in comparisons.

Types of Adverbs

Adverbs are classified according to the information they give and how they function in sentences. The number of adverb types may vary in different references. Some grammar guides count at least 5 general types.

This page outlines the types of adverbs for the benefit of learners seeking a summary. It is comprised of definitions and sample sentences to present how adverbs are used in language and their placement in sentences. If you need a more in-depth review or analysis, there are detailed pages assigned for each type of adverb that you can dig into.

Adverbs of Frequency

To indicate or describe how often an action happens, we use Adverbs of Frequency. The main ones that are common in English are the following:

  • Never
  • Rarely
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

This page discusses them and other examples in detail, complete with rules, common errors, a practice activity, and FAQs.

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Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of Place is a classification of adverbs that we use to describe the spatial or temporal location in which an action is happening. A lot of English learners confuse them with prepositions as they can have identical forms.

To distinguish between the two, remember that prepositions are parts of a phrase and are followed by nouns or what we call objects of prepositions. Adverbs, however, are not. However, if a prepositional phrase modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb, the entire phrase functions as an adverb. Let’s look at the following examples:

  • Martina drove across the bridge. (The word “across” is a preposition followed by its object “the bridge”. The whole phrase “across the bridge” functions as an adverb that modifies the verb “drove.”)
  • She parked nearby. (The word “nearby” is an adverb that modifies the verb “parked.”)

This page will discuss other rules in detail and includes common errors about adverbs of place and tips on how to avoid them.

Adverbs of Time

While adverbs of frequency describe the regularity of an action based on how often it happens, Adverbs of Time answer the question “when.” This page will help intermediate and advanced students identify and determine the distinction.

Generally, adverbs of time refer to when something happens. Adverbs of frequency, on the other hand, provide extra information on the constancy of an action. For example:

  • Lyndon sings daily.
  • Lyndon sang yesterday.

The frequency adverb daily refers to how regular Lyndon sings, while the time adverb yesterday refers to that one point in time when Lyndon sang.

In some adverb classifications, another type related to time is adverbs of duration, which indicates how long an action occurred. In fact, they are something clumped together as sub-types of time adverbs.

These are some of the nuances you’ll discover about the English language. This page will delve more into their distinctions and proper usage.

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Adverbs of Degree

Adverbs of Degree signify how intense the quality or force of an action is. They can further express what another part of speech can’t state by itself. They can be literary devices to articulate exaggeration or emphasis.

We have discussed that weak verbs or adjectives often need adverbs to put their message across. However, they can be replaced by more powerful verbs or adjectives to be more semantically concise or effective.

Let’s study the sentence “The water is very cool.”

“Very cool” can be replaced by the word “cold.” And to take it another step further, “very cold” can be replaced by the word “icy” or “freezing.” However, if the speaker or writer wishes to express the same meaning but with embellishment – either out of sarcasm or humor – they could say or write “extremely icy.”

This use of adverbs can be effective in some contexts. But as a rule of thumb, don’t overuse them, especially in writing.

This page is designed for learners who want more advanced instruction on how adverbs of degree can be used well. You will learn about strategies to avoid common errors regarding the usage of degree adverbs, reinforced by vocabulary lists, sentence examples, and practice exercises.

Adverbs of Cause and Effect

Two types of adverbs can convey cause and effect: adverbial clauses and conjunctive adverbs. This page serves as an overview of the two. It also discusses grammar topics related to them such as independent and dependent clauses, subordinating conjunctions, adverbial conjunctions, and relative clauses (clauses that function as adjectives and are often confused with their adverbial counterparts.)

Intermediate and Advanced learners may have encountered these terms and seek simplified definitions to understand their differences accurately. This page provides that. If you are a beginner, you may find the terms perplexing, but this page is a great jumping-off point to establish background knowledge in preparation for more complex topics on adverbs.

Adverbs of Cause and Effect are useful in communication. This page includes sample sentences that you can use as a baseline for your own sentence construction or school assignments. Helpful lists and tables are also incorporated to present these concepts in the most straightforward way possible.

If you want more extensive content, make sure you check out the individual pages on the adverbial clause and conjunctive adverbs.

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Adverbs of Affirmation

Adverbs of Affirmation (also, affirmative adverbs) indicate that something is accurate or exact. They may express some other equivalent of truth. Consider the following sentences:

  • Kirihara will surely appreciate this.
  • Kirihara will never appreciate this.

In the first sentence, “surely” affirms Kirihara’s appreciation. In the second sentence “never” negates the action, referring to the fact that it is impossible.

This page will tackle the topic of adverbs of affirmation with rules, tables, lists, examples, and learning tips.

Adverbs of Negation

Opposite to affirmative adverbs, Adverbs of Negation (also, negative adverbs) negate an action in some way. These adverbs specify that something may not be true or downright improbable or impossible.
Consider the following sentences:

  • Yeong Min definitely looks forward to your meetings.
  • Yeong Min never looks forward to your meetings

In the first sentence, “definitely” affirms Yeong Min’s excitement. In the second sentence “never” negates it, stating that Yeong Min won’t ever feel excited.

This page discusses the topic of Adverbs of Negation with a table of rules, vocabulary lists, sample sentences, and learning advice.

Adverbs of Manner

To articulate in what way or how something happens, Adverbs of Manner are useful.

Let’s say Billy is an accountant and he is putting together an annual report of his company’s
assets and liabilities. It’s possible to do so with varying degrees of thoroughness. Billy can write the report either feebly or diligently. These adverbs describe the different ways Billy could do his job.

You will learn all about adverbs of manner on this page, with rules about placement, functionality, and spelling. The most valuable takeaway is a comprehensive list of commonly used adverbs of manner that you can study to strengthen your vocabulary.

Remember to use adverbs only when they add information or a certain appeal to your sentences. While it’s not entirely wrong to use adverbs in all your sentences, it’s advisable to use a few in a block of text.

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Adverbs of Condition

Adverbs of Condition describe levels of uncertainty, possibility, or supposition about a statement. The most common conditional adverbs in the English language are the following:

  • Hopefully
  • Presumably
  • Otherwise
  • Consequently
  • Presumably
  • Finally
  • Surely

This page will take a closer look into each one’s definitions and what they mean when used in sentences. It also provides a list of common errors and the ways to avoid them.

Position of Adverbs

In English, as in any other language, the order of words in sentences is governed by the rules of syntax. Following the correct syntax in sentence construction or formation is vital to communicate coherently.

We will examine syntax regarding adverbs and you will learn all about their main placements in sentences: initial, middle, and end. Let’s look at the examples below:

  • Instinctively, Lisa sped up her motorcycle to catch the thief. (initial)
  • Binad is weak in Math; however, he is a fast learner. (middle)
  • I’d like to see the portfolio now. (end)

This page is an excellent resource for English learners of all levels. Not only does it talk about the rules, but it also discusses the Positions of Adverbs according to types, even their arrangement when they appear in a series.

Adverbial Clause

This is an extension page to the topic Adverbs of Cause and Effect. It’s a more detailed study of the Adverbial Clause.

Short and sweet isn’t always the best way to go about language expression, whether in speaking or writing. When a lot of detail is involved or if you want to put forward substantial information in a single statement, adverbial clauses can help.

This page will take you through the different types of adverbial clauses, complete with tables and lists to minimize confusion. More importantly, it will also compare adverbial clauses to adverbial phrases, which many English learners have a hard time differentiating.

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Questions Answered by Adverbs

The types of adverbs are classified as stated by their functions. More specifically, they are grouped according to the way they answer questions. They deliver more information and a better understanding of the context of a sentence. Below is an overview of the types of adverbs and the questions they answer:

  • Adverbs of Manner: How?
  • Adverbs of Time: When?
  • Adverb of Place: Where?
  • Adverb of Affirmation: How positively?
  • Adverb of Cause and Effect: Why?
  • Adverb of Frequency: How often?
  • Adverb of Degree: How much? or To what extent?

This page will discuss each type in detail with sentence examples, learning advice, and a helpful grammar chart to help Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced students increase their knowledge with a wider exploration of the various adverb types.

Adverbs without the -ly form

In most cases, adverbs end with the –ly suffix. This is the basic rule when writing adverbs from their adjective forms. But several adverbs are spelled differently and don’t end in –ly. These adverbs are called Irregular Adverbs.

On this page, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced students will be introduced to or will be given a review of the errors that many English learners make, and that is to confuse irregular adverbs with their adjective counterparts.

Like all the other pages in this list, you will find value in the presentation of rules, common errors, learning tips, exercises, sample sentences, and so much more.

Conjunctive Adverbs

This page is an extension to the subject Adverbs of Cause and Effect. It’s a more detailed study of Conjunctive Adverbs.

Conjunctive adverbs, such as however and therefore, are words used to connect two independent clauses. They work as transitions or bridges between two related ideas, creating a smooth shift from one to the other.

This page will walk you through the different functions of conjunctive adverbs with example sentences to show you exactly how they’re used. There are dozens of sample sentences to study and we’ve included an extensive list of conjunctive adverbs that will aid English learners of all levels, especially in writing tasks.

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Adverb Frequently Asked Questions

Adverbs are words that qualify, describe, or modify other parts of speech: adjectives, verbs, or other adverbs. They can also modify phrases and independent clauses. They express how ideas relate to places, time, manner, degrees, etc.

Here are the five common types of adverbs with examples:
1. Adverbs of Frequency (answer the question “how often?”)
Examples: sometimes, never, typically, rarely, seldom

2. Adverbs of Manner (answer the question “in what way?“)
Examples: quickly, smoothly, happily, sadly, roughly

3. Adverbs of Place (answers the question “where?“)
Examples: inside, here, there, upstairs, beside

4. Adverbs of Degree (answers the question “to what extent?“)
Examples: very, enough, quite, somewhat, terribly

5. Adverbs of Time (answers the question “when?“)
Example: later, soon, tomorrow, tonight, immediately

Many English learners confuse the two. It’s important to remember that while adjectives modify nouns, adverbs modify adjectives (besides verbs and other adverbs). Below are 5 sentence examples to show adverbs describing adjectives. The adjectives are in italics, while the adverbs are in bold. Note that with adjectives, the correct placement of adverbs is before them.

1. You are very kind to spend some time playing with the kids at the orphanage.
2. Dominic was quite surprised when Mo Tak finished the maze in 10 minutes.
3. I am absolutely positive that Lillian isn’t responsible for this wreck.
4. Tae’s dedication to his job is highly appreciated by his boss.
5. Hilda became completely frustrated when Jamie failed his algebra exam.

Yes. Modifiers are words that describe parts of speech. In particular, nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. They provide more detail or explanation of the subjects they describe. We use modifiers to articulate our ideas better and accurately and to give more quality to our language expression. Adjectives and adverbs (with phrases utilized for the same functions) are the most common modifiers in the English language.

Much like attributive adjectives that are given a particular arrangement when they are used in a series, adverbs follow a similar rule. In a series of adverbs, the proper order is frequency, place, manner, and time.

For example: “He rarely eats outside quickly.”

However, for clarity’s sake, only use adverbs in a series when there is an absolute need as it can make your sentences sound awkward and confusing. In fact, we recommend using a maximum of two adverbs in one sentence, and possibly never in a succession of sentences.

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