Questions Answered by Adverbs

Interrogative Adverbs: What Questions Can be Answered by Adverbs?

Interrogative adverbs are words that ask questions. It could ask questions about time, place, manner, cause, and degree. Examples of interrogative adverbs include when, where, why, how, and how much. These adverbs help us better understand the context of a sentence or conversation by providing more information about the subject of a discussion. For example, if someone asked, “How did you do on the test?” The answer could be, “I did well.” The adverb “well,” an adverb of manner, provides more information about how the person did on the test.

In this article, we will discuss the role of adverbs in a sentence and explain some general questions answered by using them. By understanding its function, we can find more clarity in our speech as well as improve our grammar.

7 Questions Answered By Adverbs

1.Interrogative Adverb of Manner: How?

The interrogative adverb of manner asks “how” something was done. It is used to inquire about the way in which an action was performed or the means by which a result was achieved.

Examples of Interrogative Adverb of Manner:

  • Statement: My father assembled my baby sister’s crib carefully.

Question: How did your father assemble your baby sister’s crib?

Answer: Carefully.

  • Statement: The child ran to her mother quickly.

Question: How did the child run to her mother?

Answer: Quickly.

Here are more examples of interrogative adverbs of manner:

  • How did you get here? [safely, speedily, by car, by bus, by train, by walking]
  • How did your sister bake this cake? [hastily, patiently, nicely, slowly, well]
  • How did your vacation go? [successfully, pleasantly, restfully, meditatively]
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2. Interrogative Adverb of Time: When?

The adverb of time asks “when” something happened. It is used to inquire about the time frame in which an action took place or when a result was achieved.

Examples of Interrogative Adverb of Time:

  • Statement: I finished my homework yesterday.

Question: When did you finish your homework?

Answer: Yesterday.

  • Statement: She will arrive at the airport tomorrow.

Question: When will she arrive at the airport?

Answer: Tomorrow.

Here are more examples of adverbs of time:

  • When did you last see your friend? [last month, last week, this morning, this evening]
  • When did you buy this dress? [today, on Monday, last year, on my birthday]
  • When did you go to the beach? [this summer, last April, after my graduation, this week]

To ask about the time frame or duration of action, we use “how long” and “how soon” instead of “when.” For example:

  • How long have you been waiting? [for an hour, a day, since last week]
  • How soon will you arrive? [in thirty minutes, a few days, tomorrow]

3. Interrogative Adverb of Place: Where?

The interrogative adverb of place asks “where” something happened. It is used to inquire about the location in which an action took place.

Examples of Interrogative Adverb of Place:

  • Statement: My brother found his lost wallet at home.

Question: Where did your brother find his lost wallet?

Answer: At home.

  • Statement: She bought a new dress from the store.

Question: Where did she buy the new dress?

Answer: From the store.

Here are more examples of interrogative adverbs of place:

  • Where should I place these plates? [here, there, on top of the counter, inside the cabinet]
  • Where did the dog run? [northward, eastward, around the block, across the street]
  • Where are you? [over here, at the park, in the mall, at work]
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4. Interrogative Adverb of Affirmation: How positively?

The interrogative adverb of affirmation is used to ask about the degree or intensity of an action or result. It is used to inquire about how positively something happened or was achieved.

Examples of Interrogative Adverb of Affirmation:

  • Statement: The crowd was immensely pleased with the performance.

Question: How positively was the crowd pleased with the performance?

Answer: Immensely.

  • Statement: Her teacher will surely pass her in the exam.

Question: How positively will her teacher pass her in the exam?

Answer: Surely.

Here are more examples of interrogative adverbs of affirmation:

  • How accurately did you answer the questions? [very accurately, somewhat accurately]
  • How quickly did you finish the project? [very quickly, more quickly]
  • How positively did your boss respond to your proposal? [ very positively, quite positively]

5. Interrogative Adverb of Cause and Effect: Why?

The interrogative adverb of cause and effect is used to ask why something happened or what caused a certain result. It is used to inquire about the reason behind an action or result.

Examples of Interrogative Adverb of Cause and Effect:

  • Statement: She failed her exam because she didn’t study enough.

Question: Why did she fail her exam?

Answer: Because she didn’t study enough.

  • Statement: He left the party early because he was feeling tired.

Question: Why did he leave the party early?

Answer: Because he was feeling tired.

Here are more examples of interrogative adverbs of cause and effect:

  • Why are you crying?
  • Why did you miss the meeting?
  • Why did you choose this restaurant?
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6. Interrogative Adverb of Frequency: How often?

The interrogative adverb of frequency is used to ask how often something happens or occurs. It is used to inquire about the frequency of an action or result.

Examples of Interrogative Adverb of Frequency:

  • Statement: She goes to the gym three times a week.

Question: How often does she go to the gym?

Answer: Three times a week.

  • Statement: His mother calls him every day.

Question: How often does his mother call him?

Answer: Every day.

Here are more examples of interrogative adverbs of frequency:

  • How frequently do you go to the movies? [once a month, always, thrice a year]
  • How regularly do you exercise? [usually, every weekend, four times a week]
  • How often do you visit your grandparents? [rarely, twice a year, quarterly]

7. Interrogative Adverb of Degree: How much? or To what extent?

The interrogative adverb of degree is used to ask about the extent or intensity of an action or result. It answers the question “how much” or “to what extent” something happened or was achieved.

Examples of Interrogative Adverb of Degree:

  • Statement: He partially finished drawing the picture.

Question: How much did he finish in drawing the picture?

Answer: Partially.

  • Statement: She completely understood your situation.

Question: To what extent did she understand your situation?

Answer: Completely.

Here are more examples of interrogative adverbs of degree:

  • How much did you enjoy the movie?
  • How much did you learn in the class?
  • To what extent are you satisfied with the results?
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Interrogative Adverbs Grammar Chart

Interrogative Adverb of Mannerrefers to questions answering “in what way” or “how” an action was performedHow did he cook this dish? How should I arrange the books? How did you fix your things?
Interrogative Adverb of Timerefers to questions answering “when” an action occurredWhen will you graduate? When are you going back home? When could you return my pen?
Interrogative Adverb of Placerefers to questions about directions (e.g., westward, northward), and answers the question “where”Where is your house? Where did you place my cup? Where are your pets?
Interrogative Adverb of Affirmationrefers to questions answering “how positively” an action was received or perceived by someoneHow accurately did you analyze the data? How effectively did your project solve the problem?
Interrogative Adverb of Frequencyrefers to questions answering “how often” an event or action occursHow often do you brush your teeth? How often do you order online? How often do you read?
Interrogative Adverb of Cause and Effectrefers to questions seeking a reason or “why” an action happenedWhy did you walk away? Why will you buy a new phone? Why are you laughing?
Interrogative Adverb of Degreerefers to questions answering “how much” or “to what extent” that describes the degree of an action, such as how quickly something is doneHow much will you take care of her? To what extent did you perform your research? How much does your purse cost?
Interrogative Adverbs Grammar Table with Example Sentences

Other Functions Of Interrogative Adverbs

The examples above shows the main function of interrogative adverbs: to ask questions. Below are its two other functions in English grammar:

Head of Noun ClausesA noun clause is a subordinate clause that acts as a noun in a sentence. It typically begins with “wh- questions,” such as “where,” “how,” and “when.” Instead of writing in interrogative or question form, noun clauses are written in declarative form. As such, it is proper to end the sentence with a period instead of a comma.I know where you went last Friday. She loves it when you buy her flowers. He understands how you explained the law of inertia. They explained why I need update my account.
Indirect QuestionsIndirect questions are questions that are not asked directly. As such, they are embedded inside a declarative or interrogative sentence. Moreover, indirect questions convey politeness.Direct Question: Where did you buy your necklace? Indirect Declarative form: She would like to know where you bought your necklace. Indirect Interrogative form: Did she ask where you bought your necklace?
Functions Of Interrogative Adverbs Examples Chart Table
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Interrogative Adverbs Exercises with Answers

Convert the following statements into interrogative adverbs. Use the highlighted word(s) as your basis.

1. Bats always sleep in the daytime because they are nocturnal animals.

2. He opened the gift quickly in the living room.

3. Wendy sent you a very heartfelt letter yesterday.

4. That disaster-resilient building costs a lot.

5. I pay my bills religiously to avoid any late fees.

6. Next year, my family will buy a new car.

7. The movie was critically acclaimed because the acting and cinematography were masterfully done.

8. He cried in the bathroom so no one would hear him.

9. She seldom goes to the library on Mondays.

10. He drove northward for two hours.


1. Why do bats always sleep in the daytime?

2. Where did he open the gift?

3. How heartfelt was the letter Wendy sent you?

4. How much did that disaster-resilient building cost?

5. How do I pay my bill to avoid any late fees?

6. When will my family buy a new car?

7. Why is the movie critically acclaimed?

8. Where did he cry so no one would hear him?

9. When does she seldom go to the library?

10. How long did he drive northward?

Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

Interrogative adverbs are a great way to ask questions in English. They can help you get more information about a topic or situation. When using interrogative adverbs, ensure the correct word order and grammar structure. For example, when asking a question with “how,” the verb should come after it. Additionally, practice using interrogative adverbs in conversations and writing exercises to familiarize yourself with their correct usage. Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand irregular adverbs and adverbial clause.

Common Mistakes Made by English Learners

One common mistake English learners commit when learning about interrogative adverb is incorrectly punctuating declarative indirect questions and noun clauses. The source of confusion might stem from the main function of interrogative adverbs, that is to ask questions.

The trick to avoid this mistake is to remember that when a sentence doesn’t start with a “wh- question” or with helping verbs (e.g., did, do), it must be punctuated with a period. For example:

(1) Incorrect Punctuation: I don’t know when he will arrive?

(2) Correct Punctuation: I don’t know when he will arrive.

Another mistake some learners make is using interrogative adverbs in the wrong context. For example, when asking a question about someone’s reason for doing something, the interrogative adverb “why” should be used instead of “when.”

(1) Incorrect Usage: When did you decide to become a doctor?

(2) Correct Usage: Why did you decide to become a doctor?

Although the sentence construction is correct in the first sentence, it is improper to use “when” if one is asking for a reason.

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Learning Interrogative Adverbs Strategies and Best Practices

Interrogative adverbs are learned in a similar way as other English grammar topics. To ensure correct usage, learners should practice using them in conversations and writing exercises. Additionally, learners should pay attention to the word order and grammar structure when forming questions with interrogative adverbs. Some activities learners can do to practice interrogative adverbs include:

1. Writing sentences with interrogative adverbs and identifying the correct punctuation to use.

2. Creating a dialogue between two people using interrogative adverbs.

3. Answering questions with interrogative adverbs in a role-play situation.

4. Reading stories or articles and answering comprehension questions that require the use of interrogative adverbs.

Interrogative Adverbs Frequently Asked Questions

The common questions answered by adverbs are “how,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how often.”

Interrogative adverbs are words that are used to ask questions. It is used to inquire about the manner, place, time, or reason for something. “How” is for the interrogative adverb of manner, “where” for the interrogative adverb of place, “when” for the interrogative adverb of time, and “why” for the interrogative adverb of reason or cause and effect.

1. How did you travel here?
2. When did you arrive?
3. Where did you go?
4. Why did you decide to do that?
5. How often do you go there?
6. How quickly can you sprint?
7. When will the meeting start?
8. Where should I put this book?
9. How positively did you respond?
10. How often do you go to the gym?

The four questions adverb phrases answer are: how, when, where, and why.

An interrogative adverb is a component of an adverb commonly written in a question form and answerable with an adverb. Remember that not all “wh- questions” are interrogative adverbs. For instance, “what” is not a part of the interrogative adverb.

Yes, it can be written in a declarative form as long as it is an indirect address and a noun clause. For example, “My mother would like to know how you cooked the chicken curry you gave us.”

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