The Position of Adverbs


Adverbs are words that describe an action (e.g. She speaks slowly) or modify adjectives (e.g. This car is incredibly expensive) or other adverbs (e.g. He works very hard). They can be one word (e.g. often) or a phrase (every now and then).

Common types of adverbs:

  1. Adverbs of manner describe how somebody does something.
  • They usually go after the verb or verb phrase
  • With passive verbs they usually go in mid-position
  • Examples: beautifully, slowly, happily, thoroughly, fast, quickly, cheaply, etc.

2. Adverbs of frequency tell us how often an action is performed.

  • They go before the main verb but after verb be
  • If there are two auxiliary verbs, the adverb goes after the first one
  • Some adverbs can be put at the beginning of the phrase or sentence for emphasis (sometimes, usually, and normally)
  • Examples: always, never, usually, sometimes, usually, normally, etc.

3. Adverbs of time and place tell us when and where an action is performed

  • Time adverbs usually go at the end of a sentence or clause
  • Place adverbs usually go before time adverbs
  • Examples: in the morning, at night, at the airport, in half an hour, here, there, etc.

4. Adverbs of degree describe how much something is done, or modify the adjective

  • Some adverbs of degree are used with adjectives and adverbs and they go before them (e.g. extremely, incredibly, very, a little, a little bit, etc.)
  • Some adverbs are often used with verbs and go before the verb or the verb phrase (e.g. a lot and much)

5. Comment adverbs give the speaker’s opinion about a particular topic.

  • They usually go at the beginning of a sentence or clause
  • Examples: luckily, basically, clearly, obviously, apparently, eventually, etc.

More examples:

Watch the following videos to find more examples and exercises

Practice time

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