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Introduction to Adverbs

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Definition of Adverbs - definition

A word that modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb is called an adverb. For example:
She writes fast. ('fast' is an adverb that modifies the verb 'writes')
This is a very tall man. ('very'is an adverb that modifies the adjective 'tall')
He can speak quite loudly. ('quite' is an adverb that modifies that adverb 'loudly')

Different Kinds of Adverbs - definition

There are different kinds of adverbs. They are classified into different categories according to their meaning.

For example:
Adverbs of Time  - show when 
Adverbs of Frequency - show how often
Adverbs of Place - show where
Adverbs of Manner - show how or in what manner

Position of Adverbs of Manner - definition

Adverbs of manner are generally placed after the verb or after the object (if there is one).

For example:
She sleeps lightly. ('lightly' is placed after the verb 'sleeps)
He finished his work quickly. ('quickly' is placed after the object 'work')

Position of Adverbs of Place and Time - definition

Adverbs of place and time are usually placed after the verb or after the object (if there is one).

For example:
He arrived late. ('late' is placed after the verb 'arrived')
Place the table there. ('there' is placed after the object 'table')

Avoid Using Two Negatives - definition

Avoid using two negatives in the same sentence as they cancel each other out.

For example:
I could not find it nowhere. - Incorrect because 'not' and 'nowhere' are both negatives
I could not find it anywhere. - Correct

Position of Two or more Types of Adverbs - definition

When there are two or more adverbs after a verb, the normal order is: adverb of manner, adverb of place, adverb of time.

For example:
She danced well at the competition. (adverb of manner followed by adverb of place)
They will go to school tomorrow morning. (adverb of place followed by adverb of time)

Follow 'Else' by 'But' - definition

'Else' should be followed by 'but' and not 'than'.

For example:
He ate nothing else than bananas for breakfast. - Incorrect
He ate nothing else but bananas for breakfast. - Correct

Position of Adverbs of Frequency - definition

Adverbs of frequency and certain other adverbs like 'almost', 'already', 'hardly', 'nearly', 'just', and 'quite' are normally placed between the subject and the verb if there is only one verb in the sentence. If there is more than one verb,they are placed after the first verb.

For example:
Her children never study. ('never' is placed between the subject 'children' and the verb 'study')
I have often wished that he would arrive early. ('often'is placed after the first verb 'have')

Avoid Using 'Never' for 'Not' - definition

It is incorrect to use 'never' in place of not'.

For example:
I never took your book. - Incorrect
I did not take your book. - Correct
I never remember having been there. - Incorrect
I do not remember having been there. - Correct

Position of the Adverb with 'Am', 'Are', 'Is' and 'Was' - definition

If the verb is 'am', 'are', 'is' or 'was', the adverbs are placed after the verb.

For example:
I am usually early for the meeting. ('usually' is placed after the verb 'am')
We are just leaving. ('just' is placed after the verb 'are')

Avoid Using 'So' as an Adverb of Degree - definition

Do not use 'so' as an adverb of degree, except in an informal situation, when you are talking to your friends or family.

For example:
He is so strong. - Incorrect
He is very strong. - Correct

Position of Stressed Adverbs - definition

Adverbs are usually placed before an auxiliary or the single verb 'be' when they are stressed.

For example:
He always does come early.
I already have finished the work.

Avoid Using 'That' Instead of 'So' - definition

Avoid using 'that' instead of 'so'.

For example:
He went only that far. - Incorrect
He went only so far. - Correct
He was that strong that he could lift the stone. - Incorrect
He was so strong that he could lift the stone. - Correct

Position of the Adverb with 'Have to' and 'Used to' - definition

The adverb usually goes before the auxiliaries 'have to' and 'used to'.

For example:
I often have to work on the weekends.
He always used to arrive on time.

Use Adverb 'Too' as 'More Than Enough' - definition

The adverb 'too' should be used to mean 'more than enough' and should not be used instead of 'very' or 'much'.

For example:
The deal is too good to be true. - Correct
She is speaking too softly to be heard. - Correct
He is too smart. - Incorrect

Position of an Adverb Modifying Adjective or Adverb - definition

When an adverb modifies an adjective or another adverb, the adverb usually comes first.

For example:
Ryan is a rather bright student.
The man was quite alert.

Avoid Use of 'Of Course' for 'Certainly' or 'Undoubtedly' - definition

The phrase 'of course' should not be used to mean 'certainly' or 'undoubtedly'. It should be used to indicate that something that will definitely occur.

For example:
Does she play well? Of course, she does. - Incorrect
Does she play well? Certainly, she does. - Correct
Will the moon rise tonight? Of course, it will. - Correct

Position of the Adverb 'Enough' - definition

The adverb 'enough' is always placed after the word which it modifies.

For example:
There is room enough in the car for another person. ('enough' modifies 'room')
She spoke softly enough to be inaudible to those in the next seat. ('enough' modifies 'softly')

Avoid Using 'As' with Words Like 'Appointed', 'Elected', 'Called' and 'Considered' - definition

Avoid using adverb 'as' with words like 'appointed', 'elected', 'considered' and 'called', but use it with 'regard'.

For example:

He was elected as the President. - Incorrect
He was elected President. - Correct

He was considered as the most intelligent man they knew. - Incorrect
He was considered the most intelligent man they knew. - Correct

They were regarded as the best band in town. - Correct

Position of the Adverb 'Only' - definition

Generally, the word 'only' should be placed immediately before the word it modifies.

For example:
He worked on only three projects this summer.('only' modifies 'three projects')
She slept only five hours last night. ('only' modifies 'five hours')

Related Concepts

Kinds of Adverbs