Adverbs – Definition & Examples (With Worksheet)

I know every writer looks for ways to spice up their pieces. A couple of adverbs will bring color to your sentences, I promise. They will describe your action, add more description, and emphasize a word’s meaning.

What does an adverb do? Good question! Keep reading to know the definition, types, and how to use adverbs. You’ll also learn how to use different adverbs in sentences.

What is an Adverb?

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In the English language, an adverb is a part of speech that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb. I use them to make my fiction writing more colorful.

Let’s have quick lessons on adjectives and verbs. Adjectives modify nouns and pronouns, while verbs show action, condition, or existence.

Adverbs often end in -ly, such as loudly, happily, or quickly. They can also be an adverb phrase like at the mall or whenever she wants. No matter its form, the function of adverbs remains the same.

What are the 5 Types of Adverbs?

There are five common forms of Adverbs in English.

Adverbs of Frequency

An adverb of frequency is a type of adverb that goes after auxiliary verbs. They answer the question, “how often?” Some examples include:

  • Never.
  • Hardly ever.
  • Seldom.
  • Sometimes.
  • Rarely.
  • Occasionally.
  • Often.
  • Usually.
  • Frequently.
  • Always.

The adverbs above show indefinite frequency because they have unclear meaning on how often something happens.

Here are some examples in sentences.

  • I always go to the gym.
  • I rarely see you around.

Adverbs of Degree

We can show something’s degree with adverbs. Common adverbs of degree answer questions like “how much?” and “to what extent?” Typically, we express these degrees in adjectives like very good, extremely difficult, or most quickly.

An absolute adverb describes something in its own right, such as hastily or warmly. We often use more before an adjective or another adverb to show its comparative form. But for superlative forms, we use most. Below are other adverbs of degree.

  • Almost.
  • Hardly.
  • Just.
  • Nearly.
  • Quite.
  • Enough.
  • Simply.
  • So.
  • Very.
  • Too.

Now, I will say this. These types of adverbs are often weeded out of fiction writing because they can usually be replaced with actions or more description. So, keep that firmly at the forefront of your mind if you’re writing a story.

Remember that an adverb of degree tells how much or to what extent something is. It doesn’t show how often something happens and where it does. Here are some examples of adverbs of degree in sentences.

  • I’m very excited to see my favorite actor’s new movie.
  • The film was interesting enough.
  • It’s too good to be true.

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place, positional adverbs, or spatial adverbs answer the question “where?” We usually find lots of adverbs of place after the lexical verb. Here’s a list of adverbs of place.

  • Above.
  • Anywhere.
  • Everywhere.
  • Here.
  • Back.
  • Inside.
  • Nowhere.
  • Out.
  • Outside.
  • There.

Here, I whipped up a few positional adverb examples in sentences.

  • Kate is willing to go everywhere as long as it’s with Jake.
  • You should go downstairs. Your uncle is waiting for you.
  • Look outside to see the sunset.

Adverbs of Time

An adverb of time tells us when something happens. Many prepositions show when something happened. However, there’s always an object after them. Here are some adverbs of time.

  • Already.
  • Immediately.
  • Earlier.
  • Lately.
  • Later.
  • Recently.
  • Soon.
  • Now.
  • Tomorrow.
  • Yesterday.

I made some examples of adverbs of time in sentences for you.

  • The Cullens recently went to West Virginia.
  • I will finish my homework next week after the midterm examination.
  • Shane arrived earlier than I expected.

Adverbs of Manner

This is an adverb that answers the question, “How did it happen?” or “In what manner?” Generally, any word with the suffix -ly added to its adjective form is an adverb of manner. Here’s a list of examples.

  • Patiently.
  • Quickly.
  • Mercilessly.
  • Generously.
  • Kindly.
  • Beautifully.

Some adverbs of manner do not end in -ly. For example:

  • Well.
  • Bad.
  • Fast.

Here are a few quick examples of adverbs of manner in sentences.

  • Peter beautifully painted the scenery.
  • My mother neatly folded the clothes and placed them in the cabinet.
  • Everyone needs to speak softly in the library.
  • Your recent essay is proof that you write well.

What is a Simple Adverb?

A simple or flat adverb is an adverb that has the same form as the adjective it corresponds with. Deep, fair, and fast are examples of flat adverbs.

Below is an example. What is the adverb in the sentence?

  • Can you please drive slow?

A handful of adverbs can be in simple form and ending in -ly. Be careful not to use an inappropriate adverb. For example:

  • You came home late again.
  • I haven’t been going to the park lately.

What are Negative Adverbs?

Negative adverbs are adverbs that have a negative meaning. These are used at the beginning of the clause by inverting the subject and verb. For example:

  • Only in the summer do the beaches get overcrowded.
  • Little did we know that she would be leaving for another country.

What is a Focus Adverb?

A focus adverb is an adverb or additive that limits what is being communicated. For example:

  • Alice received a perfect score just for attending the seminar.
  • I received a perfect score in addition to receiving an award.

What are Sentence Adverbs?

Sentence adverbs modify an entire sentence. The most common sentence adverbs are fortunately, hopefully, and thankfully. They are also sometimes called disjunctive adverbs. For example:

  • Thankfully, the sun was up yesterday.
  • Unfortunately, we ran out of ingredients for the cake.

Placement of Adverbs

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One of the hallmarks of adverbs, especially adverbs of manner, is that you can find them in every part of a sentence. Understanding the positions of adverbs lets you know how to find adverbs in a sentence. For example:

  • Happily, she smelled the fresh pages of her new book.
  • She happily smelled the fresh pages of her new book.
  • She smelled the fresh pages of her new book happily.

Indefinite adverbs of time are located before the verb or between the main and auxiliary verbs. For example:

  • I already used that perfume.
  • I have already used that perfume.

An adverb’s position with adjectives can be challenging. But the guideline is to place them before the adjective you’re describing. For example:

  • Paul got a very high score.
  • She was too happy that she had forgotten her keys.

In the first sentence, the adverb very comes before the adjective high. This can also be seen in the second sentence. The adverb too modified the adjective happy.

As for the order, the shorter adverb phrase always comes first. In the sentence below, an adverb of time precedes an adverb of frequency. The only reason is that it’s shorter.

  • I have been drinking a glass of wine in the evening each day of my life.

These guidelines should give you additional ideas on proper placement and make you realize how adverbs provide you with flexibility with language.

You have various opportunities to use descriptive language in your writing. But inappropriate adverb order will result in misplaced modifiers.

Adverbial Phrases

An adverbial phrase is a bunch of words that functions as an adverb. It doesn’t have a subject and predicate compared to an adverbial clause. For example:

  • I want to see you in the morning.
  • She sat in the front row.

Adjunctive adverbs are a type of adverbial phrase that add information about an event or state.

Infinitive phrases can function as adverbs. The infinitive form always starts with to. For instance:

  • She needs water to stay hydrated.

The same is true with prepositional phrases. For example:

  • Mary danced with grace.

Conjunctive Adverbs and Adverb Clauses

Conjunctive adverbs offer a transition between ideas by connecting clauses. For example:

  • I enjoy reading historical fiction. However, science fiction is still my favorite.
  • There was a massive storm yesterday. Still, the game hasn’t been canceled.

An adverb clause is one that modifies an adjective, verb, clause, or another adverb. They contain subordinate conjunctions that prevent them from standing on their own as sentences. For example:

  • I walked swiftly until I reached her house. (This adverb clause describes how I walked swiftly).

When to Avoid Adverbs

You might wonder when using adverbs are a bad idea. My editor always says it’s important to follow the “show, don’t tell” rule. Instead of writing adverbs, try expressing yourself clearly.

For example, rather than saying, “She ran quickly,” you can say, “She ran one mile in only 12 minutes,” or simply, “She sprinted.”

Summing Up Adverbs

Adverbs belong to one of the major form classes in numerous languages. It modifies a verb, adjective, or fellow adverb.

My guide has shown you adverb’s definition and examples, so I hope you have a better understanding now. You also know its five different types now. Let us know if you have more questions about adverbs!

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