Why do we use adverbials?

We use adverbs to give more information about the verb.

We use adverbials of manner to say how something happens or how something is done:

The children were playing happily.
He was driving as fast as possible.

We use adverbials of place to say where something happens:

I saw him there.
We met in London.

We use adverbials of time to say when or how often something happens:

They start work at six thirty.
They usually go to work by bus.

We use adverbials of probability to show how certain we are about something.

  • Perhaps the weather will be fine.
  • He is certainly coming to the party.


Try these tasks to practice your use of adverbials.

Task 1


Task 2


Task 3




Hello Alice,

As I said in my answer to your earlier question, the -ing forms here are functioning as adverbials.

The -ing form is very flexible. It can be part of a verb phrase, it can function as an adjective, it can function as a noun (a gerund), it can head a participle clause/phrase and it can function in some cases as an adverb.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


I have a grammar question that has baffled me. In the following sentences, are the words "freezing", "scalding", and "dripping" adjectives or adverbs?

1. He is dripping wet.
2. The weather is freezing cold.
3. The pan is scalding hot.

Thank you.

Hello Alice,

In these sentences the words you highlight are functioning as adverbs. They are modifying the adjectives which follow them, so 'freezing cold' means 'extremely cold', 'dripping wet' means 'extremely wet' and so on.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much.


Sir, The whiter is his face the blacker is his heart. is it also possible like 'His heart is as black as his face is white' though it seems worng and I think it is what do you look at it ?
if something gets away from you or you stay away from it so you forget about it because there is no connection between you and that thing or there remains no connection between you and that thing. Could I also say "Because there has been no connection between you and that thing ?

In the following sentence: 'We go home very late on Friday.'
Very is adverb describing late.
Is 'late' adverb describing the verb go? Or, is 'late' is adverb describing the adverb on Friday.
Can you recommend me a good website where I can find examples of analyzing sentences explained in detail?

Hello Sash,

The kind of analysis you're asking about here is called 'sentence parsing'. If you do an internet search for 'free sentence parser', you should be able to find at least a couple that will help you with this kind of analysis. You could also try a British Council class to seek help from a teacher if that's feasible for you.

'late' is one of a group of words that have the same form as adjectives and as adverbs. In this case, I'd say that it's an adverb modifying the verb phrase 'go home' and is not connected to the prepositional phrase 'on Fridays'. 

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, He campaigned or breathed heavily, or He heavily campaigned or breathed heavily.
Is there any difference ?