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




Good Morning Teachers,

An English teacher of mine just told me that

last 5 seconds can replace 5 seconds ago
last 3 weeks can replace 3 weeks ago
last 7 months can replace 7 months ago

as adverbial of time. is that correct? Because so far i know "last 5 seconds" is a period of time, in contrary "5 seconds ago" is a point of time. But my teacher said that it was the same.

Could you please explain to me? Thanks for your help

Hello Rony,

As far as I know, these two expressions mean something different. 'X + unit of time + ago' refers to a point in time in the past and 'in the last + X + unit of time' refers to a period beginning at the time stated and continuing up until the present. But there are many varieties of English around the world, and it may well be that in parts of Asia the two expressions are used to mean the same thing.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Good evening
I have an assignment which I have to finish before Wednesday, The teacher told us to write three sentences about adverbial clauses, one of time, another of manner and one of place.
She also asked us to analyse each sentence.
I have already started writing notes after revising your interesting lessons.
Would you mind checking it for me?

1. Do not disturb me when I am busy with my work.
This is an example of → adverbial clause of time.
The independent clause is → “Do not disturb me”
The dependent clause is → “when I am busy with my work”
The subordinator is → “when”
The subject-verb combination is → “I am”
The adverbial clause in this example follows the independent clause and specifies or tells the time when the speaker doesn’t want to be disturbed.

2. She slept as if she was a baby.
This is an example of → adverbial clause of manner.
The independent clause is → “She slept”
The dependent clause is → “as if she was a baby”
The subordinator is → “as if”
The subject-verb combination is → “she was”
The adverbial clause in this example follows the independent clause and specifies how she slept.

3. Walk past the bank and keep going to the end of the street.( I am completely not sure about this one)
This is an example of → adverbial clause of place.
The independent clause is → “Walk - keep going”
The dependent clause is → “past the bank - to the end of the street”
The subordinator is → “past - to”
The subject-verb combination is → “ - ”
The adverbial clauses in this example follow the independent clauses and specify the direction where the listener should move.

I do apologize for making it so long.
Thank you

Hello Haneen,

Your first two sentences look good. I would say that sentence 3 doesn't have a dependent clause, but is rather two clauses ('walk past the bank' and 'keep going to the end of the street') joined by 'and'. Instead, you might want to try forming an adverbial clause of location with 'where', e.g. 'He didn't know where they were taking him'.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Greetings Team,
I came across this sentence in a book. is it correct?

The hare was very proud of his running quickly in the anecdote.

Should it be quick or quickly?


Hello iamsam1987,

In this sentence, 'running' is a noun, and so yes, an adjective ('quick') is the correct form here, though as an adjective it should go before the noun it modifies.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,
I have read the following thing in a book -

Gerunds or Verb Nouns- Gerunds are also called Verb Nouns and Verb Nouns can be modified by Adverbs, and not by Adjectives.

Verbal Nouns - 'The + Gerund + of' is callled a Verbal Noun and it can be modified by an Adjective.
Example - The killing of rhinoceroses should be stricly prohibited as it has already endangered them.

Since in the following sentence - 'The hare was very proud of his running quickly in the anecdote',

Running functions as a Gerund, it should be modified by an Adverb (quickly), and not by an adjective (quick).

Is it correct what I wrote ?

Thank you so much,

According to Warriner's English Composition and Grammar, a gerund can be a single word, the verb + ing, or a phrase with all its compliments and modifiers.

The sentence in question contains the gerund phrase "running quickly," not just a gerund. The adverb "quickly" specifies how the hare ran, and it should be part of the gerund that is modified by the verb "proud." Without it, the rabbit is proud of only "running," instead of "running quickly."

Here is an example that comes from Warriner's:
"My grandparents enjoy walking briskly."
Here, the grandparents enjoy walking briskly, not just walking.

Concerning the use of adjectives with gerunds in the other example sentence, "the killing of rhinoceroses" is a noun phrase consisting of a gerund and the prepositional phrase, "of rhinoceroses," which is an adjective phrase that limits the gerund, "the killing," to a specific type of killing, not just killing in general. If this seems strange, know that prepositional phrases can function as adjectives, adverbs, and sometimes nouns.

I suppose an easy way to go about this is so: If the action in question has any modifiers prior to becoming a gerund, treat those modifiers as if they are modifying a verb, not a noun. Otherwise, treat modifiers as if they are affecting a noun.

Hello Sam,

In general, we don't comment on other grammar sources. Also, this is not the kind of topic that we deal with here on LearnEnglish. We don't enter into debates about obscure points of grammar because there's simply too much other work that is more valuable for a greater number of our users.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team