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 Owais,

'They are gone' is grammatically correct, but whether it is not correct in a situation depends on the situation.

We're happy to help with your questions if they are related to the topic on one of our pages. Please make them as specific as possible, with as much explanation of what you understand and don't understand and how you see the issue you're asking about. We can help you much better this way!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Is the following sentence correct?
'Explain in detail so that the students can understand.'

I am not sure what tense to use after 'so that'. Please advise.

Hello naghmairam,

That sentence is fine. There is no rule about the tense that can be used here, other than normal rules of logic. As 'explain' refers to an action in the present or future you could not use a past form, but if we change 'explain' to 'explained' then a past form would be fine. It is just a question of logic: the result must be later in time than the cause.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello there,
Would you clarify me please if there is any grammatical mistake regarging the word order (the place of the adverb 'continuously') in the sentences below:
1) We have continuously been improving our skills ...
2) We have been continuously improving our skills ...
If both variants are possible, please kindly explain me the difference in their meaning.
Thank you and regards,

Hello Khatetsky,

Both sentences are correct and mean the same thing. Sometimes, moving an adverb from one position to another will change the meaning slightly, but in this case I can't think of any obvious change.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Kirk,
Thank you again for your previous reply.
Anyway, I have got to admit that there is a very hot dispute :) here in our office between some of colleagues of mine further to the matter regarding the proper exact position of an adverb if we have two auxiliary verbs like we have that in Perfect Continious sentences...
I wonder whether there is any firm Grammar rule in English that the adverb should be placed right between the first (e.g.'have';) and the second (e.g.'been') auxiliary verbs (when we speak or write formal language)?
Could you clarify the matter, please? :)

Hello Khatetsky,

Most of the time when there's a verb with more than one part to it, e.g. the present perfect in the passive voice ('The work has always been done by our neighbours'), the adverb should go in mid-position, which is between the auxiliary verb (in this case, 'has', but modal verbs are also auxiliary verbs) and before the past participle 'been', which is actually part of the auxiliary verb. But even here, i.e. when there are two or more auxiliaries, the adverb usually goes after the first. This is particularly true for adverbs of frequency, but other kinds of adverbs (e.g. manner, time) are a bit more slippery, that is, move around more.

The best reference I know for this issue is the table on the Cambridge Dictionary Adverbs and adverb phrases: position page – you have to scroll down to see it. If you really wanted to look into this in more depth, you could try searching a corpus for examples of how a specific adverb has been used over millions of texts, or, if you had a specific sentence in mind, feel free to ask us about it. Of the two sentences you ask about in your first comment, 1 follows the rules better, but I can see nothing wrong with 2.

I hope that helps you a bit more.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, Kirk,
Your kind reply was very helpful, full and complete indeed.
Best regards,

Thank you very much, Kirk

No sir now i got it ,thank you :)