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





''Doctors in that city only check you up on Fridays'' vs ''Doctors in that city only check you on Fridays''

What is the difference between these sentences when the adverb (up) is used?

Thank you very much.

Hello JamlMakav,

At least in the varieties of English I'm familiar with, the first sentence is not idiomatic (i.e. not something people say). Please see the dictionary entries for 'check', 'check-up' and 'check up on sb' to see how these different forms are used.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Good exercise.

Hello dear team,

The children were playing happily.

The happily children were playing.
Happily = adjective

Is that correct?

Hello fahri,

'Happily' is not an adjective. The correct form in the second sentence is 'happy':

The happy children were playing.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


In reference to my previous question about "freezing", etc., I used a parser (http://zzcad.com/cgi-bin/webparse.exe) and I discovered, much to my surprise, that the word "freezing" in "The weather is freezing cold." is a gerund!

Is this correct? Can a gerund modify an adjective? I begin to think that "freezing cold", "scalding hot", and "dripping wet" are fixed phrases. If they are fixed phrases, that means that they do not necessarily follow the rules of grammar. Am I on the right track here? Thank you.

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