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Adverbials of distance

Level: elementary

We use prepositions to show how far things are:

Birmingham is 250 kilometres from London.
Birmingham is 250 kilometres away from London.
It is 250 kilometres from Birmingham to London.

Sometimes we use an adverbial of distance at the end of a clause:

We were in London. Birmingham was 250 kilometres away.
Birmingham was 250 kilometres off.
London and Birmingham are 250 kilometres apart.

Adverbials of distance 1


Adverbials of distance 2




Hello fahri,

Adverbials are used in a number of ways and to given information about the verb is only one of these. For example, we can use an adverb to make an adjective stronger, such as 'very' or 'really'. You cannot reduce the role of adverbials in the this way - that is why we have a whole section on the topic.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi all
May I know the function of '250 kilometers' in the sentence above . Away, from, awsy from and Off are the adverbials of distance indicated above. 250 kilometers follows a linking verb , 'is and was.' Does it complenent the subject as an adjective?
Or is it adverbial of place? Every word has a role in a sentence. The more one is able to identify the role of a word ,element clause the better ones knowledge in English grammar. That is what I want to know.

Thanks for your questions and The learn English team's recommendations. I found out a lot of useful information to improve my English skills.
take care of yourselves,

"We were in London, Birmingham was 250 kilometres away."

The distance between London and Birmingham is a facts which is permanent unchanged, why they put "was" in this sentence?

Hello Cear98,

It would be fine to use the present simple here but these sentences are clearly part of a story or anecdote and we normally use past forms (narrative tenses) to tell stories, and maintain a consistent time reference. So, while you could say 'were... is...' it is normal to maintain the same time reference and say 'were... was'.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, why is from Honolulu to Tokyo wrong?

Hi Vidyaarthi,

I would be fine, except for the fact that there is a full stop after Honolulu!

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

hi Peter, should thank you, but too busy cursing myself for not noticing that!

If I write " Madrid is 501 km from away Lisbon " instead of Lisbon is 501 km away from Madrid... what is the wrong?

Hello Niva!
We simply don't write 'from away' in English - we use away from to show distance.
Hope that helps!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team