Adverbials

Adverbials are words that we use to give more information about a verb. They can be one word (angrily, here) or phrases (at home, in a few hours) and often say how, where, when or how often something happens or is done, though they can also have other uses.

Read clear grammar explanations and example sentences to help you understand how adverbials are used. Then, put your grammar knowledge into practice by doing the exercises.  

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Submitted by SonuKumar on Sun, 17/10/2021 - 22:40

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Sir,
This occurred or happened one year to the day of my marriage.
Does it mean this happened one year after the day of my marriage or one year before the day of my marriage ?

Hi SonuKumar,

It means it happened exactly one year AFTER the day of your marriage. I can see why 'to' seems to mean 'before', but it doesn't mean that in this phrase. :)

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Swan Htet Myint on Sat, 09/10/2021 - 05:43

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In a sentence"I listen to a song",Can we say that "to a song" is a adverbial phrase or not.Would you explain me.Sir?

Hello Swan Htet MyInt,

In this sentence the verb 'listen' is followed by a preposition ('to') and an object ('a song'). There is no adverbial phrase here.

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SonuKumar on Mon, 04/10/2021 - 16:07

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Sir,
I'm going to my college.
I'm already running late.
Now in the way a friend of mine tries to stop me and I say I can't stop as I'm already late. If I stay here, I will be even more late because of you.
Or I will be even later because of you.
Are these last two sentences correct ?
Could I also say I'll be late even more because of you ?

Hello SonuKumar,

Yes, both of those first two sentences are fine. The last one you ask about is a little awkward -- I'd use 'even later' instead of 'late even more'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello SonuKumar,

This sentence with 'even later' is OK, but not with 'even more late'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SonuKumar on Mon, 04/10/2021 - 00:15

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Sir,
I'm running late.
Can I also say "I'm getting late".
I'll be late.
Can I also say "I'll get late".
Can we use the verb 'get' with late, if not why not ?

Hello SonuKumar,

No, 'I'm getting late' is not correct. We do say 'It's getting late', but I can't think of a situation when a pronoun that refers to a person (e.g. 'I', 'you', 'she', etc.) could be used this way.

I'm afraid we don't say 'I'll get late' either. Instead we say 'I'll be late' or 'I'm going to be late'.

I'm afraid I can't really explain why the forms you asked about are not correct; we just don't say these things in standard British (or American) English.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SonuKumar on Sat, 02/10/2021 - 10:42

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Sir,
The earlier you sleep at night
The earlier you will wake up in the morning.
The earlier you will sleep at night the earlier you will wake up in the morning.
Are these both correct or is only the first one correct ?

Hello again SonuKumar,
You need to use the verb 'go to sleep' here rather than just 'sleep'. Also, the sentence is functioning in the same way as a conditional with 'if', so a present form is needed in the first clause rather than 'will':

The correct phrasing here is as follows:
~ The earlier you go to sleep at night, the earlier you'll wake up in the morning.

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SonuKumar on Fri, 01/10/2021 - 18:18

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Sir,
You will wake up as early as you sleep.
The earlier you will sleep the earlier you will wake up.

Do these sentences mean the same thing ?
And are these correct ?

Hello SonuKumar,
The first sentence is not correct. The second also is incorrect, but you could correct it as follows:

~ The earlier you go to sleep, the earlier you will wake up.

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Nevı on Mon, 29/03/2021 - 10:39

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Hi great team, I don't understand one thing about that sentence. "Police break up protests across Britain" Is "across Britain" an adjectival prep.phrase, which modifies 'protests' or adverbial prep. phrase,which says where police break up protests Could you explain me please? Best wishes

Hello Nevi,

There is no way to tell from the sentence alone whether it's meant to be adjectival or adverbial. In this case, it probably doesn't make a difference. Headlines in news items are often like this, but if you read the article or listen to the report, it usually becomes clear which is meant.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by elsa78 on Tue, 23/02/2021 - 18:56

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Hi! I have a question about the adverbs: How can I distinguish adverbs of time and frequency from adverbs of connecting & commenting if there's an adverb like "then". Thanks.

Submitted by Kirk on Wed, 24/02/2021 - 07:46

In reply to by elsa78

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Hello elsa78,

In the vast majority of cases, the context should make this clear. If there's a specific case you'd like to ask us about, please feel free to do so.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by PETER CHIN on Thu, 14/01/2021 - 02:53

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Hi I want to know the structure of the following sentence - I think about him 1) is the verb "think" an intransitive verb 2) If the verb "think" is an intransitive verb, then what follows is a prepositional phrase ("about him") that modifies the verb 3) If the phrase modifies the verb "think", is the phrase an adverbial phrase (function) ? 4) If it is an adverbial phrase, then what does that phrase answer; WHY, WHERE, MANNER, WHEN, TO WHAT DEGREE?

Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 14/01/2021 - 08:21

In reply to by PETER CHIN

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Hi Peter Chin,

As I understand it, 'think' is intransitive here, but I'm not sure how I'd label the function of the prepositional phrase. This is a great question for an in-depth syntax course, but I'm afraid we don't generally go into this much detail on our site since our main purpose is to help people learn to use English.

I'd suggest two resources for you. The first is a sentence parser. You can find one here, but there are others that I'm sure you can find by doing an internet search for 'sentence parsing' or something similar. The second is the English Language and Usage Stack Exchange, where there are loads of details about English syntax and you can ask questions.

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Salum Hilali on Mon, 11/01/2021 - 06:56

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Hello.I have a question about nouns. Few days ago I read a post on Facebook by one of the NatGeo wild photographer ,He wrote 'A pride of lion .and another one was 'A trio of giraffe. So my question is why did he use lion instead of lions and giraffe instead giraffes. Is it incorrect saying a pride of lions? Also how about trio of giraffe.

Hi Salum Hilali,

It's an interesting question! Both lion and giraffe are countable, and a pride of lions and a trio of giraffes would be the normal forms to use. I can't be sure why the photographer didn't use those forms. It could be a language or typing mistake, or alternatively it could be to create an uncountable meaning of lion and giraffe (meaning a group of them, without considering the animals individually).

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Tluangtea on Tue, 29/12/2020 - 15:33

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Are there 'double adverbs' in English grammar ? Or Does English language have 'double adverb(s)' ?

Hello Tluangtea,

Could you please give us an example of what you're talking about?

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Our grammarians often say that Mizo language* is richest in 'double adverbs'. But I think what they referred to as double adverbs are not at all double adverbs. When I consult such excellent grammar books as (1) A grammar of contemporary English by Quirk et al, (2) A comprehensive grammar of the English language by Quirk et al, (3) A practical English grammar by Thomson & Martinet, (4) Practical English Usage by M. Swan, (5) The complete Grammar by Michael Strumpf, (6) Oxford guide to English grammar by John Eastwood, (7) Cambridge grammar of English by Carter & McCarthy, etc., etc., I do not find any 'Double adverb' mentioned in these books. So my question is - Does the English language have any 'double adverb' ?

Hello Tluangtea,

I'm not sure what you mean by 'double adverbs', but if you are asking if it is possible to use two consecutive adverbs in a sentence then the answer is yes:

He is almost always late.

The boy ran extremely quickly.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter, Thank you very much for answering my question. I am now quite sure that what our Mizo grammarians termed as "double adverbs" are not actually "double adverbs".
*Mizo language : It is a language spoken by the Mizo's who inhabited the hilly areas in the north-eastern part of India (called Mizoram which is sandwiched between Bangladesh and Myanmar), and its adjoining areas in Bangladesh and Myanmar and whose language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman group.

Submitted by Yigido on Sun, 13/12/2020 - 20:17

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Hi team, I am confused about some words in time-order signals.Do''then'',''after that'',''next'' and ''later'' means the same thing?Can we use all of them for same blank?I think we can but I am not sure.

Hello Yigido,

In some contexts -- for example, in a description of a process -- they all mean pretty much the same thing. We generally try to avoid repeating the same adverbial too much.

In general, you could use any one of them in a blank, but I can't say for sure without knowing the specific context.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SonuKumar on Sat, 28/11/2020 - 17:22

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Sir, A reservoir is an artificial lake where water is stored. Most reservoirs are formed by constructing dams across rivers. What does the adverb word 'across' mean in this sentence ? What's the other way to say the same thing ?

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 29/11/2020 - 08:13

In reply to by SonuKumar

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Hello SonuKumar,

'Across' here means from one side to the other. I'm not sure how else you would say it other than 'from one side to the other', but it would be strange not to use the word 'across' which is clear and succinct.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Yigitcan on Sat, 21/11/2020 - 18:24

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Hello team Yesterday I saw this two sentence: He quickly reads a book. You can easily open this tin. Adverb comes after a verb.Are sentences true?

Hello Yigitcan,

The position of adverbs in sentences in English is quite flexible. Generally, the adverb comes before the verb rather than after. Where there is an auxiliary verb, the adverb comes before the main verb (after the auxiliary verb.

For your examples, all of these are correct options:

He quickly reads a book.

He reads a book quickly.

You can easily open this tin.

You can open this tin easily.

With other examples there may be more options. The adverb can come at the start of the sentence, for example, especially if it is an adverb of time (yesterday, earlier etc).

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Timmy Ferrer on Tue, 07/07/2020 - 07:07

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Hello! I'd like to clarify the difference between the phrases, "in school" and "at school", and when they appropriately used. Thank you very much!

Hello Timmy,

I think the main difference is that in school is more common in US English, while at school is preferred in most contexts in UK English.

In terms of meaning/use, I think in UK English in school tends to mean that a person attends school (i.e. is a pupil), while at school tends to mean that the person is physically there:

My children are still in school. [= they have not graduated yet]

My children are still at achool. [they have not come home yet]

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much! This is really helpful!

Submitted by Nagie23 on Thu, 25/06/2020 - 12:00

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Hello, I would like to ask the following 1.Can we use the : short of in order to say up to a point. For example Question : Did you understand what I said? Answer :Short of(up to point?, a little rtc) Thank you in advance

Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 25/06/2020 - 18:55

In reply to by Nagie23

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Hello Nagie23

Yes, though please note that it's 'sort of' (or 'kind of'), not 'short of'.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Bharati on Fri, 10/04/2020 - 07:45

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Hello, Can "more than"/less than/as good as etc. be used as phrasal adverbs in example sentences :- 1. He was more than(meaning very) deserving. 2. Less than 40 People were present(less than is modifying forty) 3. It is as good as(meaning almost) lost. Best regards

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 11/04/2020 - 07:39

In reply to by Bharati

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Hello Bharati,

Yes, all of those sentences are fine, though very prescriptive grammarians might insist on Fewer than 40 rather than less than 40 to avoid using less with a countable noun. To be honest, though, it is very common to use less in this way, especially in modern English.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter, Thanks for your guidance. May i ask if phrases like "let alone/not to mention/much less/what to talk of"etc are also used as adverbials modifying the residual part of the sentence in sentence like "He was incapable of leading a bowling team, let alone/much less/what to talk of/not to mention a country" Best regards

Hello Bharati,

Phrases like these, and similar ones such as never mind and still less, are conjunctions.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter, Thanks for your reply. May i ask if the above phrases will qualify as co-ordinate conjunction though no grammar book has a mention of them as Conjunction. Best regards

Hello Bharati,

Yes, I would say so. If you look the phrases up in a good dictionary then you'll see that they are classified as conjunctions:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/still%20less

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/never%20mind

 

There are so many conjunctions in English when phrases are included that it's well nigh impossible to list them all. Most grammar books for learners simplify the list of coordinating conjunctions to the most common and useful seven, using the acronym FANBOYS. There are, however, many more.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by tareq on Tue, 07/04/2020 - 12:31

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I have a question What does the phrase between brackets describe?Carriages used to be drawn( by horses.) * 1. used to 2. carriages 3 drawn

Hello tareq

'by horses' is the agent of the passive verb 'used to be drawn'. Another way of saying this is 'In the past, horses drew carriages.' 

I'm afraid that none of three options you list explains the meaning of 'by horses'.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by alice24pirsoul on Tue, 31/03/2020 - 23:03

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Hello. I've got a question. Could someone tell me which sentence is better? I went to London with my parents. I went with my parents to London. Thank you very much, Kind regards, Alice Pirsoul