What Is an Adverb? Definition & Examples


An adverb is a word that modifies a sentence, verb, or adjective. An adverb can be a word or simply an expression that can even change prepositions, and clauses. An adverb usually ends only- but some are the same as their adjectives counterparts. Adverbs express the time, place, frequency, and level of certainty. The functions of adverbs are performed by a single word known as an adverb or multi-words, called adverbial functions.

Adverbs can add or change the sentence’s meaning. An adverb is used for classifying words with different syntactic behaviors.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • The victim truthfully answered the officer’s questions.
  • At the end of a hard day, she wearily traveled to bed.
  • He is finishing the work quickly

Origin of Adverb

An adverb is a word used to define or modify the verb, adjective, or sentence. These adverbs convey the place, time, frequency, level of certainty, etc., or you can say that we use adverbs to answer questions like how? What? Where? We may use single adverbs of more than one in a sentence to express the whole meaning.

History and Origin

The word adverb was first called adverbial in Latin between 1520-30. It was equivalent to ad – toward + verb – word, verb + -ium – noun suffix. The word adverbial was generated by translating the Greek phrase epírrhēma.

Examples of Adverb

The most straightforward and basic examples of adverbs are in which we answer the question starting with how? When? Where? Etc.

For example,

  • We will go to the market in the evening.
  • They are living happily.
  • She goes to school regularly.

Most adverbs are created by adding ‘ly’ at the end of an adjective. But if the word ends with ‘y’, then we will just simply remove the ‘y’ from the word and add ‘i’ in place of ‘y’, after which we can add ‘ly’  to the word.

For example,

  • Bad – Badly
  • Strong – Strongly
  • Happy – Happily
  • Necessary – Necessarily
  • Heavy – Heavily

Fortunately, unfortunately, luckily, and many more which describe the whole sentence are known as sentence adverbs. Primarily these words are used at the beginning of the sentence, but they may be used in the center or at the end, depending on the clause.

For example,

  • Unfortunately, Monday will be a rainy day.
  • Monday will be a rainy day, unfortunately.
  • Monday, unfortunately, will be a rainy day.

Uses of Adverbs

Correct use of adverbs

Adverbs impact the sentences and implement many changes. A single adverb can change the meaning of a sentence. The high authority function of an adverb is that it acts as modifier of verbs and verb phrases. An adverb used in a sentence can provide essential information such as time, place, frequency, certainty, and other related circumstances.

Some examples are;

  • He ran on the road quickly( ‘quickly’ modifies the verb ‘ran,’ showing the manner of running)
  • I worked yesterday(‘yesterday’ modifies the verb ‘worked,’ indicating frequency)
  • You are quite right( adverb ‘quite’ modifies the adjective ‘right’).

Adverbs are also used as modifiers of adjectives, and to indicate a degree.

Some examples are;

  • You are quite right( adverb ‘quite’ modifies the adjective ‘right’)
  • She ran on the road very quickly (adverb ‘very’ modifies the adjective ‘quickly’)

They can change the prepositional phrases or even the whole clauses or sentences.

Adverbs perform a wide range of modifications. An important function of adverbs is modification of nouns. 

  • Even numbers are divisible by two.

The word even used in the first sentence is a prepositive modifier that modifies “numbers.”

It is possible for an adverb to either precede or to follow a noun.

  • Internationally there is a shortage of protein for animal feeds.
  • There is an international shortage of proteins.

We can use adverbs for predicative expressions.

Adverbs Formation

In traditional English Grammar, adverbs are categorized as parts of speech. The adverbs of manners are formed by adding ly- to the adjectives. However, flat adverbs are formed as a result of corresponding adjectives. Other languages also have a similar method to drive adverbs from the adjectives. For example, the French use the suffix-meant, Examples of adverbs in English include here, together, yesterday, and almost.

Types of Adverb

Adverbs fall into various categories, as some adverbs are used to modify a whole sentence, while some change the sentence’s meaning. The modification provides information about the time, place, manner, frequency, certainty, and other verb phrases in the sentence.

Conjunctive Adverb

The standard type of adverb that provides the specific transition between ideas and shows relationships is a conjunctive adverb. The conjunctive adverb connects the phrases and the independent clauses.

Conjunction adverbs are also known as connectors.


  • It was a storm last night. Nonetheless, the appointment has not been canceled.
  • They are still confused, however, if the umpires will come

Sentence Adverb

The adverb which starts the sentence and modifies it is called sentence adverb. These adverbs usually show the actual attitude of the speaker or writer of that situation.

Sentence adverbs are often used at the beginning of the sentence.

Take a look at some of the examples;

  • Sadly the jungles are now under threat
  • Hopefully, he will recover from the accident

The main motive of the sentence adverbs is that it conveys the writer’s actual point of view such that, sadly, a situation occurred. If you compare the adverbs, sadly, hopefully, you will observe a clear difference between the meaning of the sentence adverbs and the actual adverbs.

  • She smiles sadly
  • She smiled at him hopefully

Adverbs of Manner

This type of adverb explains how the action is carried out. Usually, the adverb of manners is the adjectives with –ly added to the end part. But, that is not always the case. Some adverbs have the exact spellings as the adjective form.

Some adverb manner examples are;

  1. Rapidly
  2. Clumsily
  3. Diligently
  4. Sadly
  5. Warmly
  6. Sweetly
  7. Badly
  8. Slowly

Some bold examples of adverb of manners are;

  • He passed the final exams quickly.
  • Charlie answered the question correctly.
  • He walks quickly to catch the Train.
  • The dinner party went badly.

Always remember that the adverbs are formed only by adding –ly to the adjectives. The spelling change usually takes place during adverb formation.

Some adverbs do not need to add –ly to the end as their adjectives do not need –ly in the end.

  • The girls had worked hard.
  • Charlie dances well.

Adverbs of Place

The other type of adverb is the adverb of place. This type of adverb is also known as the spatial adverb. This adverb helps in explaining where the action happens. This type of adverb is associated with the act done by the verb in a sentence, then provides the context for direction, distance, and position.

Such as north, west, south, east, up left, back, inside, close, around. These adverbs of place do not use –ly in the end.


  • New York is located towards the north of Philadelphia.
  • John traveled down the riverside.
  • I looked here and there but could not find them. John is anywhere else.

Here and there are often used to express emphasis or exclamation.

  • Here comes the Train.
  • There is oxygen in the air.
  • Here you are!

The adverbs sometimes play their role as a preposition. The only difference is that when the phrase is used as an adverb, it modifies the verb; however, when the phrase is used as a preposition, it is then always followed by the noun.

  • New York City is located north of Philadelphia -> The New York City is on the map.
  • We traveled down the river-> We traveled in the first compartment.
  • The dog was walking around by itself-> We put a collar around its neck.


  • John is moving far away.
  • Jane is sitting close to me.


  • The book is underneath the box.
  • The dog is sleeping on the bed.
  • Why is he standing in the middle of the ground?

Moreover, some adverbs refer to the position concerning the direction of movement.

These adverbs often end with –ward or –wards.

  • John traveled onward to New York.
  • Max looked upwards in the Sky.
  • Jane moved forward to the front of the queue.

    Adverbs of Frequency

    Adverbs of frequency express how often something happens. The adverb of frequency can be further divided into two main categories. The first one is the adverb of indefinite frequency; these indicate unclear meanings of how long something will happen. The exact period of things to accomplish is not found in these adverbs. The familiar words are usually, always, generally.

These adverbs are used between the primary verb or the auxiliary verb and the infinitive.

Some examples of adverbs of frequency are;

  • The adverb is usually placed before the main verb in a sentence.
  • He can generally make the shot
  • She will always love him.

The other category of adverbs of frequency is adverbs of definite frequency. These adverbs are usually placed at the end of the sentence.

  • We are paid hourly.
  • I come here weekly.
  • The situation is going to change monthly.
  • I read newspapers daily.

Both categories of adverbs of frequency have their uses. However, the adverb of definite frequency indicates the exact time in the sentence when the event will happen. The adverb of indefinite frequency does not showcase the precise time in that regard.

It is easy to understand both categories of the adverb of frequency through the good examples mentioned above.

Adverbs of Time

The adverb of time is similar to the adverb of frequency in particular manners, as both tell us when something will happen. The adverbs of time are usually used at the end of the sentence.

For easy identification of adverbs of time, let’s take into notice the following examples;

  • I will see you tomorrow.
  • John forgets to work out yesterday and then again today.
  • We will have to go now.
  • I first met Julie last year.

Usually, the adverb of time is used at the end of a sentence to emphasize a different meaning; however, you can use the adverb at the start of the sentence to highlight the sentence’s different emphasis. You can fluctuate the adverbs at the beginning or end as required by the context.

  • Last year was the best year of my college life.
  • Tomorrow is the day of the decision of our fate.
  • Yesterday my trouble seemed so far away.

Adverbs of Purpose

Yet another type of adverb known as adverbs of purpose describes the primary purpose of why something happens. This adverb can occur in the form of individual words such as – so, thus, since, because, but, -so that, in-order-to.

The adverbs of purpose are meant to connect the sentences that do not have a meaning alone. The adverb of purpose highlights the central theme of the sentences.

  • He was sick; thus, he didn’t go to work yesterday.
  • She started jogging so that she wouldn’t be late.
  • Because he was late, he jogged a little faster.
  • Since it is his birthday, we will buy him a gift.

Position of Adverbs

The position of adverbs can vary. It’s not fixed or a set thing, as you have observed that adverbs appear in different places. However, some rules help you decide where an adverb needs to be positioned.

The rules alter according to the circumstances that whether the adverb is there to modify the adjective or another adverb. Also, you need to know what type of verb or adverb it is.

Examples of positional adverbs in the sentences are in bold for easy identification.

The adverbs are usually placed before the verb or the adjective that is being modified.

  • Our team gave them a ‘really’ tough match-> Here, the adverb ‘really’ is modifying the adjective ‘tough.’
  • It is ‘quite’ windy today-> Here, the adverb ‘quite’ modifies the adjective windy.
  • They don’t go to the movies ‘terribly‘ often-> Here, the adverb ‘terribly’ modifies the adverb often.

 Adverbs Position with Verbs

The most tricky part of using adverbs is the positioning adverbs with verbs. It depends on the category of adverb along with position, time, etc. There are also many exceptions in the rules. However, the basic set of guidelines is shown as;

The position of adverb of manner or place is usually at the end of the sentence.

  • He laughed timidly
  • John stroked the cat gently
  • Jane lived here
  • There is garbage everywhere

You know, if the adverb is of definite time, then the adverb will be placed at the end of every sentence,

  • He did it yesterday
  • They will discuss it tomorrow
  • We will go to Turkey next week

    However, if the adverb is indefinite, it will fluctuate between the main subject and the verb.

  • We often go to turkey in the springtime.
  • Tommy regularly swims here.
  • I and Bobby I always loved fishing in this lake.

Order of Adverbs

Deciding the order of adverbs is another essential thing. You know that several adverbs act to modify another adverb. Because to see the structure of the sentence with several adverbs, we need to observe the order.

There is a simple set of rules to follow, known as the order of adverb. The order of adverb, also known as the royal order of adverb, help us emphasize the sentence structure.

The adverb should appear in the following order;

  1. Adverb of manner
  2. Adverb of place
  3. Adverb of frequency
  4. Adverb of time
  5. Adverb of purpose

   To further make the understanding easy for you, consider the following sentences;

  • Jane quickly runs (manner) down the road (place) every morning (frequency) before school (time) because (purpose) jane might miss the bus.

 It is useful to remember that the order of adverbs always gives you flexibility with language, and we also know that we may place the adverb of frequency and the time at the beginning of the sentence to alter the emphasis.

Note; Think of the adverb order more than those rules as we cannot break them.


The adverb is italicized due to their easy identification; consider the following examples of how replacing the existing adverbs with the different one can change the meaning of the whole sentence.

  1. He was walking rapidly.
  2. The boys love playing together on the ground.
  3. Would you please come outside now?
  4. Oh really, you don’t care, do you?


In the dictionary, many different words function as adverbs; the following list shows you the segments of adverbs according to their function. After going through the list, you will be able to add more adverbs to your sentences.

Mostly the adverbs end in “-ly,” making it easier to spot the adverbs in most sentences.

  • Boldly
  • Carefully
  • Deliberately
  • Abruptly
  • Financially
  • Horribly
  •  Excitedly
  • Mildly
  • Terribly
  • Naughtily
  • Poorly
  • Quickly
  • Yearly
  • Sadly
  • Openly
  • Willingly

Some adverbs tell us where the action happens. These are known as adverbs of place:

  • Inside
  • Here
  • Everywhere
  • There
  • Underground
  • Upstairs

Some adverbs tell us when or how often the action happened. These are known as adverbs of time, and adverbs of frequency. Such as:

  • Always
  • Before
  • Now
  • Today
  • After
  • Yesterday
  • Later

Many adverbs tell us the extent of the action.

  • Almost
  • Enough
  • So
  • Too
  • Quite
  • Rather
  • Very

Some adverbs are used as intensifiers.

  • Absolutely
  • Certain
  • Completely
  • Heartily
  • Really

Some adverbs, called adverbs of manner, tell us how we perform something:

  • Willingly
  • Briskly
  • Expectantly
  • Cheerfully
  • Randomly

Some groups of words work for the same function as adverbs. These are known as adverb clauses.

How to use the adverb Hopefully?

There are two(2) ways of using the adverb ‘hopefully’ in a sentence. Typically its meaning is ‘in a hopeful way.’

The origin of this meaning, along with the word usage, begins in the 17th century; however, in the 20th century, new use developed with alteration in meaning “it is hoped”

When the word is used in a second way, then hopefully plays a role as a sentence adverb. In sentence adverb, the word impacts the whole sentence instead of being a part of it.

The word, hopefully with its first meaning, cannot be phrased. But keep in mind that there is no ban on using the word as a sentence adverb. No grammatical rules say that the sentence’s meaning should not be allowed to develop in this sort.

The second meaning of this word is now more common than the traditional meaning. However, always remember that if you are writing something formal as an application or research paper, then do not use the second meaning people dislike this meaning in general; It would be better to alter the informal adverb writing to reword your sentence. However, this issue has become the taste case of correctness in English, even if the evidential arguments are strong.

When to avoid Adverbs?

Utilize an intensifier if it’s fundamental, and you can’t pass on equal importance without it. Keep away from obscure or non-illustrative verb modifiers. Find out if the modifier expresses something through symbolism and depiction. Try not to utilize an intensifier as a bolster for an action word (or some other word)

It is challenging to stay away from intensifiers. Here and there, we need them, and all scholars (even Hemingway) use them periodically. Try to keep away from pointless modifiers. At the point when your action word or modifier doesn’t appear to be incredible or exact enough, rather than going after a qualifier to add more tone, have a go at going after a more grounded action word or descriptor, all things being equal. More often than not, you’ll concoct an authoritative term, and your composing will be more grounded for it.


Adverb plays a vital role in the modification of adjectives and verbs in the Grammar. English being an Anglo-Saxon language, has diversity in it. This language provides easy understanding. Adverbs make this language easy by delivering a precise and concise point of view in a single word. A single adverb demonstrates the meaning of the whole sentence. There are many types of adverbs that help with identification of place and time in sentences.

What is an adverb?

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By Bizhan Romani

Dr. Bizhan Romani has a PhD in medical virology. When it comes to writing an article about science and research, he is one of our best writers. He is also an expert in blogging about writing styles, proofreading methods, and literature.

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