group a Spanish learners of English have written with the following
We are Spanish students and we want to find out all we can about
adverbials in English with explanations and examples.
adverbial is an adverb, adverbial phrase or adverbial
clause which gives us additional information about e.g. the
time, place, or manner of the action which is described
in the rest of the sentence:
have been living here in this house for over twenty years.
were sleeping peacefully in our beds when the earthquake struck.
these examples, you can see that the most common position for adverbials
is at the end of the sentence Place adverbials (here in this
house) come before time adverbials (for over twenty years).
Manner adverbials (peacefully) come before place adverbials
(in our beds).
do not always follow this pattern. This applies particularly to
adverbial clauses. In the above example we could begin with the
adverbial clause, if it was important to highlight it at this stage
in the discourse:
the earthquake struck, we were sleeping peacefully in our
adverbials answer questions such as:
did you arrange to meet him? ~
to meet him outside the bank.
did you arrange to meet him there? So
that he could give me the money.
How long did you wait for him?
for half an hour but he didn't arrive.
When did you first meet him?
met when he became the manager of the bank.
How often have you been seeing him since then? Once
a week, usually. More frequently, if his wife was away.
from the above examples that adverbs of frequency are often
placed in mid-position in the sentence, as well as at end-position.
Placing them before the subject is sometimes also possible:
sometimes call on my younger sister when I'm in London
never see my older sister, but occasionally I call
my younger sister.
I see her from time to time. We get together once in
a blue moon.
variety of different conjunctions are used to initiate adverbial
clauses which function as the adverbial part of a main clause. Some
of the most common are listed below:
after, before, as soon as
that, in order to
if, as though
provided (that), so long as, in case
served drinks as soon as our friends arrived. After we had eaten, we played cards.
moved to Cornwall because we wanted to live in the countryside.
the winters in the north eastcan be quite harsh, we
decided to move to the south west.
finished work early in order to catch the 4.30 train.
I left work early so that I could catch the 4.30 train.
I arrived home I went to see Joan although it was very
in the 70s and 80s most men worked until they were 60 or 65,
nowadays most retire when they are in their fifties.
shook my hand warmly as if / as though he had known me for
can borrow my car on Saturday, provided / so long as you return
it by seven o' clock in the evening.
Take a packed lunch with you, in case you get hungry.
that not all adverbs of manner which answer the question How ?
end in -ly. Most of them do,like this:
How did they sleep? ~ They slept peacefully
well does she dance ~ She dances sublimely
common exceptions include:
worked hard in order to pass the exam
was driving straight at me and I ran very fast to
get out of his way.
was a power failure earlier today and the trains are all
running late now.
also that adjectives that end in -ly, e.g. lively, lovely
silly, friendly, cannot form the adverb by adding another -ly
as this would be impossible to pronounce. Instead some other way
must be found:
behaved in such a silly way I was ashamed of him
Surprisingly, they were dancing in a very lively manner
at the over 60s disco.
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