Grammar 101: What Is an Adverb?

Updated Nov 19, 2022

Grammar 101: What Is an Adverb?

An adverb is a [part of speech that]( modifies a verb, an adjective (or other adverbs), or a sentence.

It describes how someone speaks, how someone acts, how someone is feeling, and other such things. Moreover, they usually end in "-ly" and are used to add more information to a sentence.

Whether you want to improve your writing to write effectively or better your English in general, you’ll need to be comfortable with using adverbs. So we’ve written this article to help you know what adverbs are and how to use them.

Uses for Adverbs

Adverbs describe verbs, an adjective, or other adverbs.

They can answer the questions “how?” or “when?”. Some examples of adverbs are: quickly, quietly, and significantly.

Adverbs can also be placed before a verb to create a more powerful sentence. For example, “she sings beautifully” and “he runs quickly.”

Adverbs can be placed at the beginning of a sentence to emphasize or create a dramatic effect. For example, “suddenly, she appeared.” The adverb “suddenly” makes a dramatic impact by stressing that her appearance was unexpected.

Note: Do this sparingly because placing an adverb before a verb too often can take away from the sentence rather than making it more dramatic.)

Types of Adverbs

Now that you know what adverbs are, let’s look at the six most common types of adverbs:

Adverbs of frequency

Adverbs of frequency describe how frequently something happens or is done. You can use them with almost any verb (except for the verb ‘to be’). For example, “he almost always forgets his keys.”

Here are some of the most common adverbs of frequency:

Always; rarely, never; often; daily; frequently; almost always; infrequently; usually; normally; sometimes: seldomly.

Adverbs of time

Adverbs of time relate to the timing of events. Examples include “now,” “then,” “next,” and “today.”

It can be placed before the sentence’s main verb, in the beginning, before the subject, after the direct object, and after the indirect object of the sentence.

In English, the most common adverb of time is “when,” but when talking about past actions, the adverb of time is “ago,” which can be placed at the beginning or end of the sentence.

They can also create a sense of urgency or suspense. For example, in the sentence, “we need to leave now!” the adverb “now” creates a sense of urgency.

Here is a list of the most common adverbs of time:

“Now” is used to describe an action happening at present. For example: “Now, the sun is shining.”

“Yesterday” is used to describe an action that happened on the day before. For example: “Yesterday, I went to the beach.”

“Today” describes an action that will happen or is happening on the current day. For example: “Today, I am going to the beach.”

“Tomorrow” describes an action that will happen or is happening the day after. For example: “Tomorrow, I am going to the beach.”

“Later” is used to describe an action that will happen at a later time. For example: “Later, I will go to the beach.”

“Before” describes an action that will happen at a point before the main action of the sentence. For example: “Before I went to the beach, I went to the supermarket.”

You can create a more dynamic and engaging writing style using adverbs of time!

Adverbs of manner

Adverbs of manner describe the way something is done.

They answer the question, “how?”. There are many different kinds of adverbs of manner, including the following:

Quickly: She did it quickly

Carefully: He did it carefully

Cheerfully: They did it cheerfully

Happily: You did it happily

The following sentences are examples of how you can use adverbs of manner:

“She walked quickly down the street,” “he drove the car carefully,” and “they danced happily at the wedding.”

Adverbs of manner are very common, and you can use them in almost every sentence. They are very useful for giving more information about an action’s execution!

Adverbs of degree

Adverbs of degree are words that describe the intensity of an action or the level of something, such as “greatly,” “slightly,” and “intensely.”

More examples of adverbs of degree include:

Absolutely; completely; entirely; fairly; very; and quite. These adverbs are often used in comparison clauses to show how one thing is different from another, such as “she sings quite better than her sister.”

You can put adverbs of degree before adjectives or verbs to describe the intensity of an action, such as “he laughed heartily” or “the movie scared us quite a bit.”

You can also put them before the main verb of a sentence to modify the meaning of the main verb. For example, “he ran quickly” implies that he ran for a short distance, and “he quickly ran home” implies that he ran quickly for a long distance.

They are used to modify an adjective or another adverb. They are also used to make an adjective or adverb stronger. For example, in the sentence, “The cat ran very quickly,” the adverb “very” makes the adjective “quickly” stronger. Likewise, in the sentence, “I am completely happy,” the adverb “completely” intensifies the adjective “happy.”

Adverbs of place

Adverbs of place give us more information about the position of the subject. Prepositions generally indicate simple location, but adverbs can provide more information about the location.

For example, “I am in the kitchen” tells us that the subject, “I,” is in the kitchen, indicated by the preposition “in.” However, the adverb “currently” indicates that the subject is currently in the kitchen.

Some common examples of adverbs of the place include: inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs, nearby, far away, etc. You can use them to modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.

When using an adverb of place, it is essential to ensure that it does not change the meaning of the sentence. For example, if you are talking about a specific place, you should not use “somewhere” or “anywhere.” Instead, use particular adverbs such as “exactly” or “specifically.”

Adverbs of place are essential to writing actively, as they can give your text more detail and help create a vivid description of a scene. Use adverbs of place to add more information about the location of your subject and to create a more descriptive text!

Conjunctive adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs are a particular type of adverb you use to join two clauses. They are used to connect two independent clauses as well as two dependent clauses.

Conjunctive adverbs are used to express a relationship between clauses. They are typically placed in between the two clauses that they are connecting.

Some examples of conjunctive adverbs are: however, therefore, nevertheless, and consequently.

Here are two examples of conjunctive adverbs in sentences:

“We went to the store; however, we could not find what we were looking for.” “He passed the test; consequently, he got a raise.”

Can you spot both of the conjunctive adverbs?

The Conclusion on Adverbs

Adverbs are often used to make a sentence more concise and to eliminate the need for additional words.

However, sometimes adverbs simply add clutter to a sentence. If you are still determining whether or not an adverb is necessary, try removing it from the sentence and see if the meaning is still clear. If so, you can omit the adverb entirely.

In other instances, you may need to revise the sentence and replace your adverb with an adjective.

Adverbs are an excellent tool, but you should use them sparingly!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our introduction to adverbs and how to use them. Feel free to share this article with a fellow English student!

Works Cited

How to improve your writing. Rephrasely. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2022, from

20 important questions to consider when writing an essay. Rephrasely. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2022, from

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Adverb definition & meaning. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from

YouTube. (2021, August 11). Conjunctive adverbs - learn English grammar. YouTube. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from

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