Adverbial and it’s all types with easy examples

Adverbs and adverbials very often mean the same thing. An adverbial has more than one word. See the example given below.

Examples of Adverbial

  1. She came into the room quietly.
  2. She came into the room in the room in a quiet manner.

In the above example “quietly‘ is an adverb and it is a single word . “in a quiet manner” is adverbial and it has more than one word.

Types of Adverbial

Adverbials can be of the following categories.

An adverb phrase:

  1. We were driving very slowly.
  2. They played wonderfully well.

A prepositional phrase:

  1. We were playing in the park.
  2. Mother is not at home.
  3. I cut it with a knife.

3.  A noun phrase:

  1. He came last Sunday.
  2. Mihir lives next door.
  3. I got your letter this morning.

In this chapter, we will use the term adverb which will also include the above three categories of adverbials.

Position and Order of adverbs.

Adverbs do not follow a rigid rule for their position. They mainly go in three positions in a sentence:  front, mid and end. Look at the position of the adverb slowly below.

1. Slowly I opened the door. (Front-position)

2. I slowly opened the door. (Mid-position)

3. I opened the door slowly. (End-position)

In the first sentence, the adverb  ‘slowly’ is at the e beginning of the sentence. This position is called the front position. In the second, it is used in the middle of the sentence along with the verb phrase. This is called the mid-position. In the third sentence, ‘slowly‘ is at the end of the sentence. This is called the end position.

Front position

  1. Perhaps the man is blind. (Sentence adverb)
  2. Yesterday I met him in a shop. (Adverb of time)
  3. Usually he comes to office in time. (Adverb of frequency)
  4. Slowly he opened the door. (Adverb of manner)

All sentence adverbs and most adverbs of time go in the front position. Some frequency adverbs like usually, sometimes, normally, and occasionally also can go in the front position (These adverbs do not tell us the exact number of frequencies). We use the ‘adverb of manner’ in the front position for special emphasis (4).

Mid position

In the mid position, adverbs can go in 03 different places in relation to the verb.

(i) When the main verb of the sentence is a ‘be’ verb, the adverb goes immediately after it.

a. They are really happy.

b. She is probably right.

(ii) Sometimes a verb phrase may have two or more parts (has done, will be finished etc.)

Here the adverb goes after the first auxiliary.

a. I have never seen a tiger.

b. He is always doing something.

c. He would certainly have met you earlier.

But adverbs of manner and degree go after the second auxiliary.

d. I have been patiently waiting for him. (adverb of manner.)

e. They would have definitely done this. (adverb of degree).

(iii) Adverbs go immediately before the main verb if it is not a ‘be’ verb. (The verb is in its simple tense form)

a. I certainly feel better today. (sentence adverb)

b. He hardly does his work properly. (adverb of frequency)

c. I soon realized my mistake. (adverb of time).

Adverbs of frequency, manner, some sentence adverbs and a few time adverbs like soon, just, etc. go in this position.

Adverbs of frequency like always, never, seldom, scarcely etc go in the ‘mid position‘. Normally, they do not go in the front position. But for the special emphasis, they go in the front position. If we use the negative adverbs (never, seldom etc) in the front position, the rest of the sentence is made like a question sentence.

d. Never does he do his work seriously.

e. Seldom does he help anybody.

End position

Most adverbs of manner, place, time, and some adverbs of frequency telling an exact number of occurrences such as ‘four times a week’ etc. go in the end position.

(i) Adverbs come after the verb if the verb does not have a direct object.

7.a. The children are playing happily. (adverb of manner)

7.b. Birds fly in the sky. (Adverb of place)

(ii) If the verb has a direct object, the adverb goes after the object. It normally does not come between the verb and its object.

a. I met him yesterday. (adverb of time)

b. She painted the picture carefully. (adverb of manner)

(Not, She painted carefully the picture.)

Order of Adverbs in the End Position

(i) Sometimes there may be more than one adverb in the end position. In such a case the normal order is the adverb of manner (M), Place (P), and time (T), or in short MPT.

a. She sang beautifully yesterday. (MT)

b. She sang beautifully in the town hall (MP)

C. We played in the park yesterday (PT)

d. She sang beautifully in the town hall last night (MPT)

(ii) If the verb is a verb of movement requiring a destination (like go, come, send, arrive, reach, throw etc), the adverb of place goes first in the group of adverbs. In short, the MPT order changes to PMT.


a. We reached home safely yesterday. (PMT)

b. They sent the patient to the hospital by a car last night. (PMT)

(iii) When there are two or more adverbs of time/place in the end position, the adverb of time/ place indicating a smaller unit goes before the larger one.

a. Meet me at 11.30 on Monday next week.

b. We lived in a hotel in Puri.

11.30 (hours) is smaller than Monday(week), which is smaller than next week. The hotel is smaller than Puri.

Position of Adverbs likes, even, only, just, simply etc.

The above adverbs are called focus adverbs. They can change places depending on where we want to place the focus (emphasis). Let’s take the example of ‘only’.

a.  Only I met the boys at school. (=no body except me met the boys)

b. I only met the boys at school. (=I only met them  but did not do anything else)

c. I met only the boys at school. (=I met only the boys, not the girls or others)

d. I met the boys only at school. (=not outside the school.)

Comparison of Adverbs

Look at the different forms of the adverb fast in the following sentences.

a. I can run fast.

b. I can run faster than you.

c. I can run the fastest of all.

In the above sentences fast, faster and fastest are the different forms of comparison of the adverbs fast. They are the positive,  the comparative and the superlative forms respectively.

We can make the comparative and the superlative form of adverbs in the following ways.

(i) Some adverbs are made from adjectives by adding –ly. We form the comparative and the superlative of these adverbs by use of more and most respectively.

Positive                               Comparative                                      Superlative.

Cleverly                                more cleverly                                    most cleverly

Slowly                                   more slowly                                       most slowly       

Quickly                                 more quickly                                      most quickly

(ii)  Some adverbs have the same form as of adjectives. We form the comparative or the superlative of these adverbs by adding –er or –est respectively.

Positive                               Comparative                                      Superlative.

Fast                                        faster                                                    fastest

Early                                      earlier                                                   earliest

Hard                                      harder                                                  hardest                                               

Near                                      nearer                                                  nearest

(iii) There are a few irregular comparisons of adverbs. See the list:

Positive                               Comparative                                      Superlative.

Well                                       better                                                   best

Badly                                     worse                                                   worst

Far                                          farther /further                                                farthest/ furthest

Little                                      less                                                        least     

Much                                    more                                                     most

Use of Some Adverbs

Yet, still, already, no longer


‘Yet’ is used in interrogative and negative sentences. It normally goes at the end of the sentence. We use ‘yet’ to talk about something we are expecting.

a. They haven’t posted the letter yet.

b. Has the postman come yet?

In a formal way, we can place ‘yet’ in the mid position.

c. He has not yet posted the letter.


 We use ‘still’ to tell that something is going on longer than we expected. It usually comes in the mid position in question and positive statements, and after the subject in negative statements for special emphasis.

a.. Are you still working?

b. Is Leela still at school?

c. Bishu still hasn’t finished eating.


‘Already’ means ‘before now’. We use it in question and affirmative sentences, but not in negatives. It goes in the mid or end position.

a. Has he already eaten his lunch?

b. They have already returned home.

c. I have posted the letter already.

No longer, any longer, any more

‘No longer’, and ‘any longer’ suggests that something has come to an end. “No longer’ has a negative meaning and it goes in the mid position. Any longer/ any more is used at the end of negative statements.

a. I no longer live in Sundargarh.

b. I do not live in Bhubaneswar any longer / any more.


 “Ago’ is usually used in the simple past after the time expression to show how far in the past something happened. Ago means in the past.

a. I met her ten years ago.

b. The accident took place a few minutes ago.

Never, ever, seldom, scarcely, hardly

Never, scarcely, seldom, hardly, and ever are negative adverbs. They mean ‘almost not. These adverbs take the mid position. Ever is used in negative and question sentences.

a. I have never seen Gandhi in my life.

b. Have you ever been to Delhi?

c. He has hardly done anything useful.

d. She seldom visits us these days.

For emphasis, these adverbs can go in the front position. In such cases, the rest of the sentence is formed like a question sentence.

e. Never did he obey any order.

f. Seldom do we go out these days.

Remember, whenever a negative adverb moves to the front position, the sentence takes the form of a question sentence.

Quite, too, so

  These are adverbs of degree. They take adjectives or adverbs after them. ‘So’ is more often used in question and negative sentences.

a. Why are you so happy?

b. The music is too loud.

c. He is quite satisfied.

These adverbs do not come after a/an, unlike many other adverbs. The structure they follow is as follows:

So /too /quite + adjective + a/an + noun

d. This is too big a house for a mall family. (=This is a very big house)

e. An elephant is quite a big animal. (=An elephant is a very big animal)


Unlike other adverbs, enough is used after the verbs, adjectives and adverbs it modifies.

a. You did not run quickly enough to catch the train. (after an adverb)

b. He is smart enough to win the prize. (after an adjective)

8. c. You had not been trained enough for the game. (after the verb)

Exercise for Adverbials


Use the adverbs in brackets in the right place in the sentence.

  1. He would help me. (Certainly)
  2. Have you been to Rourkela? (ever)
  3. Tipu is late for school. (usually)
  4. She can paint well. (extremely).
  5. My foot is hurting. (really)
  6. These people are quarrelling. (always)
  7. We had a lovely holiday. (last week)
  8. I have finished the work. (just)
  9. We crossed the river. (safely)
  10. He died young. (unfortunately)


Put the adverbs given in the brackets in their right –order.

  1. Govinda has been waiting (for an hour, patiently)
  2. I went (quickly, there)
  3. 3. She ran (into the room, quickly)
  4. Ramesh spoke (in the meeting, this morning, nervously)
  5. Father called me (angrily, into his room)
  6. It rained (in the evening, heavily, at 6 o’clock)
  7. Leela rested (in her bed, peacefully, until evening)
  8. I saw her (in a shop, accidentally, in Cuttack)
  9. The car turned (towards the school, left)
  10. Why was the child crying (in the garden, so loudly, a while ago) ?


Put the adverbs in their right places.

1. ______ I like to go ______ ______. (by four o’clock, home, usually)

2. I ______ work ______ ______ . (much faster, always, in the morning)

3. He ______ behaves ______ ______ . ( at work, seldom, so carelessly)

4. ______ we go ______ ______ ______ . (every day, to school, normally, at 10 o’clock)

5. She ______ comes ______ ______ . (these days, occasionally, to my house).

“Let the universe be it wants to be. “

-Rajesh Huika

All my life I just made one mistake, the strain was on my face but I tried to keep cleaning the mirror. “


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