Royal Order of Adverbs

By Jacquelyn Landis

Recently, I wrote about the Royal Order of Adjectives. Not surprisingly, there’s also a Royal Order of Adverbs. When you write a sentence that has more than one adverb, there is a loose order in which you should arrange them:

Manner
Place
Frequency
Time
Purpose

In a sentence with five (yikes!) such adverbs, it would go like this:

Harrison runs dutifully (manner) around the track (place) every morning (frequency) before breakfast (time) to prepare for the marathon (purpose).

Adverbs, however, have much more flexibility than adjectives, and you could easily move one or more to the beginning of the sentence:

To prepare for the marathon, Harrison runs dutifully around the track every morning before breakfast.

or

Every morning before breakfast, Harrison runs dutifully around the track to prepare for the marathon.

Normally, such a lengthy string of adverbs would be unusual. Furthermore, the order for adverbs is far more fluid than the order for adjectives. So although this is a reliable guideline, you’re free to choose the order that best emphasizes what you think is important in your sentence.

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6 Responses to “Royal Order of Adverbs”

  • Eric C

    This was excellent. I’ll be using it as a resource.

  • michelle

    i eat breakfast every morning to get energy

  • adamson

    a good teacher thanks.
    My question; Is it wrong to interchange appearance in order of adjectives (size,shape and age)?

  • Jacquelyn Landis

    Adamson: In the Royal Order of Adjectives, size and shape are interchangeable, but age should follow both size and shape.

  • Chillybons

    I am confused by the sentence with 5 adverbs
    Harrison runs dutifully around the track every morning before breakfast to prepare for the marathon
    Surely track and marathon are nouns not adverbs?

  • Jacquelyn Landis

    Of course, “track” and “marathon” are nouns. But they’re part of an adverbial phrase. So if you look at the complete phrase (such as AROUND the track), you’ll see the adverbs.

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