English Grammar 101: Adverbs

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Adverbs are used to describe or modify a verb, adjective, clause, or another adverb. Basically, they modify everything except nouns and pronouns (which are modified by adjectives).

Example of an adverb modifying a verb:

He was running fast. (fast modifies running)

Example of an adverb modifying an adjective:

She took a very small piece of the cake. (very modifies small)

Example of an adverb modifying a sentence:

Strangely, the man left the room. (strangely modifies the whole sentence)

Usually adverbs answer to the questions “When?” (adverbs of time), “Where?” (adverbs of place), and “How?” (adverbs of manner).

Adverbs can also be used to connect clauses and sentences (in this case they are called conjunctive adverbs). For example:

It was dark. Therefore, we needed the torch. (therefore connects the two sentences)

Here are some quotations with adverbs appearing on newspapers:

… or TV-watching habits. But he has also said he wants to closely monitor the information the president consumes, quickly counter dubious news stories with verified facts, and limit the posse of people urging Mr. Trump to tweet … (www.nytimes.com)

… with it, on social media, were you to mock women or a certain race, or elderly people with poor memories. But it is, strangely, acceptable to mock and demonise teenagers. As a society, we don’t like it that our children, who used to do … (www.theguardian.com)

… Mountains dominating the landscape to the west. Sharon tells me that sometimes she’ll be driving into town when she suddenly realises that the mountains are to the north and she’ll know that her world has flipped. Then we fly past the … (www.theguardian.com)

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12 thoughts on “English Grammar 101: Adverbs”

  1. This is a good, simple article. But, the reason I’m responding is to thank you for jolting my memory for a post I wanted write concerning conjunctive adverbs and the problems I’ve noticed lately with their use. Thanks.

  2. I was taught that conjunctive adverbs – therefore, however, hence, etc – connected two complete sentences that were a continuation of the same thought and separated them with a semi-colon. “It was dark; therefore, we needed the torch.” It almost seems the semi-colon has died.

  3. I´d like to know if I can use the connector THEREFORE instead of THUS in the sentence below and if not, why?

    ” Since the book Silent Spring made people see that whatever they did to nature they were also doing to themselves, their blind faith in science and industry was shaken. THUS, our modern era of environmental awareness was launched.

  4. Hi Daniel,
    Thank you so much, for the all tips especially for this website. God bless you.

  5. idk the adverbs and we need to do all of the 26 adverbs but he dont give us the book ( my english teacher ) because there is 1 book for each student but the prob is the books are only 25 of them so can u help me out and give them to me

  6. Any thoughts on beginning a sentence with “Therefore, …”, “However, …” and so on? I’ve always found it somewhat ugly, but I see it around so often that I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s now acceptable!

  7. Strangely, the man left the room. (strangely modifies the whole sentence)
    Weird sentence. An adverb cannot modify the whole sentence, otherwise it’s a modal word or parethesis to be more precise. Most of modal words developed from adverbs but they have only formal identity.
    The whole fact that he left was strange, or the manner he left was strange?

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