There are many types of adverbs, adverb phrases and clauses. This page will introduce some of the basic types and their functions.
Basically, most adverbs tell you how, where, or when something is done. In other words, they describe the manner, place, or time of an action.
Here are some examples:
How to recognize an adverb. Many adverbs end with the suffix -LY. Most of these are created by adding -LY to the end of an adjective, like this:
However, this is NOT a reliable way to find out whether a word is an adverb or not, for two reasons: many adverbs do NOT end in -LY (some are the same as the adjective form), and many words which are NOT adverbs DO end in -LY (such as kindly, friendly, elderly and lonely, which are adjectives). Here are some examples of adverbs which are the same as adjectives:
The best way to tell if a word is an adverb is to try making a question, for which the answer is the word. If the question uses how, where or when, then the word is probably an adverb. Here is an example:
An adverb may be a single word, such as quickly, here or yesterday. However, adverbs can also be phrases, some made with prepositions, others made with infinitives. This page will explain the basic types of adverb phrases (sometimes called “adverbial phrases”) and how to recognize them. Basic types of adverbs In the section on adverbs above, you learned about three basic types of adverb: manner, place and time adverbs. There are at least two more that are important. Frequency adverbs answer the question “How often?” about an action. Purpose adverbs answer the question “Why?”. Here are some examples:
While the first example, usually, is a single word, the second example (for fun) is a phrase consisting of a preposition and a noun — in other words, it is a prepositional phrase which functions as an adverb phrase.
Adverb phrases made with prepositions. All kinds of adverb phrases can be made with prepositions. Here are some examples:
Adverb phrases made with infinitives. Another kind of adjective phrase can be made with the infinitive form of a verb. Most of these phrases express purpose, as in these examples:
Adverbs can also be clauses, containing a subject and a full verb. This page will explain the basic types of adverb clauses (sometimes called “adverbial clauses”) and how to recognize them.
In the first sentence, “yesterday” is a one-word adverb, “on Friday” is an adverb phrase, and “before I left for Paris” is a adverb clause. All of them answer the question “When?”, but the adverb clause has a subject (“I”) and a full verb (“left”). It is introduced by “before”, so it is a dependent clause. This means that it cannot stand alone: “Before I left for Paris” would not be a full sentence. It needs a main clause (“I saw the movie”) An adverb clause, then, is a dependent clause that does the same job as an adverb or an adverb phrase.
Types of adverb clause There are many types of adverb clauses. Here are some examples of the most common types:
As you can see from the examples above, most adverb clauses can be recognized because they are introduced by a particular word or phrase (such as “when”, “so that”, etc.). These words and phrases are called subordinating conjunctions, and there are many of them.