There’s a big difference between driving carefully and driving wildly (and it’s not just the difference between getting home and getting a ticket). The six types of adverbs — adverbs of degree, adverbs of frequency, adverbs of manner, adverbs of place, adverbs of time, and conjunctive adverbs — clarify your meaning and make your writing more interesting. But choosing the right one might not be as straightforward as it seems.
Examples of adverbs in sentences include:
- She smiled sweetly. (The adverb sweetly modifies the verb smiled)
- I’m incredibly happy with this news. (The adverb incredibly modifies the adjective happy)
- The dog ran out the door very quickly. (The adverb very modifies the adverb quickly)
You’ll find adverbs in almost every sentence you read (including that one — almost is an adverb, too). But each type of adverb provides us with different information about another part of speech. Download and print a handy reference sheet with each type of adverb as a helpful resource for your writing notebook or classroom.
Adverbs of manner answer the question “How did it happen?” Common adverbs of manner include:
Using an adverb of manner allows you to answer a question about how a verb happened in the sentence. Adverbs of manner typically come before the verb or after the direct object in a sentence.
Example sentences with adverbs of manner include:
- He trimmed the white roses neatly. (How did he trim them?)
- I combed my dog’s fur carefully because it had lots of tangles. (How did you comb it?)
- Please discuss the topic calmly. (How should I discuss it?)
- An anonymous donor generously gave us enough money for the new stage. (How did they give the money?)
- The little girl happily skipped down the road. (How did she skip?)
Adverbs of degree tell us about the intensity of an action, answering the question “How much?” They can also describe the degree of an adjective or another adverb.
Popular adverbs of degree include:
Adverbs of degree are often placed before the word they modify, although in some cases, they follow the word (such as the adverb enough). For example:
- This short essay is hardly sufficient. (How sufficient is it?)
- The dress looks simply gorgeous. (How gorgeous is it?)
- I’m so excited to move to Ireland. (How excited are you?)
- The book was interesting enough to keep my attention. (How interesting was it?)
Adverbs of frequency answer the question “How often?” These adverbs tend to appear right before the main verb in the sentence or at the end of the clause.
Popular adverbs in this category include:
- every (hour, day, week, year, and so on)
Like adverbs of manner, adverbs of frequency appear before a verb or after a direct object. For example:
- I always read a book before bed. (How often do you read a book before bed?)
- He normally walks his dog at this time. (How often does he walk his dog at this time?)
- She usually shops at the Korean market in town. (How often does she shop there?)
- We never stay up past ten o'clock. (How often do you stay up that late?)
- I travel by plane sometimes. (How often do you travel by plane?)
Adverbs of place clarify where the action took place. While some adverbs of place can function as prepositions when modifying nouns, they are considered adverbs when they modify verbs.
Common adverbs of place include:
Adverbs of place typically come after the verb or the direct object in a sentence. Unlike prepositions, adverbs of place are not followed by objects.
- I looked everywhere for my lost necklace. (Where did you look?)
- There are more boxes over there. (Where are there more boxes?)
- It's time for lunch, so go inside. (Where should I go?)
- You can park anywhere. (Where can I park?)
- Let's go back before we get lost. (Where should we go?)
Adverbs of time detail when the action took place. Although many prepositions can also indicate when something happened, they are always followed by objects, so you can easily tell when a word is an adverb of time.
Adverbs of time include:
We usually see these kinds of adverbs placed at the beginning or end of a sentence, although some (such as recently or immediately) can come right before a verb. For example:
- You already went to the post office. (When did you go to the post office?)
- They recently relocated to Santa Fe. (When did they relocate?)
- The morning newspaper arrives earlier. (When does it arrive?)
- We'll take a trip to Yosemite later. (When will we take a trip?)
- I'll finish my project tomorrow. (When will you finish it?)
Conjunctive adverbs are often considered adverbs, even though they function as conjunctions. Conjunctive adverbs connect two independent clauses or sentences, so they don’t answer a question like other adverbs.
Common conjunctive adverbs include:
Conjunctive adverbs are often used as transition words at the beginning of a sentence or clause. You may also find them at the end of a sentence for emphasis. For example:
- I had a wonderful trip. Still, I missed my life back home.
- John decided not to take the job. Likewise, Sue began to think about different opportunities.
- The cowboys disappeared into the night. Meanwhile, the villain counted his money.
- You haven’t saved enough money; therefore, you can’t afford a new car.
- Just because I got sick didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the meal, however.
Can you identify the type of adverb that’s bolded in each sentence? Bonus points if you can name the question each adverb is answering.
- Let’s discuss this outside.
- We’ll know more about the news soon.
- Ivan usually visits the dentist every six months.
- The child gently patted the horse.
- Your lecture notes were very helpful.
- Please close the door; otherwise, flies will get in.
Check your answers to see how many types of adverbs you can spot.
- Let’s discuss this outside. (Adverb of place - Where should we discuss it?)
- We’ll know more about the news soon. (Adverb of time - When will we know it?)
- Ivan usually practices piano for an hour. (Adverb of frequency - How often does he practice piano for an hour?)
- The child gently patted the horse. (Adverb of manner - How did the child pat it?)
- Your lecture notes were very helpful. (Adverb of degree - How helpful were they?)
- Please close the door; otherwise, flies will get in. (Conjunctive adverb)