Adverbs Types and Word Order in English Grammar


There are four different types of adverbs in English grammar: adverbs of frequency, time, place and manner. The type of adverb tells us whether to place an adverb before or after a main verb. Some adverbs can be placed in various positions.

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Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner describe the way in which an action is carried out for example slowly, carefully, awfully, well. These adverbs normally come after the object, or after the main verb (when there is no object).

He drove the car carefully.
He drove carefully.

Adverbs of manner can also be placed before the main verb. This is often the case if there is additional information that is being emphasised more strongly than the adverb.

He carefully drove his father’s new care into the underground car park.
He carefully drove to school that winter day.

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place describe position or placement for example here, there, behind, above. These adverbs come after the direct object or verb.

I didn’t see him there.
He stayed behind.

Adverbs of Time

Advebrs of time express time for example, now, then, yesterday. The time normally comes at the end of the sentence.

I will tell you the story tomorrow.

Sometimes we can place the adverb at the begining of a sentence, however, this is not as common.

Tomorrow, I will tell you the story.

Adverbs of Frequency

Advebrs of frequency express how often an action takes place for example, always, never, rarely, usually. In questions and simple tenses such as the simple present or simple past, adverbs of frequency come directly before the main verb. The only exception is the verb be. In this case the adverb comes after the verb.

I often go swimming in the evenings.
He doesn’t always play tennis.
We are usually here in summer.

In compound tenses such as the present progressive or present perfect, the adverb of frequency comes after the first auxiliary verb.

I have never been abroad.
Do you always wake up at 7?

To Note

Some adverbs of freuency (usually, normally, often and sometimes) can go at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a sentence. We put them at the beginning or end of the sentence when we want to emphasize them, however the middle position is most common.

Sometimes I go to the cinema.
I sometimes go to the cinema.
I go to the cinema sometimes.