Types of Adverbs and Adverb Word Order

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There are five different types of adverbs in English grammar: adverbs of frequency (rarely), time (yesterday), place (there), manner (slowly) and degree (completely). The type of adverb also indicates where the adverb can be placed in a sentence, sometimes more than one position is possible. Sometimes changing the position of an adverb also changes the meaning of a sentence.

Learn about types of adverbs and word order in English grammar online with Lingolia and practise using adverbs in the exercises. For more information about word order in English sentences see the sentences section of the website.

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner describe the way in which an action is carried out. They express how or in what manner an action takes place. Some adverbs of manner are slowly, carefully, awfully, well.

He drove carefully.
He drove slowly.
He drove badly.

Adverbs of manner normally come after the object, or after the main verb when there is no object.

Wendy rode her bike quickly down the hill.
Wendy rode quickly down the hill.

Adverbs of manner can also be placed before the main verb. This changes the information that is being emphasised.

He carefully drove his father’s new car into the underground car park.
the careful driving is emphasised
He drove his father’s new car carefully into the underground car park.
the father’s new car is emphasised

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place describe position, placement or direction. They tell us where an action takes place. Some adverbs of place include here, there, behind, up. Adverbs of place come after the object or, if there is no object, after the main verb.

Wendy rode her bike towards the beach.
My car is parked behind your car.

Adverbs of Time and Frequency

Adverbs of time tell us when or something takes place. Some typical adverbs of time include now, then, yesterday.

He is parking the car now.

Adverbs of time that describe the when of an action can be placed at the end of a sentence, this is considered the neutral position. However, they can also be placed at the beginning to change the emphasis of the sentence.

I will ride with Wendy tomorrow.
neutral position
Tomorrow, I will ride with Wendy.
time is emphasised

The adverbs finally, eventually, already, soon and last can also be placed before the main verb.

When did you last ride your bike?
Wendy finally arrived at the station.

Adverbs of frequency express how often an action takes place. Some common frequency adverbs include always, never, rarely, usually. Adverbs of indefinite frequency come directly before the main verb but after the auxiliary verb.

Wendy often rides her bike.
She has never driven a car.

The only exception is the verb be. In this case the adverb comes after the verb.

Wendy is rarely without her bike.
but not: Wendy rarelyis without her bike.

The adverbs usually, normally, often, frequently, sometimes and occasionally can be placed at the beginning or end of the sentence. In this case, the emphasis of the sentence changes.

Wendy rides her bike frequently.
Sometimes, I walk rather than driving my car.

Adverbs of definite frequency, such as today, daily, every week etc, generally go at the end of the sentence, but can also be placed at the beginning of a sentence.

Wendy won’t be riding tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Wendy won’t be riding