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Better Way to Classify and Learn Adverbs


If you are defining a verb as an action of what the subject does, you are right. But in some cases, you may not know how the verb performs its action clearly when it lacks modifiers.

So, the word that sheds more light on verbs, adjectives and even adverbs is an adverb.

 In the sentence structure, an adverb may function as an adverbial. There are three types in which adverbs (adverbials) can be classified.


An adjunct is a part of the basic structure of the clause or the sentence in which they occur, and modifies a verb. This adverb is integrated within the sentence, at least, to some extent.

An adjunct is realised under the adverbs of time, place, frequency, degree, manner, etc. In this sense, adverbs answer the questions: When? Where? How? etc. Consider the following illustrations:

(A)       An adverb indicates time (When?).

(i)         When did you come?

I came yesterday/last week/the day before yesterday.

(ii)        When will you do it?

I will do it tomorrow/soon/now.

(iii)       When was she admitted into this school?

She was admitted into this school last year/last month.

(B)       An adverb indicates place (Where?).

(i)         Where do you keep your shirt?

I keep my shirt inside.

(ii)        Where did you sit?

I sat upstairs/downstairs/indoors.

(C)       An adverb expresses manner (How?)

(i)         How would you decorate it?

I would decorate it beautifully/orderly/attractively.

(ii)        How did you write your exams?

I wrote my exams carefully/judiciously/correctly.

(iii)       How does he perform?

He performs excellently/satisfactorily/well/impressively.

(D)       An adverb expresses degree (How much?).

(i)         How much was the food hot?

The food was too hot.

(ii)        How much are they intelligent?

They are highly intelligent.

(iii)       How much is she happy?

She is so happy.

(E)       An adverb shows frequency (How often?)

(i)         How often do they come here?

They come here every day/always/occasionally.

(ii)        How often was she attending her church?

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She was seldom/rarely attending her church.

(iii)       How often has he gone there?

He has gone there once/twice.


A disjunct is not integrated within the clause. That is, they are not part of the basic structure of the clause or the sentence in which they may occur.

Semantically, they show the speaker’s attitude to, or evaluation of what is said in the rest of the sentence. Consider the following example:

(i)         Honestly, I won’t agree with him.

(ii)        Unfortunately, that boy loses his prize.

(iii)       To my surprise, she committed suicide.

(iv)       Out of mind, the boy slapped his father.

The adverbs in the sentences above only show the speaker’s attitude to what is said in the rest of the sentences.

They are not part of the basic structure of the clauses or the sentences above. Compare them with the sentences below.

(i)         He performs excellently.

(ii)        They have gone somewhere.

The adverbs in the two sentences above are part of the basic structure of the clauses or the sentences.


A conjunct, semantically, performs a connective function between two clauses or two sentences. It connects or joins two clauses or two sentences, containing related information, and generally refers to what has been said already.

Some of the conjuncts include nevertheless, however, invariably, similarly, otherwise, alternatively, yet, therefore, finally, in contrast, consequently, on the contrary, on the other hand, etc. Consider the following examples:

(i)         She was beautiful, however her behaviour was bad.

The conjunct ‘however’ connects the main clauses ‘she was beautiful’ and ‘her behaviour was bad.’

(ii)        Although I am not hungry, yet I will eat little food.

The conjunct ‘yet’ connects the clauses or ‘although I am not hungry’ and ‘I will eat little food.’

(iii)       Mariam is brilliant, similarly she is industrious.

The conjunct ‘similarly’ connects the independent clauses ‘Mariam is brilliant’ and ‘she is industrious.’

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(iv)       The wind blew, consequently it damaged a storey building.

The conjunct ‘consequently’ connects both ‘the wind blew’ and ‘it damaged a storey building.’

Other Functions of Adverbs

Apart from the functions we discussed in the first unit, adverbs also serve as modifiers in certain sentences. Examine the examples below.

An adverb can pre-modify a pronoun.

(i)         Nearly everybody attended the meeting.

(ii)        Almost everything has been broken.

An adverb can post-modify a noun phrase.

(i)         The man upstairs is shouting at his children.

(ii)        The woman inside slapped her husband.

An adverb with an equivalent prepositional phrase may be used interchangeably. But the adverbs and prepositional phrases below modify verbs.

(i)         Additionally, water is essential for body system.

(ii)        In addition, water is essential for body system.

(iii)       Unluckily, he missed the bus.

(iv)       Out of luck, he missed the bus.



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