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It is no secret that Grammar is an important part to study and master in order to improve your test score. Since preparation is the key to success in your test, we have the necessary tools to study, prepare, and train for a successful test.

In this article, we will focus on Adverbs:

  • What are adverbs in English and why are they important?
  • Different types of adverbs.
  • How to better use adverbs and when to avoid them.
  • Study English on your own pace online with GlobalExam and our General English course.

Ready? Let’s dive right in.

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What Are Adverbs in English and Why Are They Important?

An adverb is a word that can modify any other word EXCEPT a noun.

Adverbs are words that can describe a verb (he eats slowly), an adjective (very short), another adverb (started too early), and sentences (Sadly, we can’t go out today). However, they can not describe nouns.

For most parts, adverbs are formed with -ly at the end, but there are cases when they look similar to their adjectives.

You can consider adverbs as the seasonings of the sentence. The latter will not be wrong without it, but it will describe your ideas better and clearer, especially that they answer the questions to when, where, how, how much, and with what frequency.

As we mentioned before, there are different types of adverbs:

  • Adverbs that modify verbs.
  • Adverbs that modify adjectives.
  • Adverbs that modify other adverbs.
  • Adverbial phrases.

girl studying on her laptop

Adverbs That Modify Verbs: Complete Guide and Examples

• I walked quietly to not wake you up.

• She always speaks badly of him.

• Parker reads fast.
Last month
Last year
• I cried yesterday over a movie.

• I will graduate soon.

• I will bake a cake for you tonight.
• I ran outdoors when I heard that scream.

• My sister lives upstairs.

• I parked far from here.
How muchQuite
• I am extremely tired.

• I barely noticed you there.

• I have had enough chocolate for today.

Adverbs That Modify Adjectives: Definition and Examples

The adverbs that modify adjectives are intensifiers because they can describe the noun to a great extent. These adverbs can mostly answer the question ‘how?’.


  • This is an unusually small building. (Unusually describes how small the building is.)
  • Your hair is insanely beautiful! (Insanely describes how beautiful is the hair.)
  • Our meeting last month’s was brutally boring. (brutally describes how the meeting was.)

Adverbs That Modify Other Adverbs: Detailed Examples

Yes, even adverbs need the help of other adverbs sometimes. When you want to describe something strongly, you just need to add the two adverbs next to each other to bring your idea to life.


  • This turtle walks incredibly slowly.
  • My car makes noises abnormally often.
  • The new girl runs extremely fast.

Adverbial Phrases: Definition, in-Depth Guide and Examples

A group of words that act as an adverb is called the adverbial phrase, and it is divided to four types:

  • Adverbial phrase of manner (How)
  • Adverbial phrase of time (When)
  • Adverbial phrase of place (Where)
  • Adverbial phrase of reason (Why)

Carefully study the following table for better understanding.

MannerIt states how something is done.• David is acting like a baby.

• I taught my dog to sit in silence.

• She can meditate like a monk.
TimeIt states when or how often something happens.• I will cook dinner after watching the movie.

• I visited Thailand during the summer vacation.

• Jack studies every three hours.
PlaceIt states where something happens.• I found this box near our door.

• The kids like to hang out in the garden.

• I found this necklace in Rome.
DegreeIt states why something happens.• He went to France to study.

• She makes salads to become healthier.

• The Beatles made a lot of songs to end the war.

Adverbs of manner

They describe how something happens. Placement of the adverb can sometimes change the meaning.

  • She patiently waited for her exam results. (describes the manner in which she waited)
  • She waited for her exam results patiently. (describes the manner in which she waited)
  • He asked me to leave the room quietly. (he asked for the manner in which he would leave the room to be quiet)
  • He quietly asked me to leave the room. (the manner in which he did the asking was quiet)

The suffix –ly can be added to an adjective to turn it into a flat adverb of manner:

  • quick -> quickly
  • hungry -> hungrily
  • slow -> slowly

Adverbs of place

They tell us where things happen. They always answer the question, Where?

  • Put the tray there. (Put the tray where? There)
  • My brother’s house is nearby. (My brother’s house is where? Nearby)

Adverbs of place ending in –where express a location without specifying a specific location.

  • Oh no, you got milk everywhere!
  • I think I saw her run somewhere over there.

Adverbs of place ending in –wards express a particular direction.

  • I’m not used to walking backwards.
  • The plane flew eastwards.

NB: Towards is a preposition and not an adverb.

He was walking towards the car when his phone rang.


  • If you want to see the stars, you should go outside. (here, outside is an adverb because there is no object – outside is where you need to go)
  • She is coloring outside the lines. (here, outside is a preposition because it has an object –lines)

Adverbs of time

These adverbs tell us when things happen. They tell us when, for how long, or how often an action happened or happens.

  • I need to clean the house tomorrow.
  • She was at the hospital for hours.
  • I often have a coffee before leaving for work.

The order for adverbs of time is as follows: 1) how long 2) how often 3) when

She worked in a hospital 1) for three days 2) every week 3) last year.

The position of certain adverbs of frequency can give the adverb a stronger or weaker meaning.

  • I visit Italy frequently. (stronger)
  • I frequently visit Italy. (weaker)
  • Often, I eat around 8:00. (stronger)
  • I often eat around 8:00. (weaker)

Yet is an adverb of time that can have two meanings.

  • Have you finished eating yet? (request for information)
  • No, not yet. (negative answer)

Use the adverb still to express continuity.

  • I am still waiting for you.
  • Do you still work for Le Monde?
  • Are you still hungry?

Adverbs that show degree

They are used to describe the intensity of an adjective or action.

  • She is almost ready to move on.
  • I am completely done with this book.


Enough can be an adverb OR a determiner.

  • Is your coffee hot enough? (adverb modifying hot)
  • I have had enough coffee. (determiner modifying coffee)

Too at the end of a sentence can mean also, or excessively when it comes before an adjective or other adverb.

  • Do you have something for me too? (also)
  • I’d like to go too! (also)
  • The soup is way too hot! (excessively)
  • I thought the movie was too long. (excessively)


  • If a word can be moved to a different position in the sentence, then the word is an adverb modifying a verb!
    • I hurriedly left for work. -> Hurriedly, I left for work. -> I left for work hurriedly.
  • If a word ends in –ly, it is most likely an adverb

How to Better Use Adverbs and When to Avoid Them in English

Adverbs vs. adjectives

Adverbs frequently end with -ly, but in many cases, words that end with it may not be an adverb; they could be adjectives. The words friendly, lovely, lonely, and motherly are not adverbs, they are adjectives! Check out the following sentences:

  • She is a quick runner. / She can run quickly.
  • He is a good worker. / He works well.

Can you tell which ones are adverbs and which ones are adjectives? Easy. Just try to figure out which questions these sentences are answering.

  • What is she? (adjective) / How can she run? (adverb)
  • Who is he? (adjective) / How does he work? (adverb)

Overused adverbs

Mark Twain is a very well-known English author who once said: adverbs are for lazy writers. That is true, but only if you are not being smart when using them. There are over 50 adverbs that are known to be the overused adverbs because they can be found many times in one paragraph only. Our tip is to use them, but never overdo them.

Here is the list of overused adverbs:

  • Many
  • Pretty
  • Nice
  • Kind
  • Big/little
  • Any
  • Absolutely
  • Quite
  • Funny

Positions of Adverbs

One of the greatest things about adverbs is their flexibility! They can move around in a sentence without changing its meaning or making it incorrect, especially the adverbs of manners.

  • The teacher gave orders impressively.
  • Impressively the teacher gave orders.
  • The teacher impressively gave orders.

Unnecessary Adverbs

Good writers don’t use adverbs often, they do it only to make a simple noun sound more interesting and strong. Or else, the readers may find the writings to be boring or annoying. Plus, there are a few adverbs that are better to be avoided, for good.

  • Very.
  • Really.
  • Extremely.

These adverbs don’t intensify the words, which is why they are considered unnecessary.

More Tips

  • Use adverbs only when necessary.
  • If the verb or adjective is strong enough, don’t add the adverb.
  • If the adverb is weak, remove it.

Learn English Grammar and Adverbs Online With Globalexam

Adverbs can help you express better, be more creative, and lengthen your sentences. But, as mentioned before, when not using them wisely, you will end up adding unimportant words that could turn your content from good to meh.

That is why practice is key, especially if you are planning to pass a language test. Prove that your English language proficiency is worth a great score, and there is no better way to do it than practicing with GlobalExam.

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