Adverb: Definition and Examples

Since adjectives are more common compared to adverbs, this article will focus on explaining the concept of adverbs. It will answer the most basic questions like:

  • What is an adverb?
  • What are the different kinds of adverbs?
  • What are the most important tips for using adverbs?


Question 1: What is an Adverb?

An adverb is a part of speech used to describe a verb, adjective, clause, or another adverb. It simply tells the readers how, where, when, or the degree at which something was done.


  1. The manager accepted the challenge very nicely.

The italicized word is an adverb that describes nicely, which is another adverb.

  1. Tears began to fall as he saw the completely lifeless body of his wife.


The adverb in this sentence is completely, which describes the adjective lifeless.


  1. Surprisingly, the cubicles of the public restroom are clean.


Surprisingly is the adverb in this sentence. It modifies the clause that comes right after it.

Even though all of the sample sentences above have one-word adverbs, adverbs are not limited to a single word. Sometimes, adverbs come in phrases. Take a look at the example below.

At 4 a.m., a stray cat jumped into the open window.

The italicized part is a prepositional phrase with an adverbial function. It tells when the event occurred.

Question 2: What are the Different Kinds of Adverbs?

Aside from answering the main question “What is an adverb?” it is also important to explore the different kinds of this part of speech. Basically, there are four kinds of adverbs:


  • Adverbs of Manner


This kind of adverb describes the manner by which something was done or something happened. Adverbs of manner answer the question “How?”




  1. The students measured the volume of the chemicals accurately.


The italicized adverb describes the verb “measured.”


  1. She walks gracefully.


Gracefully modifies the verb “walks.”


  • Adverbs of Place


Adverbs of place simply answer the question “Where?” Here are some examples:


  1. Heisenberg looked away from the dead body.


The adverb away answers the question, “Where did Heisenberg look?”


  1. They built a huge toy factory nearby.


The adverb nearby answers the question, “Where did they build the huge toy factory?”

You will notice based on these examples that adverbs of place can be placed right after the verb or after the object of the verb.

  • Adverbs of Time


Aside from answering when an event occurred, adverbs of time also answer questions like, “How long?” and “How often?




  1. Syndra lived in Germany for a year.


For a year tells how long something happened (how long Syndra lived in Germany).


  1. I’m going to the dentist tomorrow.

The adverb tomorrow indicates when something will be done.

  • Adverbs of Degree


This kind of adverb indicates the degree at which something will be done. It tells something about the intensity.



  1. You didn’t try hard enough.


Hard enough is an adverb pertaining to the verb, “try.”


  1. The temperature of the room was extremely


Extremely describes the adjective, “high.”

Question 3: What are the Most Important Tips for Using Adverbs?

Sometimes, students know what adverbs are but don’t know how to use them properly. So here are the most useful tips that you should keep in mind:

  1. In writing an adverb of manner, you must never write the adverb in between the verb and the object of the verb.


Example (from above):

The students measured accurately the volume of the chemicals. (wrong)

The students measured the volume of the chemicals accurately. (correct)

The first sentence is wrong because the adverb is located somewhere between “measured” (verb) and “volume” (object of the verb).


  1. Know when to use the comparative or superlative forms of adverbs. Words like more or less are added to the main adverb when comparing two things. Most or least are used if there are three or more things to compare.


Examples: most often; more frequently


  1. Not all words ending in –ly are adverbs. This is pretty obvious, but some students assume that a word is an adverb just because it ends in –ly.


  1. Do not overly use adverbs. If there are single alternative words, you can use those.




Instead of walk heavily –> trudge

Instead of ate hurriedly –> gobbled

Final Thoughts

After providing simplified answers to questions like “What is an adverb?” and “What are the different kinds of adverbs?” this article will surely help you understand the concept better. However, how you apply this knowledge and make use of it to your advantage still depends on you. Keep on reading and practicing your writing in order to hone your grammar skills.

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