Adverbs are words that provide an answer to the questions when, where, and how, for example, recently, never, below, slowly, frankly. Typically, adverbs end in -ly though there remain a few adjectives that use this ending too, such as friendly, lovely, lonely.

The place of the adverb in English is quite variable. It varies according to its meaning and function depending on whether the adverb refers to the verb, an adjective, another adverb or the whole sentence.

Adverbs can be applied to modify an adjective or the whole sentence. When modifying an adjective, the adverb quickly precedes it: particularly hot weather recently re-elected the president.

When modifying a sentence, adverbs can be placed in three positions:

  1. Beginning;
  2. Mid;
  3. End;

Some adverbs can appear in all positions; others have less freedom; for example, they cannot be the first word in the clause.

Beginning Of The Sentence

A comma often separates adverbs placed at the beginning of the clause. The comma is necessary after however, in fact, therefore, moreover, furthermore, nevertheless, and still. Usually, the summer is hot and humid. They are used to comment on the rest of the sentence or clause (sentence adverbs):

  • Luckily, our meal lived up to expectation.
  • Clearly, more works are needed.
  • Sometimes she wishes it was not so cold.
  • Sadly, this winter is particularly cold.

Some adverbs cannot start a declarative sentence. These are: ever, rarely, always, seldom and never.

Start a sentence or clause that’s linked in meaning to another:

  • People tend to add more weight in middle age. However, adding weight is not inevitable.
  • I’ll begin with an overview of the product. Secondly, I’ll talk about projected sales.

Mid Position

This term points to adverbs that can be used amid a clause or sentence. The main kinds of adverbs observed in this position are those that:

Refer to frequency:

They always meet for coffee on Sanday.

He’s never been to Egypt.

Refer to manner:

She carefully avoided my eye.

They slowly walked into the city.

Make the meaning of an adjective, verb, or another adverb weaker or stronger:

He nearly fell asleep at his table.

These ideas are very complicated.

Comment on the rest of the clause or sentence:

When we first heard this story, frankly, we couldn’t believe it.

Focus on the part of a clause or sentence:

I’m only going to stay in New York for a week.

Tina can’t just drop all her commitments.

All other verbs (read, sleep, dance, want, etc.): the adverb precedes the verb.

End Position

The main kinds of adverbs which can be used at the end of a sentence of the clause are those that:

  • Refer to the manner: slowly, quickly, badly, silently;

It’s an exciting plot twist and one that works perfectly.

For some reason, his career progressed moderately.

Refer to time: today, already, last week, this year

The troops flew home yesterday.

They’re sending hundreds of messages to each other weekly.

There is no wind today.

  • Refer to place:

She is sitting at the table over there.

There was a sudden burst of laughter from the people who could see outside.

Some adverb cannot be last in a sentence. These are the same adverbs that cannot come first: always, ever, rarely, seldom and never.

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