Definition and Examples of Place Adverbs

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

Close up of pushpins on roadmap route
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In English grammar, an adverb of a place is an adverb (such as here or inside) that tells where the action of a verb is or was carried out. Also called a place adverbial or a spatial adverb.

Common adverbs (or adverbial phrases) of place include above, anywhere, behind, below, downward, everywhere, forward, here, in, inside, left, near, outside, over there, sideways, underneath, and upward.

Certain prepositional phrases (such as at home and under the bed) can function as adverbs of place. 

Some adverbs of place, such as here and there, belong to a system of place or spatial deixis. In other words, the place that's referred to (as in "Here is the book") is commonly determined by the physical location of the speaker. Thus the spatial adverb here is usually the place where here is uttered. (This aspect of grammar is treated in the branch of linguistics known as pragmatics.)

Adverbs of place commonly appear at the end of a clause or sentence.

Examples and Observations

  • Television programs produced in New York and Hollywood are seen worldwide.
  • Unfortunately, incompetence can be found everywhere.
  • When giving a presentation, please don't just stand there and read from the slides.
  • Leave the car here.
  • Leave the car in the driveway.
  • The emperor stayed at the palace.
  • I heard a nightingale singing somewhere not far away.
  • "Just picture a penthouse way up in the sky,
    With hinges on chimneys, for clouds to go by."
    (Val Burton and Will Jason, "When We're Alone")
  • "Emerging from the wood, she skirted past the far side of the bowling green and walked down the steps of the sunken rose garden and out the other side."
    (Alison Prince, "The Water Mill." The Young Oxford Book of Nightmares. Oxford University Press, 2000)
  • "Seaton's aunt was standing in the garden beside the open French window, feeding a great flutter of birds."
    (Walter de la Mare, "Seaton's Aunt." The London Mercury, 1922)
  • A Deictic Place Adverb in Context
    "[In the following example], the spatial adverb 'here' was not provided when reference was made in line 1 to the necklace Elsie was wearing at the time.
    1. Heidi: This is a nice necklace that you have.
    2. Elsie: Here?
    3. Heidi: The . . . the necklace here.
    4. Elsie: Oh yes. Elsie's request for clarification in line 2 indicates that she was missing that information in my utterance represented in line 1."
    (Heidi E. Hamilton, "Requests for Clarification as Evidence of Pragmatic Comprehension Difficulty." Discourse Analysis and Applications: Studies in Adult Clinical Populations, ed. by Ronald L. Bloom, Loraine K. Obler, Susan De Santi, and Jonathan S. Ehrlich. Psychology Press, 2013)
  • Place Adverbs vs. Dummy Subjects
    "It's important to show the stressed place adverb there (there's my school) compared to the unstressed dummy subject there (there's a school beside the mosque) . . .."
    (Tony Penston, A Concise Grammar for English Language Teachers. TP Publications, 2005)
  • Shifting Place Adverbs and Main Verbs
    "When a place adverb or adverbial phrase is moved to the beginning of the sentence, the main verb can be placed before the subject if it is in a simple tense. Here comes the next party of tourists.
    Beyond the city boundaries lived a farming community." (Annette Capel and Michael Black, Objective IELTS Advanced Self-Study Student's Book. Cambridge University Press, 2006)
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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Definition and Examples of Place Adverbs." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Nordquist, Richard. (2020, August 28). Definition and Examples of Place Adverbs. Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "Definition and Examples of Place Adverbs." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).