The Five Main Types of Adverbs in English

Overhead view of young male tennis player playing tennis, serving the ball on sunny blue tennis court

Chris Ryan / Getty Images

Adverbs are one of the eight parts of speech and are used to modify verbs. They can describe how, when, where, and how often something is done. Here is a guide to the five types of adverbs.

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner provide information on how someone does something. Adverbs of manner are most often used with action verbs. Adverbs of manner include: slowly, fast, carefully, carelessly, effortlessly, urgently, etc. Adverbs of manner can be placed at the end of sentences or directly before or after the verb. 

Examples

  • Jack drives very carefully.
  • He won the tennis match effortlessly.
  • She slowly opened the present. 

Adverbs of Time and Frequency

Adverbs of time provide information on when something happens. Adverbs of time can express a specific time such as in two days, yesterday, three weeks ago, etc. Adverbs of time are usually placed at the end of sentences, though they sometimes begin a sentence.

Examples

  • We'll let you know our decision next week.
  • I flew to Dallas three weeks ago.
  • Yesterday, I received a letter from my friend in Belfast.

Adverbs of frequency are similar to adverbs of time except that they express how often something happens. Adverbs of frequency are placed before the main verb. They are placed after the verb 'be'. Here is a list of the most common adverbs of frequency beginning with the most often to the least often:

  1. always
  2. almost always
  3. usually
  4. often
  5. sometimes
  6. occasionally
  7. seldom 
  8. rarely
  9. almost never
  10. never

Examples

  • He seldom takes a vacation.
  • Jennifer occasionally goes to the movies.
  • Tom is never late for work. 

Adverbs of Degree

Adverbs of degree provide information concerning how much of something is done. These adverbs are often placed at the end of a sentence.

Examples

  • They like playing golf a lot.
  • She decided that she doesn't enjoy watching TV at all. 
  • She nearly flew to Boston, but decided not to go in the end. 

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place tell us where something happened. They include works such as nowhere, anywhere, outside, everywhere, etc. 

Examples

  • Tom will go anywhere with his dog.
  • You'll find that there is nowhere like home.
  • She found the box outside. 

Formation

Adverbs are usually formed by adding '-ly' to an adjective.

  • quiet - quietly, careful - carefully, careless - carelessly

Adjectives ending in '-le' change to '-ly'.

  • possible - possibly, probable - probably, incredible - incredibly

Adjectives ending in '-y' change to '-ily'.

  • lucky - luckily, happy - happily, angry - angrily

Adjectives ending in '-ic' change to '-ically'.

  • basic - basically, ironic - ironically, scientific - scientifically
  • good - well, hard - hard, fast -fast

Sentence Placement

Adverbs of Manner: Adverbs of manner are placed after the verb or entire expression (at the end of the sentence).

  • Their teacher speaks quickly.

Adverbs of Time: Adverbs of time are placed after the verb or entire expression (at the end of the sentence).

  • She visited her friends last year.

Adverbs of Frequency: Adverbs of frequency are placed before the main verb (not the auxiliary verb).

  • He often goes to bed late. Do you sometimes get up early?

Adverbs of Degree: Adverbs of degree are placed after the verb or entire expression (at the end of the sentence).

  • She'll attend the meeting as well.

Adverbs of place: Adverbs of place are generally placed at the end of a sentence.

  • She walked out of the room to nowhere. 

Important Exceptions

Some adverbs are placed at the beginning of a sentence to provide more emphasis.

  • Now you tell me you can't come!

Adverbs of frequency are placed after the verb 'to be' when used as the main verb of the sentence.

  • Jack is often late for work.

Some adverbs of frequency (sometimes, usually, normally) are also placed at the beginning of the sentence for emphasis.

  • Sometimes I visit my friends in London.