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Adverbs at Work

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Adverbs are words that indicate:

  • the frequency when something happens
  • the manner in which it happens
  • the place where it happens
  • the time when something happens
  • the level of intensity that something happens

Adverbs used in conjunction with articles, nouns, verbs, and adjectives add to the color of the English language. It is sometimes difficult to spot the differences between adjectives and adverbs, but with practice, you will be able to do it quickly.


Some adverbs tell how often something is done. For example:

  • I always do my homework on time.

In this sentence, always describes the frequency with which the homework is done on time.

Other adverbs of frequency include those in the following list, describing high frequency (top) to low frequency (bottom).

  • always
  • constantly
  • nearly always
  • almost always
  • usually
  • generally
  • normally
  • regularly
  • often
  • frequently
  • sometimes
  • periodically
  • occasionally
  • now and then
  • once in a while
  • rarely
  • seldom
  • infrequently
  • hardly ever
  • scarcely ever
  • almost never
  • never

When something happens regularly at a fixed time, the following adverbs can be used:

Fixed timeAdverbs
Every dayDaily
Every weekWeekly
Every monthMonthly
Every yearYearly/annually

For example:

  • I get a newspaper every day. I get the newspaper daily.
  • I pay my rent every month. I pay my rent monthly.


Some adverbs tell how, or the manner in which, an action is or should be performed.

  • The little girl ran quickly.

In this sentence, quickly modifies the manner in which she ran.

  • We hurried quietly.

In this sentence, quietly modifies the manner in which we hurried.


Some adverbs indicate where something happens. For example:

  • My passport is here in my bag.

In this sentence, here describes where the passport is.


Some adverbs tell the time that something is done. For example:

  • Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.

In this sentence, yesterday describes when the troubles seemed far away.

The following adverbs refer to definite time. In other words, they indicate more precisely when something is going to or did take place.

A recurring specific day of the weekI go to the shops on Mondays.
TodayI have been to the shops today.
YesterdayI went to the shops yesterday.
Next week/month/yearI am going to the shops next week.
Last week/month/yearI went to the shops last year.

The following words are adverbs of indefinite time—a good sense of when they happened or will happen is not provided.

FinallyI finally went to the shops.
EventuallyI eventually went to the shops.
AlreadyI have already been to the shops.
SoonI am going to the shops soon.
JustI am just going to the shops. (Just going now as opposed to the other interpretation, “I am just going to the shops, not to the museum or the train station.”)
StillI am still at the shops.

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