Adverbs are words which modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. Generally, the function od adverbs is to show when, where, how, why, in what manner, to what extent or frequency. They generally answer questions about when (tonight), where (downtown), how (carefully), why (words like because or since used to introduce adverbial clauses), in what manner (quickly), and to what extent degree (very).

When: I recently bought a new car.
Where: Phillip was waorking outside cutting the grass.
How: One should always look carefully for oncoming traffic before crossing the street.
Why: I eat apples because they are good for my health.
Manner: The snake slithered slowly across the lawn.
Extent: Mary failed the test because it was very difficult.
Frequency: I seldom go to the movies because it is to expensive.

In addition, adverbs can be used to perform various functions within a sentence or paragraph. These functions include:

Make a comment or indicate an attitude, for example: perhaps, supposedly
XXX Perhaps we should think about taking our vacation in July, not June.

Perform a linking or enumerating function, for example: firstly, lastly
XXXAnd lastly, you should exercise daily to ensure good health.

Express a viewpoint, for example: morally, officially, mentally
XXXMorally, think caoital punishment is wrong.

Add or limit, for example: also, either, only, not
XXXAlso, you should have a phyical examination once a year.

Placement of adverbs

Adverbs can appear anywhere in the sentence. Unlike adjectives, which usually appear close to the noun or pronoun they modify, adverbs can show up at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a sentence.

Adverbs at the beginning of a sentence
XXXFinally, I have finished painting the kitchen.

Adverbs in the middle of a sentence
XXXI called my doctor’s office repeatedly but only got a recording.

Adverbs at the end of a sentence
XXXJohn stumbled out of the bedroom awkwardly.


Other links for Adverbs
XX Definition of Adverb
XX List of Adverbs
XX Kind of Adverbs


For more information about adverbs and their use take a look at

The Basics of English Grammar

An explanation and definition of adverbs- including their function, type, placement and formation–