An adverbial phrase usually consists of two or more words: an adverb being the head word in an adverbial phrase plus other words, although it can consist of only one adverb. The adverbial phrase functions as an adverb in a sentence and is often a prepositional phrase that modifies a verb, adjective, or adverb.
He ate his ice cream in a train.
(The adverbial phrase in a train modifies the verb ate.)
She seems happy with her puppies.
(The adverbial phrase with her puppies modifies the adjective happy.)
Bob hates to wake up early on Monday morning.
(The adverbial phrase on Monday morning modifies the adverb early.)
Adverb phrases: types and meanings
An adverb phrase can consist of one adverb or an adverb plus other words before it (premodification) or after it (postmodification). Adverb phrases have many different meanings.
In the examples the adverb phrases are in bold. The other words that modify the adverb are underlined
used to give information about
We walked verycarefully across the floor.
how something happens
Here is where I was born.
That’s it. Rightthere.
where something happens
Dad got home very late.
when something happens
This pill will take away the pain temporarily.
how long something happens
They almostnever invite people to their house these days.
how often something happens
Want some sugar in your coffee?
Onlyhalfa spoon, please.
That dog behaves incrediblystupidly!
how much or to what degree something happens
The train will probably be late.
It doesn’t necessarilymean that.
certainty or necessity
how certain or necessary something is
Unfortunately for me, I can’t speak Italian.
the speaker’s opinion of something
Personally, I don’t see why the party has to start so early.
the speaker’s perspective or reaction
It rained very heavily this summer. Therefore, many of the vegetables were very small.