Adverbial Phrase

Adverbial Phrase

Adverbial Phrase

Adverbial Phrase

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?


Only halfa spoon, please.


something specific

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.


relationships between clauses and sentences