English Grammar Basic Grammar and syntax

Phrases with adverbs in English

Sentences with adverbs in English

What are adverbial phrases? What are adverbial phrases? How are they different from adverbs in English? How to find an adverbial phrase? We will be answering these and some questions in more detail.

What are adverbial phrases in English?

An adverbial phrase in English is a group of words that modifies the main verb of a sentence. Just like an adverb, an adverbial phrase also tells us WHY, WHERE, WHEN and HOW an action is carried out.

A complex definition of an adverbial phrase from Wikipedia!

Look at the following examples:

  • Ashish teaches English.
  • Ashish teaches English here .
  • Ashish teaches English here himself without any books .

The first sentence has a subject (Ashish), a verb (teach), and the object of the verb teaches (English).

The second sentence, in addition to having a subject, a verb and an object, has here an adverb of place. It is about modifying the verb teaches and tells us where the action of teaching happens.

The third example has two adverbial phrases that give more details about the action it teaches. Right here, the first adverbial phrase tells us where the action of teaching happens, and the second adverb, without any book, tells us how the action of teaching happens.

Now, do we really have to answer why it is important to use adverbial phrases? We have just seen how the use of adverbial phrases makes our sentences more detailed by telling us the details of the action.

Examples of adverbial phrases

  • Jon played the guitar surprisingly well . (Describe how the action occurred)
  • My sister prepares the food very quickly . (Describe how the action happens)
  • That day, you acted extremely beautiful. (Describe when and how the action occurred)
  • Jimmy is sleeping on the floor . (Describes where the action is happening)
  • You should avoid going around that place . (Describes where the action should not occur)
  • I’m doing my best to make people happy . (Describe why the action occurs)
  • He started listening to English to learn it better . (Describe why the action occurred)
  • You will receive a call from the company after a few days . (Describes when the action occurs)

If you notice, these examples have prepositional phrases and infinitive phrases that function as adverbs, modifying the main verb of the sentence.

Adverbial phrases/adverbial phrases of time (WHEN)


Adverbial phrases of time describe“when“the action occurs in a sentence.

Some adverbial phrases of time

  • After the game
  • In the next 3 years
  • In a few months
  • As soon as possible
  • Coming Soon
  • Last night
  • Yesterday
  • Any time
  • Afternoon

Examples of adverbial phrases in sentences

  • Let’s meet after the game .
  • You want to have your own brand in the next 3 years .
  • If you start listening to English, your listening and speaking skills will improve within a few months .
  • We will contact you as soon as possible .
  • She is getting married very soon .
  • We had a crazy party last night.
  • Your cousin Riya called me the day before yesterday .
  • You can call me anytime .
  • Let’s meet in the afternoon .

These adverbial phrases of time (in red) modify the verb of the sentences by talking about the time of the action.

Adverbial phrases/adverbial phrases of place (WHERE)

Adverbial phrases of place describe ‘where’ the action takes place in the sentence.

Some adverbial phrases of place

  • Behind our school
  • At the station
  • By the police station
  • In front of my house
  • Under the bed
  • Behind the curtains
  • In the face
  • On the lips

Examples of adverbial phrases in sentences

  • We used to fight behind our school .
  • Don’t wait for me; I’ll see you at the station directly.
  • He lives next to the police station .
  • Some people are fighting in front of my house .
  • Jimmy hides under the bed .
  • She might as well hide behind the curtains .
  • Joey hit him in the face and knocked him out.
  • Last night he kissed me on the lips. It was beautiful.

Adverbial phrases (colored in red) modify verbs by talking about the place where they take place.

Adverbial Phrases/Adverbial Phrases of Reason (WHY)

Adverbial reason phrases describe ‘why’ the action takes/took place in the sentence.

Some adverbial phrases of reason

  • To succeed in life
  • To pursue higher education
  • To pay back your loans
  • to make my family happy
  • To eradicate world poverty.
  • To impress others
  • To be calm and serene
  • To educate others

Examples of adverbial phrases in sentences

  • Most people don’t try hard enough to succeed in life.
  • Max is going to London to pursue higher education .
  • People are selling out to pay off their loans .
  • I am working day and night to make my family happy.
  • We need to educate each one of the human beings that live on the planet to eradicate poverty in the world .
  • People buy stupid things to impress others.
  • To be calm and serene , I meditate daily.
  • To educate others , they are running a free school.

The adverbial phrases (colored in red) modify the verbs in these sentences by explaining why they are carried out. Adverbial phrases of reason are often infinitive phrases.

Adverbial phrases/adverbial phrases of manner (HOW)

Adverbial phrases of manner describe ‘how’ the action is carried out in the sentence.

Some adverbial phrases of manner

  • Very good
  • Lightning speed
  • very carefully
  • Very easily
  • Quietly
  • With much zeal and compassion
  • Like a grown man

Adverbial phrases sentence examples

  • You cook very well.
  • Max kicks at lightning speed .
  • You have to do it very carefully.
  • Some people can convince you very easily . I want this power too.
  • Max answered my call quietly .
  • Jenny always speaks with great zeal and compassion.
  • You have to behave like a grown man.

These adverbial phrases (colored in red) indicate how the action is happening.

Types of adverbial phrases

1. An adverb and an intensifier

We can form adverbial phrases/adverbial phrases using a regular adverb and an intensifier (words that strengthen adverbs) or a mitigater (words that strengthen adverbs).

  • You look very good.
    Main adverb = good, intensifier = very
  • Max kicks at lightning speed .
    Main adverb = fast, intensifier = lightning
  • You look pretty good.
    Main adverb = good, mitigating = quite
  • Max kicks something fast.
    Main adverb = fast, mitigator = something

Common intensifiers = very, extremely, completely, a lot, quite a bit, quite a lot, also, totally, absolutely, etc.
Common mitigators = quite a bit, quite a bit, slightly, quite a bit, somewhat, etc.

2. Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases can function as adjectives and adverbs. They start with a preposition and are followed by the object of the preposition.

  • We used to fight behind our school .
    Preposition = behind
    The object of the preposition = our school
  • Max answered my call quietly .
    Preposition = in
    The object of the preposition = a low voice

Both prepositional phrases function as adverbial phrases since they modify the main verb in the sentence. The first adverbial phrase tells us where the action would happen, and the second tells us how the action happened.

  • Fight where ?
  • Behind our school
  • You answered the call how ?
  • Quietly

3. Phrases in the infinitive

Infinitive phrases also work as adverbs; They also modify verbs. They start with an infinitive (TO + V1).

  • People are selling out to pay off their loans .
    Infinitive = to pay
    The object of the infinitive = its loans
  • Most people don’t try hard enough to succeed in life .
    Infinitive = succeed
    The modifier of the infinitive = in life

4. participle phrases

Participle phrases can function as both adjectival (like adjectives) and adverbial (like adverbs). Let’s see how participle phrases work as adverbs.

  • Thinking back to his old days at the hostel, Jon became emotional.
    (Thinking back to his old days at the hostel is a present participle phrase that tells us the reason why the action in the main clause took place. It works as an adverb.)
  • Having returned Alex’s money , I was relieved.
    (Here, having returned Alex’s money is a perfect participle phrase that is modifying the main verb of the main clause, telling us why the subject felt relieved.)

How to find adverbial phrases in a sentence?

I know that you now know how to find adverbial phrases in a sentence.

Still, let me show you how to do it. Find the main verbs in the following sentences and ask them WHY/WHERE/WHEN/HOW. The result will be your adverbial phrases.

  • The girl is sitting at the table.
    Sitting where?
    Adverbial phrase = on the table
  • Eat like a pig .
    eat how?
    Adverbial phrase = like a pig
  • My friend Monu got me a phone to make me happy.
    Got me a phone why?
    Adverbial phrase = make me happy
  • She will call me after 10 pm .
    Call WHEN?
    Adverbial phrase = after 10 pm

Important Points

1. Punctuate adverb phrases correctly.
If you start a sentence with an adverbial phrase, compare it with a comma after it. But when it comes to the end of a sentence, don’t use a comma.

  • To earn more money , Max is doing night shifts these days.
  • In my childhood , I used to tease my mother a lot.

Using a comma after the adverbial phrase (when it is the beginning of a sentence) helps us understand where it ends and also creates a dramatic effect.

  • Max is doing night shifts these days to earn more money.
  • I used to tease my mother a lot in my childhood.

2. Don’t get confused between adverb phrases and adjective phrases.
If you misplace your adverbial phrases, you could end up with adjective phrases. Look at the following example:

  • Let’s take a look at the bike in the next room.
    Does the prepositional phrase modify the verb CHECK OUT or the noun BIKE? Are we going to the next room to see the bicycle or are we going to see the bicycle that is in the next room?
    The prepositional phrase is intended to modify the verb, but seems to be modifying the noun, logically. In such a case, rephrasing or reformulating is the best way to avoid confusion.
  • Let’s go into the next room and see the bike.

3. You can have multiple adverb phrases in your sentence.
If you wish, you can use several adverbial phrases in your sentence. Let me show you an example:

  • After the game, we will have a party at my house to celebrate our victory .
    We have three adverbial phrases in the sentence above (bold).

Adverbial Phrases vs Adverbial Clauses

Do not confuse adverbial clauses with adverbial phrases or vice versa.

An adverb clause is a group of words that has a subject-verb combination and functions as an adverb in a sentence, and an adverb phrase is a group of words (not a subject-verb combination) that works as an adverb.

So both adverbial phrases and adverbial clauses modify a verb in a sentence. But adverbial phrases do not have a combination of subject and verb; that is why they are called phrases, not clauses. One more difference is that adverbial clauses always begin with a subordinate conjunction which does not occur with adverbial phrases.


(Because he’s crazy about money is the adverbial clause that gives the reason why the subject is doing the action: loot. It starts with a subordinate conjunction (because) and has a subject (the guy) and a verb ( does.) The presence of the subject-verb combination makes it a clause, and since it modifies the main verb, it becomes an adverb.)


(Because of money is the adverbial phrase in the sentence. It does not have a subject-verb combination; therefore, it is a phrase, not a clause. Because money is a prepositional phrase that functions as an adverb, modifying the verb loot.)

More examples of adverbial clauses:

  • He laughs as if no one was in the class .
    (An adverbial clause of manner = describes HOW the action occurs)
  • Most people do all the crazy things before they get married.
    (An adverbial clause of time = describes WHEN the action occurs)
  • My dog ​​Jimmy follows me wherever he wants him to go.
    (An adverbial clause of place = describes WHERE the action occurs)
  • Max didn’t come to play with us yesterday because he was hospitalized.
    (An adverb of reason clause = describes WHY the action did not happen)

So, that’s what adverbial phrases are, commonly known as adverbial phrases. Please don’t keep the knowledge to yourself; empower others by sharing it with them.

Adverbial Phrases and Adverbial Phrases

Are adverbial phrases and adverbial phrases the same? Many people think they are, but there is a subtle difference between them. Adverbial phrases are phrases that function as adverbs, including regular adverbial phrases (formed from a regular adverb) and other phrases (headed by a preposition, infinitive, or participle).

So, all adverbial phrases are adverbial phrases and always function as adverbs, but adverbial phrases can function differently. Also, keep in mind that adverbial phrases are formed from a regular adverb (a word that always functions as an adverb), and adverbial phrases can be formed or headed by a preposition, participle, or infinitive.

Adverbial Phrases

  • he hit very hard the ball.
  • My sister Richael sings extremely well .
  • She used to run very fast in my college days.

Note that all of these adverbial phrases are headed by a regular adverb (hard, good, fast). These words can only function as adverbs.

Adverbial Phrases

  • We hid your keys under a pillow .
  • Jon comes here to help us with our doubts .
  • Hearing the news of Jacob’s death , we began to cry.
  • You did very gracefully .

The first three adverbial phrases are formed without using a regular adverb. these are a prepositional phrase, an infinitive phrase, and a participial phrase that functions as an adverb. But the fourth is a regular adverbial phrase. All of these will be called adverbial phrases, since they function as adverbs in these sentences.

Note: Prepositional phrases, infinitive phrases, and participial phrases can function as adjectives, but a regular adverbial phrase cannot; always works as an adverb.

frequently asked questions

What is an example of an adverb phrase?
An adverbial phrase is a group of words that functions as an adverb. It can be formed by using an intensifier/mitigator and a regular adverb or by using prepositional phrases and infinitive phrases as adverbs.

  1. Jon played very well the guitar. (modifying the verb ‘played’)
  2. Let’s meet in the afternoon . (modifying the verb ‘meet’)
  3. I do everything to make people happy. (modifying the verb ‘do’)

How do you identify adverb phrases?
Asking why/where/when/how the main verb can get the adverbial phrase in a sentence. They are regular adverbial phrases (using an adverb and an intensifier/mitigator), infinitive phrases, or prepositional phrases.

How do you write an adverb phrase in a sentence?
Un adverbio se puede formar usando un adverbio y un intensificador/mitigador.
Regular adverbs: fast, slowly, well
Intensifiers & Mitigators: very, extremely, pretty, somewhat, quite


  1. You speak very fast .
  2. You speak rather fast .

You can also use prepositional phrases, participial phrases, and infinitive phrases as adverbs.

What do you mean by adverbial phrases?
Phrases that are not formed using a regular adverb but function as an adverb are called adverbial phrases. In English, prepositional phrases and infinitive phrases can be adverbial phrases, since they can both function as adverbs.

What are the types of adverbial phrases?
There are four types of adverbial phrases in English:

  1. Adverbial phrases of time
  2. Adverbial phrases of place
  3. Adverbial phrases of reason
  4. Adverbial phrases of manner

What is the difference between adverbs and adverbial phrases?
Adverbs are single words that modify a verb, adjective or adverb. On the other hand, adverbial phrases are prepositional phrases and infinitive phrases that function as adverbs, they modify a verb.

How do you distinguish between an adverb clause and an adverb phrase?
An adverbial phrase does not have a subject-verb combination (both a subject and a verb), and an adverbial clause does. This is what distinguishes an adverbial phrase from an adverbial clause.

  • She called me to get some money. (adverbial phrase)
  • She called me because she needed some money. (adverb clause)
  • Let’s meet after the game . (adverbial phrase)
  • Let’s meet after the game is over . (adverb clause)

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