Adverb - An Overview

What is an Adverb?

An adverb is a word class that does a lot of things and can be found in varying positions in a sentence so it has been considered the trickiest part of speech. If a word or a group of words cannot be classified as any of the word classes, it is most likely an adverb. 

Adverbs generally modify verbs, adjectives, as well as other adverbs, giving English language most of its wealth of meaning and nuance. 

What are the types of Adverbs?

Adverbs can be classified either by form or function. If adverbs are categorized into form, there will be three types of them:

1. Simple Adverbs 

This type of adverb is made up of one word such as just, so, now, etc. Many simple adverbs denote position and direction. 

  • Examples: near, out, under, back, down 

2. Compound Adverbs 

Two-word adverbs are called compound adverbs. They could be either formal or informal. 

  • Formal: whereto, hereby, whereupon, herewith
  • Informal: somewhere, somehow, anywhere, anytime 

3. Derivational Adverbs 

Adverbs created from Adjectives are examples of derivational adverbs. The majority of this type have the suffix -ly

  • Examples: strange - strangely, independent - independently, pugnacious - pugnaciously
  • Less Common Examples: comboy- style, schoolboy-fashion, clockwise 

As to function, adverbs have at least 12 types: the adverbs of frequency; the adverbs of time, place, motion, and location; the adverbs of degree; the adverbs of comment; the adverbs of viewpoint and focus; the conjunctive adverbs; the negative adverbs; the question adverbs; and the adverbs of manner. In the next lessons, each type will be discussed in great detail.


  • A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik (Longman Group Ltd., 1985) 
  • English Plain and Simple by Jose A. Carillo (The Manila Times Publishing Corp., 2008)
Designed by Neil Yamit