NEVER AT THE BEGINNING: Already Mrs Black had left. (X)
Oxford Practice Grammar
What are adverbs?
Adverbs can modify:
She always does everything really thoroughly
and seems totally dedicated to her job.
Position of Adverbs (I)
Usually immediately BEFORE the
ADJECTIVES and ADVERBS they modify.
It’s nearly complete.
Is it politically correct?
She did it fairly easily.
He spoke very quietly.
Position of Adverbs (II)
When modifying VERBS or SENTENCES, adverbs can
appear IN FRONT or END POSITION of the clause or
Usually I have a piece of toast and orange juice in the
morning. I might have a snack later.
In MID POSITION after BE or AUXILIARY.
Some people are always hungry when they wake up.
BEFORE the MAIN VERB
I really prefer to wait a while before eating.
We do not put adverbs between a verb
and its object:
(x) I drink sometimes coffee
Adverbs of PLACE and TIME
Used to add information on LOCATION or
Usually in END POSITIONS
Before adverbs of time: recently, tomorrow
I slipped and fell backwards
I haven’t been abroad recently
Adverbs of FREQUENCY
Adverbs of DEFINITE FREQUENCY (annually,
daily, twice…) in END POSITION.
Rooms are cleaned daily.
I’ve seen that film twice.
Adverbs of INDEFINITE FREQUENCY (ever,
often, usually…) in MID POSITION.
It usually rains in the evening.
Does he ever study?
Expectation Adverbs (I): ALREADY
Used to express a connection between
events and expectations
ALREADY: MID or END position (the
event is earlier than expected)
His plane has already arrived.
Mrs Black had left already.
Expectation Adverbs (II): STILL
STILL is used to say that something is
going on longer than expected, usually in
We are still waiting.
Expectation Adverbs (III):
NO LONGER, NOT…ANY LONGER/MORE
Used when an event was expected to
continue but it did not. Usually in MID or
It no longer works.
We couldn’t stay there any longer.
She doesn’t live here any more.
Expectation Adverbs (III): YET
YET (=up to now) is used to show that an
event is or was expected. Usually at the
END of QUESTIONS, NEGATIVES and
EXPRESSIONS OF UNCERTAINTY
Have you read it yet?
Classes haven’t started yet.
I’m not sure if he’s finished yet.
Focus Adverbs: EVEN, JUST, ONLY
Used to draw attention to ONE part of the
She was only joking.
He can’t even swim.
Her research isn’t just about English.
We can change the focus and the meaning by
changing the position of the adverb:
Mark only works here on Fridays (only Fridays)
Only Mark works here on Fridays (only Mark)
Degree Adverbs (I)
Used to say to what extent something is done or
felt. REALLY, COMPLETELY, TOTALLY, …
He totally forgot.
She really hates fish.
We failed completely.
PRETTY, QUITE, RATHER: before adjectives
They’re pretty good.
It’s quite tasty.
A BIT, A LITTLE (we don’t use them with
adjectives before nouns)
She’s feeling a little tired.
The music is a bit loud.
(NOT: It’s a bit loud music)
We don’t use VERY before verbs
Degree Adverbs (III)
MORE/LESS and MOST/LEAST are used as
degree adverbs in comparatives and
Going by train can be more convenient and less
TOO before adjectives and adverbs; ENOUGH
It’s too difficult.
Is this box big enough?
Adverbs of MANNER (I)
Used to say how something is done.
Usually in END position.
I’ll read it carefully.
They searched the room quickly and thoroughly.
Adverbs of MANNER (II)
Used to describe the perspective or point
of view being considered. Usually in END
position or in FRONT position with a
It was not done scientifically.
Financially, the project makes sense.
COMMENT Adverbs (I)
Used to include a comment or opinion
about what is said or written. Usually in
FRONT or END positions. The adverb
PROBABLY can appear in MID position.
It was probably a misunderstanding.
Surprisingly, he failed.
I’ll refund the cost, of course.
COMMENT Adverbs (II)
We use DEFINITELY and OBVIOUSLY to say
how sure we are.
I’ll definitely call you tonight.
Obviously, someone forgot to lock the door.
We use FORTUNATELY and SERIOUSLY to
say how we feel.
Fortunately, no one was injured.
We’re seriously thinking about moving.