How To Teach Adverbs – Placement And Meaning

Adverbs can be tricky, where to put them, the different types there are, and even how to make them for your lower level students. Here is my comprehensive guide to adverbs, how to use them and when. Key knowledge for any English teacher starting out, or as an old hat in need of a refresher!


Adverbs of Manner – These answer the question ‘how?’

  • In the majority of cases, the adverb is formed by simply placing ‘-ly’ at the end of the adjective; Quickly, Slowly, Cheerfully.
  • If the adjective ends in ‘y’, replace it with ‘i’ and add the same ending; Easily, Steadily, Stealthily
  • If the adjective finishes with ‘le’, replace the ‘e’ with ‘y’; Capably, Possibly, Changeably
  • If the adjective ends in ‘ic’, just add ‘ally’ to the end; Basically, Idiotically


Sometimes the adjective doesn’t change and is used also as an adverb; Hard, Straight, Fast

Adding ‘ly’ to these adjectives doesn’t make sense or creates words like ‘hardly’ which have an entirely different meaning.

Adverbs of Place – These answer the question ‘Where?’

Here, There, Everywhere.

Adverbs of Time – These answer the question ‘When?’

Then, Yesterday, Tomorrow

Adverbs of Frequency – These answer the question ‘How Often?’

Sometimes, Never, Daily

Adverbs of Degree – These tell us the extent or degree to which something happens. They can modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They answer the questions ‘How Much?’ or ‘To What Extent / Degree?’

Entirely, Very, Quite



When an adverb modifies a verb there are three possible placements.

  1. Front; Before the subject – “Yesterday I ran 10 km”
  2. Mid; Between the subject and the verb – “I usually run 10 km at the weekends”
  3. End; After the verb/object – “I run quickly”

Adjectives Or Other Adverbs

In almost all cases when an adverb is intended to refer to an adjective or another adverb, it goes directly in front of the word that it modifies.

“The end of the film was heartbreakingly sad”

“How she overcame her illness was incredibly inspiring”

Still confused? Have a look at this guide to help;

Adverb Position


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