Adverbial Phrases with Examples – Definition, Meaning, Types, Prepositional Phrase, List

adverbial phrases with examples prepositional definition list title

Adverbial phrases or adverb phrases are explained along with a lot of examples, basic definitions, types including a detailed list, etc. Let’s explore the adverbial phrase!

What are Adverbial Phrases with Examples

Adverbial Phrase Definition

The group of words that functions as an adverb or simply performs the function of an adverb is called an adverbial phrase. The front end of the phrase is an adverb.

  • An adverbial phrase is also called an adverb phrase.
  • This phrase may contain multi-words as well.
  • This phrase acts as an adverb or modifies adverb or adjectives or even other adverbs as well.

It (adverbial phrase) can appear alone or can be modified by other words. It explains,

  • how,
  • when,
  • where, or
  • why an action happens.
Adverbial phrases with examples prepositional definition list
Adverbial phrases with examples prepositional definition list

For example

  • Children grow up quickly.
  • I usually go to the gym in June.

Adverbial Phrases Examples

Now for deeper understanding consider the following sentences-

  •  John drove the bike erratically.
  •  John drove the bike very erratically.
  •  John erratically drove in an erratic way.

Now in the above-mentioned sentences, we observe that

  • the first sentence contains an Adverb (erratically),
  • the second sentence contains an adverb phrase (very erratically) that mentions how the bike was driven,
  • the third sentence contains an adverbial phrase (in an erratic way) that emphasizes the fact of how the bike was driven.

As explained above, adverbial phrases may or may not contain adverbs. So in the third sentence, the adverbial phrase doesn’t contain any adverb.

Adverb vs Adverbial Phrase

We have three terms to get a look into-

  • Adverbs
  • Adverb phrase
  • Adverbial phrase

All three have the same function but there are still some key points of difference to be noted. An adverb is a word that describes a verb. An adverb phrase is a combination of two or more adverbs and an adverbial phrase is a more emphasized group of words that may or may not contain the adverb.

For example

  • She lives in India. – Adverb
  • She lives happily in India – Adverb phrase
  • She lives in a happy mood in India. – Adverbial phrase

Basic English Grammar is nicely explained in Grammar video with a very low price.

Format of Adverbial Phrase

Prepositional Phrases

They contain three things-

Prepositional Phrase Example: She stole money from the lady across the street.

Explanation: In the above example, the word ‘from’ is a preposition, ‘the lady across the’ is a modifier and ‘street’ is an object.

Infinitive Phrases

They contain –

  • An infinite form of verb + complement and modifier

For example: I want to dig the soil quickly.

Explanation: In the above example, ‘to dig’ is an infinitive, ‘the land’ is a complement and ‘faster’ is a modifier.

Adverbs Intensifies

An intensifier is a word that is used to strengthen or weaken another word.

For example: The apple is very juicy.

Explanation: Here ‘very’ is an intensifier that strengthens the word ‘juicy’.

Adverbial Phrase vs Adverbial Clause

Adverbial phrases contain verbs and additional words (noun, pronoun, or another prepositional phrase).

  • They don’t usually contain a subject.
  • They are used to create impact in the sentences.

For Example: Looking sadly, John walked into the room.

Explanation: In the above sentence, the phrase ‘looking sadly’ doesn’t contain any subject.

Adverbial clauses always have a subject and a verb. They are used to provide more information about the verb, adjective, and adverb.

For example: When they reached their destination, they were very tired.

In the above example, ‘When they reached the destination’ is an adverbial clause with the subject ‘they’.

Fronted Adverbial Phrases

The adverbial phrases that are used at the starting of the sentences are termed fronted adverbial phrases. This is done to –

  • Vary a sentence structure
  • Make sentence more interesting
  • Draw attention to the part of the sentence

For example

  • After having dinner, they walked home.
  • Over the last two years, the living standards in the country have declined.

Check out a few adverbial phrase worksheets for practice.

Types of Adverbial Phrases

We have four types of adverbial phrases which are as follows –

  • Adverbial phrase of time (When)
  • Adverbial phrase of manner (How)
  • Adverbial phrase of place (Where)
  • Adverbial phrase of reason (Why)

Adverbial Phrase of Time (When)

It states when something happens or how often it happens. Adverb Phrases (When) examples

  • In one hour
  • After watching the movie
  • Every four hours
  • During the summer vacation
  • After a couple of hours

Adverb Phrase with Sentence Examples for When

  • I will do my work in one hour.
  • After watching the movie, we went to our home.
  • Sita studies every four hours.
  • I visit Kolkata during the summer vacation.

Adverbial Phrase of Manner (How)

It states how something is done. Adverb Phrases (How) examples

  • Quickly
  • Like a professional singer
  • Cleverly
  • Like a baby
  • Carefully
  • By Bike

Adverb Phrase with Sentence Examples for How

  • He ran very quickly.
  • Sreya sings like a professional singer.
  • Ram acts cleverly.
  • John behaves like a baby.
  • Sami went to Kolkata by bike.

Adverbial Phrase of Place (Where)

It states where something happens. Adverb Phrases (Where) examples

  • Near the door
  • In Mumbai
  • Near my house
  • In the backyard
  • In the school.

Adverb Phrase with Sentence Examples for Where

  • Tame lives in Mumbai.
  • Rohan’s house is just near my house.
  • Students are playing in the backyard.

Adverbial Phrase of Reason (Why)

It states why something happens. Adverb Phrases (Why) examples

  • To study
  • To get the knowledge
  • To impress his friends
  • For help
  • To end the war

Adverb Phrase with Sentence Examples for Why

  • He went to school to study.
  • He plays the violin to impress his friends.
  • Rohan shouted for help.

Important Points for Adverbial Phrases

Point#1 Never create a misplaced modifier

Misplaced modifiers make a sentence ambiguous or wrong.

For example for Point 1

  • Read the book at the door.

This sentence is neither telling us from where to read the book nor it is telling which book to read.

Point#2 Always a comma to be used for a fronted Adverbial phrase

Always use a comma after a fronted adverbial phrase.

For example for Point 2

  • After 5 o’clock, open the door.

Point#3 Two words can be saved in a sentence by writing only ‘in’ instead of ‘in order to’.

It’s done to reduce the word count.

For example for Point 3

  • He lived in the hostel in order to gain experience.

Modifying the above sentence,

  • He lived in the hostel to gain experience.

Point#4 Many sentences, unnecessary intensifiers are used and the same can be removed

Always remove the intensifier where it’s not needed. Because they make the sentences messy.

For example for Point 4

  • Rina was very angry.

After removing the intensifier, the above sentence can be written as-

  • She was livid.

Where livid means very angry person.

Examples of Adverbial Phrases

  • Rohan came here yesterday. [When]
  • Once upon a time, there lived a great devil. [When]
  • Preeti talked politely. [How]
  • John ran very fast. [How]
  • He will meet me tomorrow. [When]
  • Rohan spoke roughly. [How]
  • My friends live in Mumbai. [Where]
  • After having lunch, they went to the mall. [When]
  • Seeta interestingly narrated the story. [How]
  • The thief ran very fast. [How]
  • The woman seldom comes here. [Where]
  • Alan spoke in a slow voice. [How]
  • Don’t talk to me in an abusive tone. [How]
  • Next year, we will shift to our new house. [When]
  • Students are trying hard to pass the exams. [How]
  • My mother cooks very tasty food to impress my teacher. [Why]
  • Reeta cried loudly. [How]
  • They fought very badly. [How]
  • The players played like a single unit to win the match. [How]
  • Rohan performed very well in his exams. [How]
  • He plays the guitar very well. [How]
  • I will study around 5 pm. [When]


Hence, we have learned the basics of adverbial phrases along with a lot of examples and clear explanations. Any doubt, please comment in the comment box below! Further Study

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