What is the Adverbial Phrase? Definition, Types and Adverbial Phrases Example Sentences

What is the Adverbial Phrase? Definition, Types and Adverbial Phrases Example Sentences

What Is an Adverbial Phrase?

A collection of words that works as an adverb is known as an adverbial phrase. Adverbial phrases are distinguished from adverbial clauses and single-word adverbs by their length. An adverbial phrase, unlike an adverbial sentence, does not have a subject or a verb.


Easy Example of an Adverbial Phrase

  • Jane will sit in silence.

(The adverbial phrase “in quiet” is being used as a way adverb. It describes Jane’s sitting position.)

  • Jane will sit quietly.

(This is a common adverbial phrase. This example was presented to demonstrate that the phrase “in quiet” is an adverb.)

  • I will sit like a monk meditates.

(This is a clause with an adverb. It has a subject (“a monk”) as well as a verb (“meditates”).)

All of the adverbs in the instances above tell us how the individual will sit. They’re all manner adverbs. When an adverb (including an adverbial phrase and an adverbial clause) is used to modify a verb, it generally describes when, where, how, or why something happens.


When (Adverbial Phrase of Time)

When something happens or how frequently something happens, an adverbial phrase of time is used. Consider the following scenario:

  • We’ll do it in a minute.
  • After the match, the captain and coach go into the same room.
  • Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day. (Albert Camus)


Where (Adverbial Phrase of Place)

An adverbial phrase of a place expresses the location of an event. Consider the following scenario:

  • I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn’t park anywhere near the place. (Steven Wright)
  • Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, he sings. (Ed Gardner)


How (Adverbial Phrase of Manner)

A method adverbial phrase describes how something is done. Consider the following scenario:

  • He constantly spoke in a nationalistic manner.
  • He has a low voice and sings in a low register.


Why (Adverbial Phrase of Reason)

The reason for anything is stated in an adverbial phrase of reason. Consider the following scenario:

  • He traveled to the island to search for gold.
  • She plays up to impress her classmates.


The Format of Adverbial Phrases

 Here are three popular adverbial phrase formats:

  • Phrase with a preposition. A preposition precedes a prepositional phrase (e.g., “in,” “on,” “near,” “by,” “with”). Consider the following scenario:
  • She was standing in the corner.
  • My little sister is winning without trying.


  • Phrase with an infinitive. An infinitive phrase has an infinitive verb at the beginning (e.g., “to play,” “to jump”). Consider the following scenario:
  • She went to France to paint with her best friend.
  • Fill in this form to join our American flag football club.


  • An adverb containing the word “intensify” in it. Adverbial phrases include adverbs with intensifiers (e.g., “very,” “very,” “truly”). Consider the following scenario:
  • He answered your question very quickly.
  • She danced with my brother extremely beautifully.


Why Should I Care about Adverbial Phrases?

  1. A misplaced modifier is a word (or combination of words) that does not clearly relate to the thing it’s supposed to change. A misplaced modifier makes a sentence’s meaning uncertain or incorrect.
  2. A “fronted adverbial” is defined as an adverbial phrase (or clause) that appears at the beginning of a sentence. A comma is frequently used to separate a fronted adverbial from the rest of the sentence.
  3. You may typically substitute “in order to” with “to” without losing sense to minimize your word count.