A word or group of words that modifies or contributes additional, but non-essential, information about a sentence or a verb.

Adverbials are classified on the basis of the kind of meaning involved including:

  • time (for example, ‘yesterday’ in ‘I spoke with him yesterday’)
  • duration (for example, ‘for several years’ in ‘they have lived together for several years’)
  • frequency (for example, ‘three times a year’ in ‘the committee meets three times a year’)
  • place (for example, ‘in Brisbane’ in ‘we met in Brisbane’)
  • manner (for example, ‘very aggressively’ in ‘he played very aggressively’)
  • degree (for example, ‘very deeply’ in ‘he loves her very deeply’)
  • reason (for example, ‘because of the price’ in ‘we rejected it because of the price’)
  • purpose (for example, ‘to avoid embarrassing you’ in ‘I stayed away to avoid embarrassing you’)
  • condition (for example, ‘if I can’ in ‘I’ll help you if I can’)
  • concession (for example, ‘although she was unwell’ in ‘she joined in although she was unwell’).

Adverbials usually have the form of:

  • adverb group: a group/phrase includes an adverb as the head word and answers questions such as 'how?' or 'where?' or 'when?' (for example, ‘it ran extremely quickly’, ‘it ran quicker than a cheetah)
  • a prepositional phrase (for example, ‘in the evening’ in ‘she'll be arriving in the evening’)
  • a noun group/phrase (for example, ‘this morning’ in ‘I finished it this morning’)
  • a subordinate clause (for example, ‘because he had an assignment to finish’ in ‘He didn’t go out because he had an assignment to finish’). In some schools of linguistics, such subordinate clauses are treated as dependent on, rather than embedded in, the main clause.