English Adverbial Phrases
This unit covers adverbial phrases. Adverbial phrases modify a verb, adjective or adverb by specifying how, when, where, or why an action takes place.
An adverbial phrase is a group of words that function as an adverb – they modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb. Adverbial phrases can be grouped according to whether they deal with time, manner, place or cause/reason. Here are some examples:
She will call back in a little while.
Superman can fly like a bird.
Aaron shoots the arrow at the target.
They went on vacation in order to relax.
Adverbial phrases can occur in three different forms: as an infinitive phrase, a prepositional phrase, or an adverb with an intensifier.
I walked very quickly down the street. (adverb + intensifier)
They signed up to get special offers. (infinitive phrase)
Susan is sitting near the window. (prepositional phrase)
Just like adverbs, adverbial phrases can be placed at the beginning of a sentence to place emphasis on the phrase. Compare the following two sentences:
I will fly next week to Chicago.
Next week, I will fly to Chicago.
In the second example, the element of time represented by the adverbial phrase, “next week,” is highlighted and given extra weight or importance in the sentence.
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