What is an adverbial?
An adverbial is a word or a phrase that gives more information about the verb in a sentence. Adverbials can answer how, when or where something happened. Let's look at how a simple sentence can be improved using an adverbial:
I ate my breakfast
I ate my breakfast quickly. (how)
I ate my breakfast before I had a shower. (when)
I ate my breakfast in the kitchen. (where)
Adverbials are clever little things because they can actually move around in a sentence. When they are positioned at the start (or 'front') of a sentence, they are called 'fronted adverbials'. Let's take those examples we just looked at and notice how they can easily become fronted adverbials:
Quickly, I ate my breakfast. (how)
Before I had a shower, I ate my breakfast. (when)
In the kitchen, I ate my breakfast. (where)
Did you notice what happens when we place the adverbial at the start of the sentence? You may have noticed that a comma is used to seperate the fronted adverbial from the main clause. Commas are normally used after fronted adverbials though this is not always the case.