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Adverbs KS2

What are adverbs?

Adverbs are words that modify a verb (she walks quickly), an adjective (extremely high), another adverb (it started too abruptly) or even a whole sentence (Interestingly, queen honey bees can live for up to five years.).

Adverbs normally end in -ly though this is not always the case. Examples of adverbs which do not end in this way include: fast, never, well, now, yesterday, here and there.

Adverbs KS2 modifying verbs

Children in KS2 will mainly be taught about the role adverbs have in modifying verbs since this is their most common use. Adverbs modify verbs by describing the way in which an action is happening. Let's take a look at some examples:

Jane sings loudly in the car. (The adverb is describing how Jane sings)

Tom's dog waits patiently for his walk. (The adverb is describing how the dog waits)

I carefully opened the envelope. (The adverb is describing how I opened the envelope)

In all of the examples above, the adverb is telling us 'in what manner' the verb was performed. However, adverbs can also describe 'when' (e.g. we arrived early) and where (turn here).

Adverbs KS2 modifying adjectives

Adverbs can also be used to modify adjectives. The adverb is normally used here to describe a degree of intensity. Let's again look at some examples:

The man is rather unkind.

This magazine is more humorous than the others.

My horoscope is almost always right.


In the final example above, both 'almost' and 'always' are adverbs! 'Almost' is modifying 'always' and they are both modifying the adjective 'right'. You can use more than just two adverbs in a row but this can result in long sentences that don't flow nicely so is best avoided.

Adverbs KS2 modifying a whole sentence

An adverb which modifies a whole sentence is known as a 'sentence adverb'. These don't describe just one thing in a sentence but a general feeling about all the information in a sentence. Here are some examples:

Generally, I like playing badminton on a Monday.

Fortunately, they made quite a bit of money at the bake sale.

Interestingly, the first castles were made from wood rather than stone.

In the example above, the adverbs are at the start of the sentence and are thus referred to as 'fronted adverbials'. Fronted adverbials are typically followed by a comma.

Adverbs KS2 position in a sentence

Adverbs are interesting as they can be used in multiple positions within a sentence. However, it is always recommended to use the adverb as close as possible to the word they are modifying.

She ate her dinner quickly.

She quickly ate her dinner.

Children can make sentences using sticky notes with one word on each note. Then, they could physically manipulate the words to explore changing the position of the adverb in the sentence. This could also be done as a whole class with pupils holding whiteboards forming a human sentence!

Adverbs wordbank KS2

A useful way for teachers to help children include adverbs in their writing is to provide them with an adverb wordbank. Children could be asked to tick off those that they use in their writing.

When do children learn about adverbs?

Here is what the National Curriculum says about adverbs:

In Year 2, children are required to know how to use -ly in standard English to turn adjectives into adverbs. This is the first time children will be introduced to the term 'adverb'.

In Year 3, children are taught to express time, place and cause using adverbs.

In Year 4, children are taught how to use fronted adverbials (see below). They are taught to use a comma after a fronted adverbial too.

In Year 5, children are taught how to introduce degrees of possiblilty using adverbs e.g. surely, perhaps. They are also taught to link ideas across paragraphs using adverbials of time, place or number.

In Year 6, children build on linking ideas across paragaphs using adverbials such as on the other hand, in contrast or as a consquence.

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.

FREE: Speech Verbs and Adverbs Word Mat

FREE Adverbs Word Bank

LESSON PACK: The Twits - Descriptive Writing - Fronted Adverbials