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Fronted Adverbials

What is a fronted adverbial?

To understand what a 'fronted adverbial' is, we need to understand what an 'adverbial' is first.

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.


Fronted adverbial examples:

Here are some further examples of fronted adverbials which tell us how, where and when. Notice the comma after each example to remind children that it should be included before the main clause.

Table showing examples of fronted adverbials

Why not dowlnload this free Fronted Adverbials Booklet which contains lots more examples of fronted adverbials and folds up neatly into a pocket-sized booklet! There are also these Fronted Adverbials Posters which can be used to remind children about fronted adverbials in their own writing.

Fronted adverbials KS2 - Activities:

Children should be introduced to fronted adverbials in Year 4. There are lots of different activities that could be used to help children learn about them. Here are some possible activities that could be used to help children identify and use fronted adverbials:


Activity One: Spotting fronted adverbials through reading

One starting point for introducing children to fronted adverbials is through reading. In shared reading activities, children could be shown examples of them in a text they are studying. As their confidence increases, they should be asked to identify examples of fronted adverbials themselves.

The next step would be to support children in explaining why they were used and the impact they had on the text. For example, children might notice how fronted adverbials can help order events in an explanation text or develop an argument with cohesion in a persuasive piece of writing. This free Identifying Fronted Adverbials Activity is a great way to get children spotting fronted adverbials.


Activity Two: Complete the sentence

Another good way to help children learn how to use fronted adverbials is to give them a set of sentences with missing adverbials and ask them to use a bank of examples to fill in the gaps. For example:

_____________________________, I went to the park.

_____________________________, I opened the box.

_____________________________, Louise hurried to work.

Children would either think of their own examples to complete the gaps or they could use a bank of fronted adverbial examples. Perhaps, children could be asked to write the same sentence three times showing use of how, where and when fronted adverbials.


Activity Three: Build a sentence

Adverbials could be written on cards. Children could then choose a card and try to build a sentence around it. They could be asked to write two sentences for each adverbial, showing one use of it within the sentence somewhere and one where it becomes a fronted adverbial. Children will need to remember that when it is a fronted adverbial, it should start with a capital letter and a comma should be used to seperate it from the main clause. Download and print these Adverbial Cards to do this activity.


Activity Four: Sort the fronted adverbial

Fronted adverbials could be presented on cards. Children would then see if they can sort the fronted adverbials into those which describe 'when' something happened, those which describe 'how' something happened and those describing 'where' something happened. They could be stuck into a grid to form a bank of useful fronted adverbials to use when writing. This free Fronted Adverbial Sorting Activity is an ideal place to start!


LESSON PACK: The Twits | Fronted Adverbials

LESSON PACK: Cloud Tea Monkeys | Improving Sentences

FREE: Identifying Fronted Adverbials