What are time adverbials?
Time adverbials are words or phrases that tell us when a sentence is taking place. Here are some examples of time adverbials:
Next, beat the eggs using a whisk.
I walked to the shops before I had my lunch.
Ben ate some spaghetti later.
As you can see, time adverbials can be put in various positions within a sentence. That is really important because the position a time adverbial is put in can change its emphasis. When time adverbials are used at the start of sentences, the time element is emphasised. In this position, time adverbials are followed by a comma. When time adverbials are positioned at the end of sentences, this is an neutral position with no particular emphasis. Some time adverbials can be placed before the main verb in formal writing.
Later, Jack climbed the beanstalk. (the time is important)
Jack later climbed the beanstalk. (this is more formal, like a police report)
Jack climbed the beanstalk later. (this is neutral with no particular emphasis)
Time adverbials can also be used to indicate how long:
I have been looking forward to this all day.
He has worked on the painting for a year.
She has worked for the company since 1985.
Time adverbials can also be used to indicate how often. They are normally placed before the main verb in the sentence.
I often wash my car.
He never breaks the classroom rules.
You must always look both ways.
I am seldom scared of rollercoasters.
She rarely gets angry.