3 ways to teach adverbs

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3 ways to teach adverbs
3 ways to teach adverbs

Adverbs are words that can modify another adverb, an adjective, or a verb in a sentence. Adverbs play a critical role in grammar by providing an additional level of information and detail. They also answer crucial questions, such as: when, where, or how. If you're teaching your students about adverb use, start by explaining the basic categories of adverbs. Then move on to a series of exercises where students can practice building sentences using different adverbs.


Method 1 of 3: Review the Basic Features of Adverbs

Teach Adverbs Step 1
Teach Adverbs Step 1

Step 1. Identify all possible questions that can be answered with adverbs

Adverbs are added to sentences to provide an additional level of clarity or detail. As you teach students, remind them of the importance of adverbs by listing the questions they can answer. Ask students to offer suggestions and write them on the board.

  • For example, adverbs can address the following questions: “How? How much? In what condition? When? Where? Why?".
  • At this point, you can have students ask themselves, "Does the word end with 'mind'?" This is an easy way for younger students to identify adverbs.
Teach Adverbs Step 2
Teach Adverbs Step 2

Step 2. Make a list of all the adverb categories

It is important for students to know that there are a few specific categories of adverbs which classify them. Explain that it will be easier for them to identify and modify the adverbs once they learn about the categories. Talk to them about the existence of adverbs that provide descriptions of time, place, and how events or actions happen.

  • For example, adverbs of time include answers to questions related to frequency and time. "Soon", "early" and "tomorrow" are adverbs of time.
  • Adverbs of place help answer the question of "Where?" "Up", "down" and "in" are adverbs of location.
  • The adverbs of mode, help to answer the question: "How?". "Sadly," "quietly," and "quickly" are all adverbs.
Teach Adverbs Step 3
Teach Adverbs Step 3

Step 3. Ask the students about their doubts about adverbs

After you've given them a general explanation of what adverbs are, and what categories they belong to, create a space where students can ask questions about sentence construction and adverbs.

  • Spend a lot of teaching time on this conversation, as it can take several minutes.
  • Expect younger students to have fewer questions. They will also likely require more instruction on the basics of sentence construction.

Method 2 of 3: Mastering Adverbs by Using Classroom Exercises

Teach Adverbs Step 4
Teach Adverbs Step 4

Step 1. Create a noun / action list with students

Together as a class, make a list of at least 10 simple nouns, combined with verbs that represent a possible action. Then ask them to create sentences using the noun / verb pairs together with an adverb. Write these sentence combinations on the board for everyone to see.

  • For example, for a rabbit / jump combination, an example sentence would be: "A rabbit jumps hurriedly."
  • This is a suitable exercise for all levels. For beginning students, start the list with some examples to relate to.
  • You should get a series of different sentence suggestions for each combination. Which is part of the exercise. Show how adverbs of mode can define a sentence. For example, for a dog / barking combination, an example sentence would be "A dog is barking loudly" or "A dog is barking enthusiastically."
Teach Adverbs Step 5
Teach Adverbs Step 5

Step 2. Teach about adverbs of place by constructing sentences

Ask students to make a list of adverbs that indicate a place; Then ask them to build sentences using these directional adverbs and write them on the board. It is helpful if you have students create sentences that show actions that work and sentences that don't work with adverbs.

  • For example, a student might say, "A shooting star falls down."
  • If a student tries to use the word "towards," you should explain that the word is a preposition.
  • Because this exercise requires a large vocabulary, it is best suited for intermediate or advanced learners.
Teach Adverbs Step 6
Teach Adverbs Step 6

Step 3. Practice the adverbs of time by asking "When?

"Go from student to student asking each one a question that begins with" When? ". One of the rules of this game is that each student must answer this question beginning with the adverb of time" after. "Then, they must indicate a particular time period.

  • For a change, ask questions about both the past and the present.
  • For example, you can ask, "When did you go to elementary school?" Students could respond: "After turning 5 years old."
  • This is a good exercise for beginning students, as it helps them understand the importance of the adverb.
Teach Adverbs Step 7
Teach Adverbs Step 7

Step 4. Play a game of adverbs

Start in a corner of the room and walk slowly around the room. Ask the students to be silent during this time. Then walk to the board and write "The teacher walked" in large letters. Ask students to describe how, when and where you walked.

  • Write their answers on the board. Draw a circle over the adverbs. They will discover that they have just provided a series of adverbs quickly.
  • All students of different levels will be able to benefit from this exercise.
Teach Adverbs Step 8
Teach Adverbs Step 8

Step 5. Ask students to transform adjectives to adverbs

Ask them to make a list of adjectives. Then do the exercise together. Look for adverbs that can be turned into adverbs by adding "mind" at the end.

For example, students can transform the word "strong" into "strongly."

Method 3 of 3: Practice using the adverb in pairs

Teach Adverbs Step 9
Teach Adverbs Step 9

Step 1. Complete an exercise based on the correction

Students like this learning strategy because it allows them to approach grammar like a game. Divide your students into pairs. The first student must make a false statement including an adverb. Then, the second student must use the same sentence, but must replace the adverb with one of their own.

  • It is important that the opening statement is false or incorrect, as it will allow the other partner to play the role of teacher and to make a correction. An example of a pair could be a first sentence, "The dog is barking softly." The corrected phrase could be "The dog is barking loudly."
  • Do not limit yourself to doing this exercise only 2 times. Students should practice multiple times with the same sentence. Especially advanced students can play this game for up to 30 minutes.
  • For example, the first student might say, "The athlete moves slowly." The second student can change the statement to "The athlete moves quickly."
Teach Adverbs Step 10
Teach Adverbs Step 10

Step 2. Practice the adverbs of place with a spatial exercise

Gather your students and ask them to walk around the classroom together. They should take turns indicating sentences that include "Here" and "There" along with common prepositions, such as "Below." Ask your students to only use "Here" for something that is relatively close and "There" for an element that is further away.

  • Other prepositions that students can use are: up, down, and through.
  • For example, a student may say, "The ceiling is up", or "My desk is there."
  • This is a fun exercise for all learners of different levels, as it allows them to connect the adverbs with their environment.
Teach Adverbs Step 11
Teach Adverbs Step 11

Step 3. Make a card game to teach students adverbs of manner

Give each student a set of cards that contain a mode adverb for each card. Ask them to ask each other questions, and to use the adverbs as answers. A student has to discard his card if he is asked a question with that adverb as an answer.

  • Some common mode adverbs are sometimes "rarely", "almost never", "never", "always" and "generally".
  • This exercise is most effective for advanced students, due to the complex nuances between the varieties of adverbs.


It can be a challenge for many students and even teachers! To understand the conventions of sentences and grammar. Take enough time to teach these concepts and be patient when students try to learn


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