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Although endings, gradability and comparison allow us to identify many adverbs, there still remains a very large number of them which cannot be identified in this way. In fact, taken as a whole, the adverb class is the most diverse of all the word classes, and its members exhibit a very wide range of forms and functions. Many semantic classifications of adverbs have been made, but here we will concentrate on just three of the most distinctive classes, known collectively as circumstantial adverbs.  

Circumstantial Adverbs

Many adverbs convey information about the manner, time, or place of an event or action. MANNER adverbs tell us how an action is or should be performed:  
      She sang loudly in the bath  
      The sky quickly grew dark  
      They whispered softly  
      I had to run fast to catch the bus 
TIME adverbs denote not only specific times but also frequency:  
      I'll be checking out tomorrow  
      Give it back, now!  
      John rarely rings any more  
      I watch television sometimes 
And finally, PLACE adverbs indicate where 
      Put the box there, on the table  
      I've left my gloves somewhere 
These three adverb types -- manner, time, and place -- are collectively known as CIRCUMSTANTIAL ADVERBS. They express one of the circumstances relating to an event or action - how it happened (manner), when it happened (time), or where it happened (place).  

In each of the following sentences, indicate whether the highlighted word is an adverb of manner, time, or place.
1. The thief crept silently across the rooftops Manner  
2. I'm not feeling well today Manner  
3. The teacher smiled enigmatically Manner  
4. We'll meet here after the match Manner  
5. My aunt never comes to visit Manner  

More on Adverbs...

copyright The Survey of English Usage 1996-1998
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