What are the 3 categories and 16 types of adverb?
This is the second of three lessons about Adverbs. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Review the three categories of adverb from Lesson 1
– Explore the sixteen subcategories of adverb in English
– Study authentic examples to improve English proficiency
In Lesson 2 of our short course on adverbs, we divide this word type into three categories and sixteen subcategories so that students can better identify and use adverbs in their speech and writing. As a fairly broad grouping of words, adverbs can be a little tricky to master by patterns and rules alone. This is because adverbs are able to modify many parts of speech, including adjectives, other adverbs, verbs, prepositional phrases and sentences, often answering the how, when, where, how often or to what extent of an expression. If you’ve ever found this word type challenging to perfect, learning about their various benefits and uses in this lesson should improve your ability.
What are the three categories of adverb?
Though adverbs as a grouping are less clearly defined than other word types such as verbs and nouns, it is possible to categorise words like ‘additionally’, ‘furthermore’ and ‘somewhat’ in three distinct ways. There are adjunctive, conjunctive and disjunctive adverbs, each of which has multiple subcategories:
1) Adjunctive adverbs add optional information about an event or state in relation to its circumstances, such as its place, time, condition or manner (‘I failed the exam this morning.’).
2) Conjunctive adverbs join clauses together, forming relations between expressions such as addition, contrast and order (‘Jessica studied hard; therefore, she received a good grade.’).
3) Disjunctive adverbs provide additional information about entire clauses, expressing attitudes, evaluations and probabilities (‘Surprisingly, she failed the exam.’).
Optional adjunctive adverbs are usually subcategorised in five different ways depending upon the meaning they express. As the following table shows, there are adverbs of degree, frequency, manner, place and time:
While this is easily the most common category of adverb used in general English settings, they are far less common in academic language (as Lesson 3 will explain).
Quite different to adjunctives are conjunctive adverbs such as ‘however’ or ‘therefore’. Conjunctives are particularly helpful for students because they join clauses together and start or end sentences, demonstrating logical and rhetorical relations between ideas such as contrast or result. Using these relationships as a method of definition, we can group conjunctive adverbs into six different types:
We’ve separated relative and interrogative adverbs as these are different from types 6-9 in the sense that they are distinguished by grammar rather than by meaning. Relative adverbs, for instance, are used to introduce relative clauses, while interrogative adverbs are placed at the front of questions in English.
The final categorisation of adverb is the disjunctive adverb, which is used to express attitudes, evaluations and probabilities about entire clauses and sentences. These adverbs are particularly useful in academic essays and conversations in which value judgements are often included in sophisticated arguments. Hedging adverbs (type 15), which are a type of hedging language, are also very handy as they allow a writer to be more cautious about the arguments and claims they present:
Well done on finishing this second lesson in our course on adverbs. Now that you’re familiar with the sixteen types of adjunctive, conjunctive and disjunctive adverb, it might be a good idea to keep reading with Lesson 3 to find out which of these are more commonly used in academic English and which should be avoided.
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