Topic: Adverbial

These resources relate to the grammatical function Adverbial. Adverbials are often optional elements in the clause which express circumstances of the situation such as where, when, how or why it happens. An example is in the afternoon in She had a nap in the afternoon. These resources show that there is a wide variety of Adverbials in terms of form, meaning, and position in the clause.

Adverbials and positioning in clauses

Exploring the effect of adverbial placement in different texts

In this lesson, we look at ways of teaching adverbials and the different ways they can be positioned inside clauses.


  • Explore the effect of placing adverbials in different positions.
  • Understand how adverbials are flexible and can be moved around to 'do different things'.
  • Help students apply this in their writing.

Lesson Plan

In this lesson, we take the concept of the adverbial and explore it through the analysis and creation of literary texts. This has 3 steps:

Genre of Argument and Discussion

Lesson Plan


  • Discuss the tone and purpose of argument and disucssion in essays.
  • Identify the discouse structures and organisation features.
  • Analyse how grammar contributes to the organisation of the essay.

Lesson Plan

Before this lesson, you should complete the lesson An Introduction to Genre, so that learners are familiar with the key terms discourse structure and register.

NB: This lesson and lesson plan are divided into two parts!

Genre of Argument and Discussion



What kind of text is an argument or discussion?

What is its purpose?

What makes it different from other texts?

Activity 1

Read the essay on the hand out.

1. What is the topic of the essay? What facts do you learn?

2. What is the author's perspective? How can you tell?

3. How is this text written? What is the tone? Why is it written in this way?

Genre of Narratives and Recounts

Lesson Plan


  • Distinguish recounts from narratives
  • Identify the discourse structure and features of register used in narratives
  • Re-order a narrative following the discourse structure and features of register

Lesson Plan

Before this lesson, you should complete the An Introduction to Genre lesson, so that learners are familiar with key terms discourse structure and register.

Genre of Narratives and Recounts


Activity 1

Today, we're looking at the genre of storytelling. Narratives and recounts are two ways of describing events.

What do you think is the difference between narratives and recounts?

Narratives and recounts both relate events that took place in the past and which occur in a logical order.

The difference is that narratives try to make sense of what happened and link the events through cause and effect. Also, recounts tend to be factual, but narratives are usually fictional.

Identify the Adverbials

Find the Adverbials in a range of examples

Identify the Adverbials in each example (there is only one in each sentence). To select a sequence of words, click on the first and last words.


Subjects, Direct Objects and Indirect Objects are typically noun phrases  (and sometimes clauses) which identify participants in the situation described by the main verb – they answer ‘who’ or ‘what’ questions.

Adverbials are rather different. Consider the highlighted phrases in the examples below:

Adverbial: Used as linking device

Adverbials typically modify verbs or clauses, but they can also be useful as linking devices to connect clauses to the content of the preceding text. Here are some examples of Adverbials that have this function. Remember that Adverbials can appear in different shapes: as adverbs (or adverb phrases), as prepositional phrases, as (shortened) clauses, or as set phrases.



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