Using Adverbials in Non-Fiction Texts

Activities: Part 1


  1. What is an Adverbial? 
  2. What kind of grammatical units (structures) can function as Adverbial?
  3. What is a 'fronted Adverbial'? 
  4. Why do writers use Adverbials? Why do they move them around in sentences? 

An adverbial:

  • is the part of a sentence that adds information about the 'how', 'why', 'where' or 'when' of the situation expressed (manner, reason, place and time). Remember that a sentence may contain one or more Adverbials;
  • can take various different forms, for example a preposition phrase, noun phrase or a clause;
  • can be placed at the end of a clause, or at the start (a 'fronted Adverbial');
  • can't stand on its own as a full sentence and only makes sense inside a clause. 

Activity 1

Three sentences have been broken apart into main clauses and Adverbials.

  • Match the appropriate main clause to the adverbial that fits best. 
  • Copy out the full sentences, adding in commas and capital letters. 
  • Decide whether to leave the adverbial at the end of the main clause or place it at the front. 

A) we discovered that nothing had been done to solve the problem
B) coarse sand beaches are found where either wave action or longshore currents are high
C) the ball should be thrown forward wherever possible
2) very soon afterwards
3) because the distribution of particle sizes relates directly to water velocity
1) in accordance with the principle of direct play

Here are the most plasuible combinations: A2, B3, C1

You will see in part 2 how these sentences fit into longer texts. 


  1. How did you know which Adverbial matched with which main clause? 
  2. How did you decide where to place the Adverbial?
  3. What kind of text does each sentence come from? 

Activity 2

You could probably work out how to match the sentence based on the content and how they two parts made sense together. This is called cohesion. Sentences usually contain related information and ideas, presented in some kind of logical order. We use Adverbials to help present that order. 

What grammatical forms do the Adverbials take in the last activity? 


Bear in the notion of Adverbial refers to a grammatical function, along with SubjectObject, Modifier, etc.  

An Adverbial can be formed using different grammatical forms as we have just seen! They can be realised as: 

  • prepositon phrases (e.g. I left my phone in the bedroom.)
  • adverb phrases (e.g. We left the station very quickly.)
  • noun phrases (e.g. I saw the play last week.)
  • subordinate clauses (e.g. We had lunch when she arrived.)

In part 2, you will look at how these three sentences create cohesion in texts. 


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