Using Adverbials in Non-Fiction Texts

Activities: Part 2

In part 1, you looked at Adverbials and how they are formed. 

In this lesson, you will look at three texts and see how Adverbials help to organise information. 


Soon, you will read three non-fiction texts. Before you do, discuss these quesitons: 

  1. What does non-fiction mean? 
  2. What are some examples of non-fiction texts? 
  3. What features do you expect to find in non-fiction texts?

Read the texts A, B and C.

What is the genre of each text? Use the 'hint' to help after two minutes. 

Instructional Text, Scientific Text, Formal Letter


A: Formal Letter
B: Scientific Text
C: Instructional Text

Discuss with a partner: how could you work out which genre each text belonged to? 

Activity 3

Look back at the three sentences you wrote in part 1 of this lesson. 

Match each of these sentences to the correct text. The gap where the sentence belongs in each text is marked with a number in bold: 1, 2, and 3

When you have matched each sentence to the right text, play with the order of the Adverbial.

  • Which order sounds best? 
  • Why do you think that? 

Here are how the three sentences appeared originally in each text: 

A) Very soon afterwards, we discovered that nothing had in fact been done to resolve the problem.

B) Because the distribution of particle size relates directly to water velocity, coarse sand beaches are found...

C) In accordance with the principles of direct play, the ball should be thrown forward wherever possible.

Look at the order of each sentence. What do all the Adverbials have in common? How can you tell? 

All the sentences use fronted Adverbials. You can tell because they come before the Subject, and are separated with a comma. 

Why do you think a writer would decide to place the Adverbial at the front of the sentence? 

Adverbials are used to order information. This includes: 

  • time
  • importance
  • emphasis 
  • guidance 
  • cause and effect
  • problem to solution
  • old to new
  • familiar to unfamiliar 
  • general to specific

Look back at the three sentences. What reason do you think explains why each one is fronted? What effect would it have to change the order of the sentence? 

Activity 4

Read the three texts again and find some more sentences with Adverbials

Try to find examples which are: 

  • fronted
  • not-fronted 
  • preposition phrases
  • adverb phrases 
  • subordinate clauses 

For each Adverbial you find, discuss with a partner why you think it has been used. 

Here are some possible examples - you may have found many others! 

See if you can find each one before clicking 'reveal' 

  1. A non-fronted subordinate clause in text A that connects a general idea to a specific one. 
  2. You ought to be aware of the situation because there is a long-term possibility of dry rot developing.

  3. A fronted preposition phrase in text B that builds on a previous idea and adds more detail.
  4. In particular, finer particles are often found low on the shore, and coarser ones at the top...

  5. A subordinate clause and adverb combination in text C that describes a hypothetical cause-and-effect situation.  
  6. If for some reason he is not in position to initiate forward play, then he should not be given the ball.



Now is your chance to apply your knowledge of Adverbials. Find a recent piece of writing you have done for English or another subject. 

  • Highlight or underline Adverbials you can find;
  • Annotate how you have used them to order information; 
  • Share what you have found with a partner;
  • Discuss how you could re-order the Adverbials for different effects. 


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