Difference Between Adverb and Adverbial

Main Difference – Adverb vs Adverbial

Adverbs and Adverbials are used to modify a verb or a sentence; they both express details like manner, place, time, frequency, etc. Adverbials are syntactic units to which adverbs, adverbial phrases, and adverbial clauses belong. Therefore, all adverbs can be termed as adverbials, but not all adverbials can be termed as adverbs. The main difference between adverb and adverbial is that adverb is a word class whereas adverbial is a syntactic unit that performs the function of adverbs.

What is an Adverb

Adverbs are words that are used to modify a verb, adjective or another adverb. They can express details like manner, place, time, frequency and degree. Adverbs answer questions like when, where, how, in what manner, or to what extent. Adverbs specifically refer to one word. Fast, slowly, prettily, always, daily, fully, partly, etc. are examples of adverbs.

Adverbs can be categorized into different groups based on their functions. Adverbs of time express when an action occurs, Adverbs of place tell us where an action takes place, and adverbs of manner tell us how an action occurs.

She gulped down the drink quickly. (Manner)

He was extremely careful. (Manner)

They had gone there. (Place)

The baby is sleeping now. (Time)

From the above sentences, you’ll note that adverbs are commonly placed at the end of a sentence. When there is more than one adverb in a sentence, they usually follow the order manner, place or time. But this pattern might change in some sentences.

Difference Between Adverb and Adverbial

The dog is running fast.

What is an Adverbial

An adverbial is a word or a group of words that modifies or explains us something about the verb and the sentences. In simple terms, adverbials are words and sentences that act as adverbs in a sentence. Adverbs, adverbial phrases, and adverbial clauses fall into the category of adverbials.

We can use adverbials to say how, where, when, how often, how long and why something happens. Consequently, they can be categorized as adverbials of manner, adverbials of time and adverbials of place.

Adverbials of Manner

He ran as quickly as possible.

She can speak French like a native.

Adverbials of Time

They have been living in this house for over twenty years.

She starts work at nine thirty.

Adverbials of Place

The cat was under the table.

I met him at the railway station.

Main Difference - Adverb vs Adverbial

The girl is lying on the grass.

Difference Between Adverb and Adverbial


Adverb is a word that modifies the meaning of an adjective, verb, or another adverb by expressing manner, place, time, or degree.

Adverbial is a word or phrase functioning as a major clause constituent and typically expressing place, time, or manner.


Adverbs usually consist of one word.

Adverbials can be a word, phrase or a clause.


Adverbs modify an adjective, verb or another adverb.

Adverbials function as adverbs.Difference Between Adverb and Adverbial - infographic

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