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This article is part of the grammar course.

You may choose to follow it in a structured way, or read each item separately.

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The Adverbial, as its name suggests, does the job of an adverb. In form it may be an adverb (one word), an adverb phrase (most often in the form of a Prepositional Phrase, therefore with more than one word), or an Adverbial Clause - a group of words centred on a verb.

Examples: "he spoke quickly" (adverb in an intransitive Clause); "he thought in a very personal way" (Adverbial Phrase, intransitive sentence); "he sang while they were waiting" (Adverbial Clause, intransitive sentence); "John cooked the dinner in the oven" (Adverbial Phrase, transitive sentence); "Peter sang the song badly" (Adverb, transitive sentence); "we are making hay while the sun shines" (Adverbial Clause, transitive Sentence); etc.

This is the most optional of all the elements of a clause. A writer can include it or not, with great freedom of choice. It is also more 'mobile' than the others - that is, it can appear in any part of the sentence: "While they were waiting, he sang."

One warning for beginners in grammar: sometimes Adverbials can look like Objects. Indeed, one type of Complement is the Adverbial Complement, e.g. "it is in the book"; "it was on Tuesday"; "it is growing out of all proportion". Here the Adverbial completes the meaning of a copular verb.