Published 25th August 2017


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Even as teachers who teach English as a Foreign Language, sometimes there are grammatical structures which we are not very familiar with – conditionals, the present perfect and adverbials, to name a few. This is not surprising considering that not many English-medium schools offer comprehensive grammar instruction for native speakers, and this is why a TEFL course is essential to brush up on our grammar. For those times when we are not really sure what we are dealing with, we need to do some research and remind ourselves of the fundamental rules of the structure before we need to teach it to our learners.

Adverbials are those things that you probably know but just don’t know their name. Just like adjectives give information about nouns, adverbs give information about verbs. There are many different kinds of adverbs which we use in different situations.

Adverbials of time

Adverbials of time tell us when or how often something happens:

I usually drink coffee in the morning.

I’m going out at 3 o’clock.

Adverbials of place

Adverbials of place tell us where something happens.

On Fridays I usually work at home.

We’re meeting there.

Adverbials of manner

Adverbials of manner tell us how something happens or how something is done.

My grandfather eats noisily.

I’ll get it to you as soon as possible.

Adverbials of probability

Adverbials of probability tell us how likely we think something is.

He might be at home.

It’ll probably rain tomorrow.

Adverbials are not complex in their grammar but they are useful for learners to be aware of in order to make their language more descriptive. So activities which promote their usage will help widen your learners’ range of language.

One activity is a mime game. A student is given a piece of paper with an action and an adverb of manner on it – eat spaghetti noisily. He or she must act out the action and the other learners must guess what they are doing and how.

Or the teacher can tell a story, which the learners must make more interesting by adding in appropriate adverbials. The teacher first prompts or produces a range of adverbials and boards them so everyone can see them. Then the teacher tells a story without any adverbials. The teacher tells the story again, pausing where appropriate and learners can shout out appropriate adverbials to complete the sentences. Finally, the learners can come up with their own stories which their partners must complete.

Both of these activities will help your learners familiarise themselves with different adverbials and become more comfortable using them.