How to Teach Adverbs to ESL Students

Written by cara batema Google
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How to Teach Adverbs to ESL Students
Use examples and visual aids to teach adverbs. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Learning English can be a difficult task because of the many exceptions that exist in the language. Teaching English can be an equally challenging activity because you have to explain the language in a way non-native speakers will understand. There are many types of adverbs to cover in your lesson, and adverbs often answer questions such as "how," "when" or "to what degree."

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Teach your students the definition of an adverb. An adverb modifies a verb, adjective, clause, sentence or another adverb. Many adverbs end with "-ly," so that word ending is an easy way to spot an adverb. Ask your students to come up with words that end with "-ly." Tell your students they can make adverbs by adding "-ly" to the end of an adjective. For example, "beautifully" and "carefully" are adverbs, made by adding "-ly" to the adjectives "beautiful" and "careful".

  2. 2

    Explain to your students that not all adverbs end with "-ly." In the sentence "He walked very carefully," the adverb "very" modifies "carefully" and tells how carefully he walked. Challenge your students to create new examples.

  3. 3

    Classify adverbs by their function. For example, adverbs of manner answer the question "how." Examples include "very," "quickly" and "well." Adverbs of place answer the question "where," such as "there," "anywhere" and "everywhere." Adverbs of time answer the question "when," and include words such as "recently," "now" and "often." "Too," "little" and "almost" are adverbs of degree and answer "how much."

  4. 4

    Explain that adverbs can happen anywhere in a sentence. They can be used at the beginning of a question, such as "Why did you go to the concert?" or the beginning of a sentence, such as "Today we are talking about adverbs." Adverbs can be used in the middle of a sentence and at the end of a sentence. Ask your students to write or speak sentences with adverbs placed in different positions.

  5. 5

    Use many examples. Hand out worksheets or ask students to work in pairs or groups. Encourage students to write and speak examples of adverbs. Ask students to circle or underline adverbs they see in text.

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