Adverbs of Time – Concept, function and examples in sentences

We explain what adverbs of time are, their function, examples and their use in sentences. Also, other types of adverbs.

time adverb
Adverbs of time can be relative or indicate a historical context.

What is an adverb of time?

The adverbs of time are one of the different types of adverbs that the English language offers, that is, of words that fulfill a modifying function of other words, in this case of verbs, adjectives or other adverbs, and even of sentences whole. Its name comes from the Latin word adverbium, made up of the words ad- (“Towards”) and verbum (“verb”).

In general, adverbs are pieces of the language that do not change their form and that have their own lexical meaning, linked to a certain circumstance such as a place, a way of doing things, or in the specific case at hand, a determined time or a historical, chronological relationship, within the sentence. That is why we refer to adverbs of time.

In this way, adverbs of time indicate the specific time an event takes place, with respect to others, or ourselves, or we refer to a specific historical context that we wish to allude to.

In addition, together with the adverbs of place, mode and quantity (or degree), they serve to express a concrete relationship with the real, while other types of adverbs such as those of doubt, order or exclamation have more to do with a subjective reality (mental) of who uses them.

Examples of adverbs of time

Some examples of adverbs of time are the following: before, later, after, soon, still, still, already, yesterday, today, tomorrow, the day before yesterday, always, never, hardly, soon, last night, right away, now, while, previously, formerly, yesteryear, when, the night before last, recently, recently, and so on.

Sentences with adverbs of time

As an example of use, here are some sentences with highlighted time adverbs:

  • I will try to reach them immediately, but I will pass by later.
  • My soccer team recently won a match against a team we previously used to lose.
  • Are you going out already? It’s still early.
  • Yesterday we went to that place we have used to dream of yesteryear.
  • Today I’ll quit smoking.
  • That’s what you said the day before yesterday.
  • I will clear the table while you prepare the car.

Other types of adverb

In addition to adverbs of time, there are other adverbial categories, such as:

  • Adverbs of place. As their name says, they express a spatial relationship in the sentence, that is, they indicate where a referent is located. For example: there, here, there, outside, up, down, inside, between, etc.
  • Adverbs of manner. They are those that describe a specific way in which things happen or in which certain actions are carried out. For example: fast, good, bad, better, quick, regularly, etc.
  • Adverbs of quantity. They are those that express a proportion in which things occur, that is, a degree in which something happens. For example: little, a lot, a lot, more, less, etc.
  • Adverbs of order. They are those that express a chronological or continuity relationship, that is, of order between the referred references. For example: first, then, after, etc.
  • Adverbs of doubt. In this case, they express a certain degree of uncertainty of the speaker regarding what was said or something that could happen. For example: surely, perhaps, perhaps, probably, etc.
  • Affirmative and negative adverbs. As their name indicates, they serve to affirm or deny situations, that is, to express a certain degree of conformity with what has been said. For example: yes, no, certainly, exact, never, never, etc.
  • Interrogative and exclamatory adverbs. Those that allow the introduction of interrogative or exclamatory sentences, respectively, and which are therefore often accentuated. For example: where, when, how, what, who, etc.