Adverbs of Place: Definition with Useful List and Examples

Last Updated on November 13, 2023

There are many adverbs of place in English, such as above and ahead, behind and beneath, downstairs and downtown, for example. Many of them look quite similar to each other, which can be misleading. Besides, other adverbs can also be used as prepositions, such as around or behind, making it even more complicated. Today we show you how to use these adverbs, and we propose some examples and a list of the most used.

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of PlacePin

What Are Adverbs of Place?

The adverbs of place serve to name the area or space in which the actions or events occur. They are generally used to answer the “Where” question.

There is a wide range of adverbs of place, including adverbs of direction, movement, and location. Directional adverbs like “up” and “south” signify a particular course, while adverbs of movement such as “upwards” and “forwards” indicate a direction of motion. Lastly, adverbs of location like “outside” and “behind” describe the position of an object relative to another.

They are usually placed after the principal verb or before the proposition that they modify in the sentence:

  • He looked around, but he couldn’t find his keys.
  • You’re going back to church.
  • Please stay here and I will come back soon.
  • Just head North and you’ll see a post office near the river. 
  • Mom, I want to play outside! 
  • The car is moving backward. 
  • The milk was splattered everywhere. 

Types of Adverbs of Place

Although the list of adverbs of place is somewhat extensive, it is essential that you know some:

Here/There

They are used a lot and serve to indicate the position of something concerning the speaker.

  • My book is here.
  • Put it there. Ponlo allí.

Ending in –where

These adverbs are used to talk about the position of something without precisely specifying what that position is. The most common are: somewhere, anywhere, everywhere, and nowhere.

  • Is there anywhere to park?
  • She had nowhere to go.

Ending in –ward/wards

These adverbs are used to express movement towards a specific direction:

  • He took a step backward.
  • We climbed upward for over two hours.

Functioning as adverbs and prepositions

You must be careful to know how to differentiate some adverbs that can also function as prepositions in English. Let’s see some examples below. Each word is used as an adverb in the first sentence, and preposition in the second sentence. 

  • Around: I will look around and tell you if he’s here. vs. I will travel around the world when I retire.
  • Outside: I need to eat outside more often vs. Please leave the shoes outside the box
  • Behind: Peter is falling behind vs. The box is behind the door.

To differentiate them, you must know if they are modifying the action or accompanying a noun. For example:

  • I will travel around the world when I retire.

In this sentence, around accompanies the noun “world.” This means that “around” in this case is a preposition.

Most Common Adverbs of Place

In addition to the adverbs that we have already seen, the following are also widely used:

  • Aside: I took her aside and gave her the gift.
  • Abroad: I have been living abroad for 2 years.
  • Away: Please go away and let him rest.
  • Ahead: You go ahead and buy the tickets.
  • Far: Your house is far from school?
  • Back: They are not coming back home this Christmas.
  • Indoors: It’s going to rain. Let’s go indoors.
  • Close: Keep your kids close to you to prevent accidents.
  • Downstairs: I ran downstairs to hug him.
  • Upstairs: Mary is upstairs taking a nap.
  • Nearby: You live nearby me.
  • Outdoors: The weather is ideal for being outdoors all day.
  • In front of: The bus stopped right in front of us.
  • Beyond: I will love you beyond death.
  • Under: Michael hid the letter under his pillow.
  • Over here: There is a lot of waste over here.
  • Up: I will go up and put the flag.
  • Homeward: He was homeward when they met.
  • Everywhere: Her pet goes with her everywhere.
  • Forward: Please, move your car forward.

Adverbs of Place vs. Prepositions

Adverbs of place are words that describe the location or direction of the action in a sentence. They typically answer the question of where the action is taking place. Examples include words like inoutupdownherethere, and away.

Prepositions, on the other hand, are words that show relationships between nouns or pronouns and other words in a sentence. They often indicate the location, direction, or time of an event or action. Common prepositions include inonatwithby, and about. It’s important to note that some words can function as both adverbs of place and prepositions.

The primary difference between adverbs of place and prepositions lies in their function within a sentence. Adverbs of place modify verbs, providing information on how the action is done, while prepositions act as connectors, linking nouns or pronouns with other words in the sentence. Let’s examine the following examples:

  • Adverb of place: She walks up the stairs.
  • Preposition: She climbs the stairs with a suitcase.

In the first example, up is an adverb of place that describes the direction of the action (walking). In the second example, with is a preposition that connects the action of climbing with the circumstance (carrying a suitcase).

When determining whether a word is functioning as an adverb of place or a preposition, pay attention to its position in the sentence and the role it plays. Adverbs of place usually appear after the verb, while prepositions come before a noun or pronoun. Remember, some words can have dual functions as both adverbs of place and prepositions depending on their position and function in the sentence.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are common examples of adverbs of place?

Adverbs of place provide information about the location of an action or event. Common examples include “here,” “there,” “above,” “below,” “inside,” “outside,” “nearby,” “far,” and “away.” They can also indicate movement in a particular direction, such as “forward,” “backward,” “eastward,” and “westward.”

How do adverbs of place and prepositions differ?

Adverbs of place describe the location or direction of an action, while prepositions show the relationship between nouns or pronouns and other words in a sentence. Although some words, like “in” or “around,” can function as both adverbs of place and prepositions, their usage differs depending on the context.

What is the proper way to use adverbs of place in a sentence?

Adverbs of place typically follow the verb or main clause they modify. For example, “She lives nearby,” or “He walked upstairs.” However, they can also appear at the beginning of a sentence to provide emphasis, as in “Above the table, a chandelier sparkled.”

Can you provide tips on identifying adverbs of place in context?

To identify adverbs of place in a sentence, look for words that provide information about the location or direction of an action. Check if the word follows a verb or main clause and determines where the action takes place. Keep in mind that some words can function as both adverbs of place and prepositions, so consider the context and the role the word plays in the sentence.

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