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               Adverbs

Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.

          JouVon walked  quickly down the hall.

          His sister is extremely smart.

          He played  very well.


An adverb that describes a verb can come

before the verb, after the verb, or at the

beginning of the sentence.

        The mouse silently raced across the kitchen floor.

        The mouse raced silently across the kitchen floor.

        Silently, the mouse raced across the kitchen floor. 


An adverb that describes an adjective comes before the adjective.

        The couch is too big to fit through the door.

        Until Amelia bought an alarm clock, she was always late.


Prepositional phrasescan function as adverbs to modify a verbs.  An adverbial prepositional phrase can come after the verb; also, an adverbial prepositional phrase that is followed by a comma can before an independent clause; furthermore, an adverbial prepositional phrase that is surrounded by commas can come before the verb. 

       The giant man sang with a surprisingly gentle voice.

       With a surprisingly gentle voice, the giant man sang.

       The giant man, with a surprisingly gentle voice, sang.


If a sentence has a direct object, writers and speakers need to be careful about placing adverbial prepositional phrases correctly.  Typically, adverbial prepositional phrases that come after direct objects are misplaced modifiers.

       The giant man sang the song with a surprisingly gentle voice.

                               The prepositional phrase in the above sentence is a misplaced

                               modifier because it describes the song.  Obviously, this doesn't

                               make sense.

       With a surprisingly gentle voice, the giant man sang the song.

       The giant man, with a surprisingly gentle voice, sang the song.

                                These two sentences are clear.


If a sentence has more than one prepositional phrase, writers and speakers need to be careful to avoid misplaced modifiers. 

       The giant man sang for the audience with a surprisingly gentle voice.

                               The second  prepositional phrase in the above sentence is a

                               misplaced modifier because it describes the audience

                               Obviously, this doesn't make sense.

        With a surprisingly gentle voice, the giant man sang for the audience.

        For the audience, the giant man sang with a surprisingly gentle voice.

        The giant man, with a surprisingly gentle voice, sang for the audience.

                               These three sentences are clear.

         The giant man with a surprisingly gentle voice sang for the audience.

                                This sentence is also clear.  However, because there are no

                                commas, with a surprisingly gentle voice describes man rather

                                than how he sang.  In other words, with a surprisingly gentle

                                voice functions adjectivally rather than adverbially.