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11+ & KS2 English: What are fronted adverbials?

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What are adverbials?

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An adverbial is a word or phrase that gives more information about a verb, adjective, adverb or clause.

Adverbials are also known as ‘adverbial phrases’ or just ‘adverb phrases’.

Adverbials can tell us about time, manner, place or number, and can answer questions such as these:


At midday, Jules likes to go to the supermarket.

‘At midday’ is an adverbial that tells us when Jules likes to go to the supermarket.


Grandma always sings loudly.

‘Loudly’ is an adverbial that describes how Grandma sings.


Rishi feels tired because he stayed up all night.

‘Because he stayed up all night’ is an adverbial that describes why Rishi is tired.

Adverbials can also answers questions like:

How often?

How long?

How much?


What are fronted adverbials?

Adverbials can appear at different places in a sentence.

When they appear at the start of a sentence, they are referred to as fronted adverbials.

A comma is usually added after a fronted adverbial.

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For Example

watering plants

Before sunset, I went for a long run.

Three times a week, I water the plants.

In sentences, we can use fronted adverbials of time, frequency, place, manner and possibility.

Why are fronted adverbials useful?

Ordering events

Fronted adverbials are often used to show the order that events happen in.

E.g. As soon as I wake up, I take the dog for a walk. Next, I check my emails.

These are fronted adverbials of time.

Linking ideas

Fronted adverbials are also useful to link ideas within a paragraph or between paragraphs.

In contrast

Jermaine has travelled around most of Europe. In contrast, Petra has only visited two countries.

‘In contrast’ is a fronted adverbial that is useful here to compare Petra and Jermaine’s experiences.


On the other hand

I want to buy a new bike. On the other hand, I need to save up for a new pair of shoes.

‘On the other hand’ is a fronted adverbial that compares the two ideas in the paragraph.

Firstly, secondly...

modern art

Why do I love art? Firstly, I enjoy discovering new styles and artists. Secondly, I find visiting art galleries relaxing.

‘Firstly’ and ‘secondly’ are fronted adverbials that help to organise the reasons given for enjoying art.

As a result

Jeremy owns a large zoo. As a result, he is extremely knowledgable about animals.

‘As a result’ is a fronted adverbial that helps to link the idea about Jeremy’s knowledge of animals to the reason why; he owns a zoo!

Fronted adverbials of time - examples

  • Immediately,
  • Now,
  • In March,
  • In the afternoon,
  • As soon as he could,
  • In the blink of an eye,
  • Finally,
  • Afterwards,

Fronted adverbials of frequency - examples

  • Rarely,
  • Once,
  • Daily,
  • Eventually,
  • Regularly,
Present Left

Fronted adverbials of place - examples

  • Nearby,
  • Under the stairs,
  • At the bottom of the sea,
  • Around the corner,
  • Far away,

Fronted adverbials of manner - examples

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  • Happily,
  • Silently,
  • Courageously,
  • Nervously,
  • Unexpectedly,

Fronted adverbials in the 11+ exams

Questions on fronted adverbials and adverbials can come up in 11+ English exams.

It is also important for students to use fronted adverbials in creative writing tasks, to gain marks and stand out from the crowd.

Try our expert 11+ English practice papers for excellent preparation!

Examberry Papers 11 plus english practice papers pack 4 download cover image

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