Adverbs of Place in English

Do you know The Beatles’ song “Here There and Everywhere”? That song is a great example of adverbs of place. Think about all the words we use to describe where things are around us. Whether someone says, “come here” to you, if you’re looking around the neighborhood, or if you’ve searched everywhere for something, you’re using an adverb of place.

To help break it down (make it understandable) for you this week, we want to help you figure out adverbs of place…here, there, and everywhere!

Adverbs of Place — Here & There

Adverbs of place show where the action happens in a sentence. Whether that’s heretherearoundeverywhereinonawaynearby, or outside, an adverb of place is usually placed after the main verb in a sentence or after the clause that it modifies. Adverbs of place cannot modify (define better/clearer) another adverb or an adjective.

Here and there are two common adverbs of place. They usually show movement in a sentence. For example, here means “towards or with the speaker,” and there means “away from the speaker, or not with them” and shows distance from the speaker.

Here are some common examples with here and there:

  • Come here! (Come towards me.)
  • Can you put that over there? (Can you put it away from me?)
  • The cat is in here. (The cat is in the same area as me.)
  • The cat is in there. (The cat is not in the same place as me.)

Adverbs of Place — Prepositions

Many adverbs of place are used as prepositions (as if prepositions weren’t confusing enough.) When adverbs of place are used as a preposition, they have to be followed by a noun.

The unfortunate thing about prepositions and adverbs of place acting as prepositions is that they need to be memorized (learned, put to memory). There’s no rhyme or reason (good rule or normal circumstance) as to why you use one preposition over another, so memorization is key. Prepositions don’t translate one-to-one between languages, so what may work in one language may not work in another.

However, the good thing about prepositions is that there are usually “fixed phrases,” meaning that there are certain phrases with these prepositions that are used again and again, making memorization that much easier.

There are a few adverbs of place used as prepositions: around, behind, down, in, off, on, over.

Here are some examples of how an adverb of place is used, versus when it’s used as a preposition:

Adverb of Place

  • The marble rolled around the floor.
  • You’re falling behind in math. You need to catch up!
  • He tripped and fell down on the sidewalk.
  • We just thought we would drop in.
  • They need to get off the bus.
  • He rode on further.
  • rolled over and went back to sleep after you woke me up.

Used as a preposition

  • The bracelet is around her wrist.
  • The kids are out playing behind the house.
  • We climbed down the mountain on Sunday.
  • Can you put this in the box, please?
  • The small boy jumped off the diving board.
  • He put the new books on the bookshelf.
  • She hung the painting over the sofa.

Adverbs of place are important when speaking English, but don’t be too intimidated by (scared of, nervous about) them. They’re really just in place to help people orient (navigate, situate) themselves in space and to know where things are.

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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and knows that with some simple memorization, you’ll have no trouble with these adverbs of place! Good luck! 

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