Mastering the Use of Adverbs of Time (with examples) in English
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Learning English can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to mastering the use of adverbs of time. These little words can make all the difference in conveying the correct meaning of a sentence. They can indicate when an action is happening, how often it occurs, and for how long. Getting these details right can make your English sound more natural and fluent. In this post, we will take a closer look at adverbs of time and how to use them correctly. We’ll cover some of the most common adverbs of time, their placement in a sentence, and how to use them with different tenses. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, mastering the use of adverbs of time will help you take your English to the next level.

What are adverbs of time?

Adverbs of time are used to describe the time an action occurred or how often an action is performed. They can be used to describe the past, present, or future. They help to give context and clarity to a sentence, making it easier to understand.
Examples of adverbs of time include “yesterday,” “today,” “tomorrow,” “now,” “later,” “soon,” “often,” “always,” “never,” and “sometimes.” These adverbs are used to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs in a sentence.
For instance, in the sentence “I will meet you tomorrow,” the adverb of time is “tomorrow,” which is used to describe when the action of the meeting will occur. In another sentence, “She always arrives early,” the adverb of time is “always,” which is used to describe how often the action of arriving early occurs.
Learning how and when to use adverbs of time is crucial in mastering the English language. Adverbs of time can help to enhance your writing and speaking skills, making it easier to communicate effectively with others.

Adverbs of Time List
Adverbs of Time List

Adverbs of Time List – A-Z Words

  • A – already, afterward, again, ago, ahead, all day, annually, anxiously, any longer, anytime, anyway,
  • B – before, behind, briefly, barely, beforehand, below, besides, beyond, briefly, by and by
  • C – constantly, currently, certainly, clearly, coincidentally, constantly, continually
  • D – daily, definitely, directly, during
  • E – earlier, early, easily, elsewhere, entirely, eventually, ever, exactly, exceedingly, exclusively
  • F – frequently, forever, formerly, further, fairly, finally, forward, forwardly, frequently, fully
  • G – generally, gradually, greatly
  • H – hardly, hence, hereafter, historically, hourly
  • I – immediately, initially, intermittently, instantly,
  • L – lately, later, long, never, next, now, last week, last year, long, longer
  • O – occasionally, often, once, only, originally, overnight
  • P – presently, previously, promptly, partly, probably, properly
  • R – rarely, recently, regularly, repeatedly, right now
  • S – scarcely, seldom, sometimes, soon, still, subsequently, suddenly
  • T – then, thereafter, today, tomorrow, tonight, twice
  • U – ultimately, usually, uncommonly, underneath, unfortunately
  • W – weekly, when, while, yesterday, yet

Why are adverbs of time important?

Adverbs of time play a crucial role in the English language. They are used to indicate the time or frequency of an action, which helps to provide clarity and context in communication. Without adverbs of time, sentences can become confusing, ambiguous, or even meaningless.

For example, consider the following sentence: “He went to the gym.” This sentence lacks context and does not indicate when he went to the gym. However, by adding an adverb of time, we can provide clarity: “He went to the gym yesterday.”
Adverbs of time also help to establish the sequence of events, which is particularly useful when telling stories or describing past events. For instance, “First, I woke up. Then, I brushed my teeth. After that, I had breakfast.” In this example, “first,” “then,” and “after that” help to convey the order of events and create a clear narrative.
In addition, adverbs of time are essential in scheduling and planning. Whether it is a business meeting, a doctor’s appointment, or a social event, specifying the time is crucial to ensure that everyone is on the same page and arrives at the right time. Briefly, adverbs of time are crucial components of communication, helping to provide clarity, context, sequence, and organization.

Types of adverbs of time

Adverbs of time are an essential part of the English language, and they help to convey the timing of an action or event. There are several types of adverbs of time, each with its unique function and usage.

  1. Firstly, we have adverbs that express a specific point in time, such as “yesterday,” “today,” or “tomorrow.” These adverbs are used to indicate when an action or event occurred or will occur.
  2. Secondly, some adverbs express a duration of time, such as “always,” “often,” or “occasionally.” These adverbs are used to indicate how frequently an action or event occurs.
  3. Next, we have adverbs that express the frequency of an action or event, such as “once,” “twice,” or “thrice.” These adverbs are used to indicate how many times an action or event occurs.
  4. In addition to these types of adverbs, we also have adverbs that express the order of events, such as “first,” “second,” or “finally.” These adverbs are used to indicate the sequence of events.
  5. Finally, some adverbs express a relative time, such as “early,” “late,” or “soon.” These adverbs are used to indicate when an action or event will occur in relation to another event or a specific time.

In conclusion, mastering the use of adverbs of time is crucial for effective communication in English. Understanding the different types of adverbs and their usage can help to convey the timing of an action or event accurately.

Using adverbs of time to show duration

Adverbs of time are an essential part of English grammar, and they are used to show when an action occurs. However, they can also be used to indicate the duration of action. For example, words such as “for,” “since,” “until,” and “by” are used to indicate the length of time that an action lasts.

For example, take the sentence:

“I have been studying for three hours.”

The adverb “for” is used to indicate the duration of the action, which is studying.

Similarly, the sentence:

“She has been working since morning”

It uses the adverb “since” to show the length of time that the action, which is working, has been going on.

Examples of sentences using adverbs of time to show duration

  1. I have been studying for three hours straight.
  2. She waited patiently for half an hour for her friend to arrive.
  3. We have been living in this city for five years now.
  4. He finished his work quickly and efficiently in just two hours.
  5. They traveled to Europe for a month during the summer.
  6. The concert lasted for two hours and everyone had a great time.
  7. She practiced her piano skills diligently for several hours every day.
  8. They stayed up all night to finish their project before the deadline.
  9. The movie was so long that they had to take a break halfway through.
  10. We have been friends for a decade and our bond is stronger than ever.

Using adverbs of time to show duration is particularly useful when you want to indicate how long a particular action or event lasted. Additionally, it can help you to express the duration of action in a more precise manner. It is important to note that these adverbs are usually placed at the beginning or end of a sentence, but they can also be placed in the middle depending on the context of the sentence.

In short, adverbs of time are an important part of English grammar, and using them to show duration can add clarity and precision to your writing or speaking. By mastering the use of adverbs of time, you can become a more effective communicator in English.

How to use adverbs of time to show frequency

Adverbs of time are a crucial part of English grammar and can be used to showcase frequency. These adverbs help to provide clarity and structure to your writing, especially when it comes to describing how often an action takes place.
Some common adverbs of time that can be used to show frequency include “always,” “usually,” “often,” “sometimes,” “rarely,” and “never.” These adverbs can be used to describe actions that occur frequently, occasionally, or hardly ever.

Examples of using adverbs of time to show frequency

  1. I always go for a run in the morning.
  2. She usually eats breakfast before work.
  3. I often listen to music while I work.
  4. Sometimes it rains all day.
  5. I rarely watch television.
  6. He never eats fast food.
  7. I go to the gym every day to work out.
  8. She visits her grandparents weekly to spend time with them.
  9. We have team meetings biweekly to discuss our progress.
  10. He enjoys eating out occasionally with friends.
  11. They travel abroad annually to explore new cultures and places.
  12. She practices meditation daily to stay focused and calm.
  13. They attend concerts frequently to enjoy live music.
  14. He checks his emails constantly throughout the day.
  15. We have family gatherings monthly to catch up with each other.
  16. She volunteers at the animal shelter regularly to help the animals in need.

Using these adverbs of time can help to convey the regularity of action and set expectations for the reader. It’s important to choose the appropriate adverb that accurately reflects the frequency of the action being described. Overusing adverbs of time or using them incorrectly can detract from the overall flow and readability of your writing. With practice and attention to detail, mastering the use of adverbs of time can greatly enhance your English writing skills.

Using adverbs of time to indicate when something happened

Adverbs of time are crucial when we want to explain when something happened. They help us to make sense of a story and to give context to our conversations. Using adverbs of time can help you to express yourself more accurately, and can help you to avoid misunderstandings.
Some examples include “yesterday”, “today”, “tomorrow”, “now”, “later”, “before”, “after”, and “soon”. These adverbs can be used to indicate specific points in time or to give a general sense of when something happened.

For example, if you say “I went to the store yesterday”, you are using the adverb “yesterday” to indicate a specific point in time. If you say “I am going to the store later”, you are using the adverb “later” to indicate a general sense of when something will happen.
Using adverbs of time correctly can be tricky, especially if you are not a native English speaker. However, with practice and patience, you can master the use of adverbs of time and improve your English communication skills.

Examples of Using adverbs of time to indicate when something happened

  1. We met yesterday at the coffee shop for a quick chat.
  2. She will arrive tomorrow morning for the job interview.
  3. They went on vacation last month to Hawaii.
  4. He finished his project last week and submitted it on time.
  5. We had a party last night and it was a lot of fun.
  6. She started her new job last Monday and has been loving it.
  7. They moved to their new house last year in December.
  8. He graduated from college two years ago and has been working since then.
  9. We watched the movie earlier today and it was really entertaining.
  10. She received the award last night at the ceremony for her exceptional work.

How to use adverbs of time to show a sequence of events

When it comes to mastering the use of adverbs of time, it’s important to understand how they can be used to show a sequence of events. Adverbs of time such as “first”, “then”, “next”, “afterward”, “finally”, and “eventually” can all be used to show the order in which things happen.
For example, consider the following sentence:
“First, I woke up. Then, I had breakfast. Next, I got dressed. Afterward, I left for work.”
In this sentence, the adverbs of time “first”, “then”, “next”, and “afterward” are used to show the sequence of events that occurred in the morning before leaving for work.
Another example could be:
“I studied for my exam all night. Eventually, I fell asleep with my notes in my hands.”
In this sentence, the adverb of time “eventually” is used to show that falling asleep was the final event in the sequence of studying for the exam.
Using adverbs of time to show a sequence of events can make your writing more organized and easier to follow. It’s a useful technique to master to communicate the order in which things happen.

Examples of adverbs of time to show a sequence of events

  1. First, we woke up early and went for a morning jog.
  2. Then, we had breakfast at the local diner and ordered pancakes.
  3. After that, we visited the museum and learned about the history of the town.
  4. Next, we went shopping at the mall and bought some new clothes.
  5. Later, we went to the park and played frisbee with our friends.
  6. Afterward, we watched a movie at the cinema and ate popcorn.
  7. Following that, we went to the restaurant for dinner and ordered pizza.
  8. Soon after, we went back home and watched TV until midnight.
  9. Subsequently, we went to bed and fell asleep immediately.
  10. Finally, we woke up the next day feeling refreshed and energized.

Using adverbs of time to express punctuality

If you want to express punctuality in your English sentences, adverbs of time can be incredibly useful. Adverbs of time help you indicate when something happened, how long it lasted, or when it will happen in the future. These adverbs are invaluable when discussing meetings, appointments, deadlines, and other time-sensitive events.

Some common adverbs of time that can help you express punctuality include “early,” “late,” “on time,” “promptly,” “quickly,” and “immediately.” For instance, you can say “I arrived early for the meeting” to express that you were punctual and arrived before the scheduled time.

Similarly, if you want to indicate that you will arrive at a specific time, you can use adverbs like “exactly,” “precisely,” or “sharp.” For example, “I will meet you at the restaurant at 7 o’clock sharp” indicates that you will be punctual and arrive at the exact time stated.

In summary, by using adverbs of time in your English sentences, you can express punctuality with precision and clarity. Whether you’re writing an email, giving a presentation, or having a conversation, mastering the use of adverbs of time is essential for effectively communicating your punctuality.

Examples of adverbs of time to express punctuality

  1. He arrived early for the meeting and had time to review the agenda.
  2. She always arrives on time for her appointments and never keeps anyone waiting.
  3. They showed up right on schedule for the party and helped with the preparations.
  4. He finished his work before the deadline and submitted it ahead of time.
  5. She left the house in a hurry and arrived just in time for the train.
  6. They started the project promptly at 9 AM and finished it on time.
  7. He woke up early to catch the sunrise and was never late for anything.
  8. She set her alarm clock for 6 AM every day and never missed her morning workout.
  9. They attended the conference early and secured the best seats in the house.
  10. He was known for his punctuality and always arrived exactly on time, no matter what.
  11. He was running late for the interview but managed to reach there just in time.
  12. She was a few minutes early for the doctor’s appointment and had to wait in the lobby.
  13. They were delayed due to traffic and arrived at the office later than expected.
  14. He left home late but made up for the lost time by driving fast and arriving on time.
  15. She set her to watch five minutes ahead to ensure that she is always punctual.
  16. They scheduled the meeting for 10 am sharp and everyone was expected to be on time.
  17. He missed the train due to his delay and had to wait for the next one.

How to combine adverbs with other time expressions

When it comes to mastering the use of adverbs of time in English, it’s important to know how to combine them with other time expressions. Doing this will enable you to create more complex and nuanced sentences that accurately convey time-related information.
One way to combine adverbs of time with other time expressions is to use them in conjunction with prepositions. For example, you might say “I’ll be finished with this project by next Friday” or “We need to have the report done before our meeting tomorrow morning.” In both of these examples, the adverb of time (“next Friday” and “tomorrow morning”) is combined with a preposition (“by” and “before,” respectively) to create a more specific time frame.
Another way to combine adverbs of time with other time expressions is to use them in adverbial phrases. For instance, you might say “I’ve been studying English for three years now” or “We’ll be on vacation for the entire month of August.” In these cases, the adverb of time (“for three years” and “for the entire month of August”) is used in an adverbial phrase that provides additional context and specificity.


Finally, it’s worth noting that adverbs of time can also be used to modify other adverbs or adverbial phrases. For example, you might say “I’ll be there shortly” or “We’ll be arriving early in the morning.” In these cases, the adverb of time (“shortly” and “early in the morning”) modifies another adverb or adverbial phrase to provide more information about when something will happen. By mastering the art of combining adverbs of time with other time expressions, you can become a more confident and effective communicator in English.

Exercise of adverbs of time to locate different time expressions

  1. She will return from her trip next Monday after spending two weeks abroad.
  2. They have been working on the project since last month and will finish it next week.
  3. We usually have dinner at 7 pm every day, except on weekends when we eat out.
  4. He has been studying for the exam for three hours already and plans to take a break in an hour.
  5. They visit their grandparents twice a month, once on the first Sunday and again on the last.
  6. She wakes up early every morning at 6 am to go for a run before work.
  7. We took a break from work for an hour at noon and had lunch at the nearby restaurant.
  8. He has been waiting for his friend for half an hour and is starting to get impatient.
  9. They have been planning the trip for weeks and will finally leave next Friday.
  10. She usually reads for an hour before bedtime, but yesterday she stayed up late to finish her book.
  11. I will finish this task in a week, as I have allocated two hours every day for it.
  12. She has been living in New York for the past six months and plans to stay there for a year at least.
  13. We will have a party on Saturday night and celebrate the completion of our project.
  14. He wakes up every morning at 6 am sharp and goes for a run before starting his day.
  15. They visited their grandparents during the summer holidays and spent a week with them.
  16. She has been taking piano lessons for the past three years and has become quite skilled.
  17. We are planning a trip to Europe next year in June and have already started saving up for it.
  18. He finishes his work by 5 pm every day and has the rest of the evening to relax.
  19. They have been married for 10 years now and are planning a big anniversary celebration next month.
  20. She has to submit her thesis by the end of this month and has been working on it tirelessly for the past few weeks.

Common mistakes to avoid

  • When using adverbs of time in English, it is important to avoid common mistakes to effectively convey the intended meaning. One common mistake is using the wrong preposition with adverbs of time.
  • For example, saying “I will be back after an hour” instead of “I will be back in an hour”.

  • Another mistake is using an adverb of time that does not match the verb tense or context.
  • For instance, saying “I have breakfast yesterday” instead of “I had breakfast yesterday”.

  • It is also important to avoid using adverbs of time that are not appropriate for the specific time frame or situation.
  • For example, saying “I will see you tomorrow 10 PM” instead of “I will see you tomorrow at 10 PM”.

  • Additionally, it is important to avoid using adverbs of time redundantly.
  • For instance, saying “I will see you Monday at 9 AM” instead of “I will see you on Monday at 9 AM”.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can effectively use adverbs of time in English and improve your language skills.

Examples of mistakes to avoid when using adverbs of time

  1. Using the wrong tense: Make sure to use the correct tense when using adverbs of time. For example, if you are talking about a past event, use a past tense verb with an adverb of time that indicates the past.
  • Incorrect: I will see him yesterday.
  • Correct: I saw him yesterday.
  1. Overusing adverbs of time: While adverbs of time can help provide context and clarity to a sentence, overusing them can make the writing sound clunky and repetitive. Use adverbs of time sparingly, and only when they add value to the sentence.
  • Incorrect: I woke up this morning, then I went to work in the morning, and then I had lunch at noon. Correct: I woke up this morning and went to work. I had lunch at noon.
  1. Using imprecise adverbs of time: Make sure to use adverbs of time that are precise and specific, and that accurately convey the intended meaning.
  • Incorrect: I will be there in a while.
  • Correct: I will be there in 10 minutes.
  1. Not using adverbs of time when necessary: Adverbs of time can help clarify when an event occurred or when something will happen. Make sure to use them when necessary to avoid confusion.
  • Incorrect: She finished her work and went home.
  • Correct: She finished her work and went home at 5 pm.
  1. Placing the adverb of time in the wrong position: Make sure to place the adverb of time in the correct position in the sentence. Generally, adverbs of time come at the beginning or end of the sentence, or before the verb they modify.
  • Incorrect: I often go to the gym not.
  • Correct: I often do not go to the gym.

We hope you found this article helpful in mastering the use of adverbs of time in English. As we’ve seen, timing is everything when it comes to using these adverbs correctly. They can completely change the meaning of a sentence and help you communicate more effectively. Practice using these adverbs in your writing and speaking, and you’ll soon find yourself using them naturally and with confidence. Thank you for reading, and happy language learning!


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What are adverbs of time?

Adverbs of time are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs to indicate when an action occurs. These words indicate a specific time, duration, or frequency.

What are some common examples of adverbs of time?

Some common examples of adverbs of time include “today,” “now,” “soon,” “later,” and “yesterday.”

How do adverbs of time affect the meaning of a sentence?

Adverbs of time provide important information about the timing of an action or event. They can indicate when an action occurred when it will occur, or how long it lasted.

How should adverbs of time be placed in a sentence?

Adverbs of time are typically placed at the beginning or end of a sentence, but can also be placed in the middle. The placement of the adverb depends on the emphasis the speaker wants to give to the timing of the action.

What is the difference between “yesterday” and “the day before yesterday”?

“Yesterday” refers to the day immediately preceding today, while “the day before yesterday” refers to two days ago.

Can adverbs of time be used to modify adjectives?

Yes, adverbs of time can be used to modify adjectives to indicate when an adjective applies to a particular noun. For example, “The happy couple got married yesterday.”

What is the opposite of “now”?

The opposite of “now” is “later.”

How can adverbs of time be used to express urgency or importance?

Adverbs of time can be used to express urgency or importance by indicating a specific deadline or time frame for an action. For example, “The report must be completed by tomorrow” indicates an urgent deadline.

Can adverbs of time be used with the present perfect tense?

Yes, adverbs of time can be used with the present perfect tense to indicate when an action occurred in relation to the present moment. For example, “I have seen that movie twice this week.”

Are adverbs of time the same in all languages?

No, adverbs of time can vary from language to language. While many languages have similar adverbs of time such as “today,” “tomorrow,” and “yesterday,” other languages may have unique adverbs or different ways of indicating time.

By Waqas Sharif

Mr. Waqas Sharif is an English Language Teaching (ELT) Professional, Trainer, and Course Instructor at a Public Sector Institute. He has more than ten years of Eng Language Teaching experience at the Graduate and Postgraduate level. His main interest is found in facilitating his students globally He wishes them to develop academic skills like Reading, Writing, and Communication mastery along with Basics of Functional Grammar, English Language, and Linguistics.

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