Grammar & Writing Lesson 1: Introductory Adverbs

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Did you know that all sentences must contain a subject and a verb? It's true!
Subjects tell us whom or what a sentence is about. (Mary walked.) Verbs show actions (Mary walked.) or states of being (Mary is a musician.). The most basic sentences, then, consist of just a few words. (Ben ran. The dogs barked. Mary is a musician.)
If you use too many of these basic sentences, your readers will get bored quickly and stop paying attention. That’s not what we want. We want to keep our readers’ interest, and one way to do that is to make our sentences more compelling.
Subjects and verbs are necessary parts of sentences, but they don't give our sentences much pizzazz.
In order to make our sentences more interesting, we need to add elements that describe the subjects and verbs, and we need to vary the order in which we present all of these elements.
These are the things we’ll be learning about in this challenge. Here we go!
Lesson – Introductory Adverbs
The example sentences above contain sentences with just two or three words.
Most of our sentences contain more words than that, but even when we write longer sentences, we typically start our sentences with the subject. (Mary is a wonderful musician. Ben ran the fastest. The dogs at my sister’s house bark whenever I visit.)
In today's lesson, we're focusing on beginning our sentences with a descriptive word, a word that tell us more about the sentence’s verb. This kind of word is called an adverb.
Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. However, for this exercise, we'll just be using adverbs that modify verbs.
Think of these adverbs as words that describe how (quickly, slowly, lazily), when (yesterday, annually, tomorrow), or where (everywhere, inside, upstairs) an action or state of being occurs.
Beginning some of your sentences with an adverb is a great way to add variety to your writing.
Adverbs that come at the beginning of a sentence are called introductory adverbs. Since they introduce the sentence, it’s easy to remember their name!
Reluctantly, I stepped outside to shovel the snow.
Later, after the kids were asleep, David and I watched a movie.
Lazily, the tired children climbed out of bed.




All of those introductory adverbs modify the verbs in the sentences.
Reluctantly modifies the verb stepped. Later modifies the verb watched. Lazily modifies the verb climbed.
Those example sentences have many words, but each sentence follows this pattern:
Adverb + Subject + Verb Can you think of any introductory adverbs that we could add to the following basic sentences?
A. _________________, Ben ran.
B. _______________, the dogs barked.
Your adverb in sentence A should tell how, when, or where Ben ran. Your adverb in sentence B, should tell how, when, or where the dogs barked. We often follow introductory adverbs with a comma.
A Note About Sentence Adverbs
Many times, we begin sentences with sentence adverbs. These adverbs don’t modify the verb or any other word within the sentence, but the sentence as a whole. They tell us more about the writer or speaker’s opinion about the sentence.
Frankly, I was pleased to leave.
Honestly, I’m not upset. Frankly and honestly sentence adverbs. Feel free to use sentence adverbs in your sentences as well! These kinds of adverbs require a comma after them.

Exercise – Introductory Adverb
You'll practice this skill by writing your own sentences with introductory adverbs. Your sentences can be as basic or as complicated as you’d like, just as long as they have an introductory adverb.
You'll probably find it helpful to look at a list of adverbs as you write your sentences. Here are some examples to get you started.


awkwardly, beautifully, carefully, gracefully, happily, lazily, recklessly, swiftly


daily, later, often, monthly, now, tomorrow, weekly, yesterday


downstairs, here, inside, nearby, outside, there, upstairs, underground




Directions Write at least three sentences containing an introductory adverb. Feel free to mirror the example sentences above if you're having trouble. If you can't think of anything to write about, see the painting below for inspiration. 1. ____________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 2. ____________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 3. ____________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________
If you can’t think of anything to write about, explain what you see in this painting, describe how it makes you feel, or share something that it reminds you of.
Modigliani, Amedeo. The Cellist. 1909.




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Grammar & Writing Lesson 1: Introductory Adverbs