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Fronted Adverbials

Fronted Adverbials

Fronted adverbials are key pieces of grammar covered as a part of Key Stage 2 (KS2) within the national curriculum.

This article provides a definition of a fronted adverbial, explains the meaning of the phrase ‘fronted adverbial’ and offers many fronted adverbial examples to help support understanding.

What is a fronted adverbial?

A fronted adverbial is a word or phrase at the beginning of a sentence which usually gives more information about when, where or how something happens.

Fronted adverbials are usually, but not always, followed by a comma. For example:

Before the teacher arrived, the class was being very noisy.

The fronted adverbial in this sentence is 'Before the teacher arrived'. It tells the reader when the class was being noisy.

On the coach, the class was being very noisy.

In this example, the fronted adverbial 'On the coach' gives information about where the class was being noisy.

With great anticipation, the class was being very noisy.

Lastly, in this example, the fronted adverbial ‘With great anticipation’ gives information about how the class was being noisy.

Fronted adverbials are so-called because they are adverbials which occur at the beginning or front of a sentence before the verb or action, as in the examples above.

Primary school pupils need to learn about fronted adverbials from Year 4, although some may begin to include fronted adverbials in their writing from Year 3. Children are expected to continue identifying and using fronted adverbials in their writing throughout Year 5 and Year 6.

Fronted adverbials list

The table below provides some examples of fronted adverbials:

Fronted adverbial type When Where How
Examples Yesterday, Behind the door, Unexpectedly,
After breakfast, On a moonlit street, Without emotion,
Last Year, Below the surface, Utterly exhausted,
Before school, In a deserted corridor, With tremendous joy,
During the summer, At the top of the steep hill, With utter determination,
In January, Under the stairs, Extremely cautiously,
Next winter, In the distance, Confidently,
Eventually, At the back of the room, With great precision,
In the middle of the night, Somewhere nearby, Unfortunately,
Before long, Beneath the stormy sky, Mysteriously,
After a while, Through the thick fog, Nervously,

Examples of fronted adverbials in sentences

Below you will find several examples sentences featuring fronted adverbials:

Unusually, Mrs Smith arrived late for the lesson.

Beneath the murky water, the boat rested on the bottom of the lake.

Once in a while, James had an idea that could change everything.

With a shaking hand, Sacha opened the door.

At the top of the cliff, Raj could see a mysterious creature.

After the storm, the animals ventured out of their homes.

As quick as a flash, I completed my homework.

Key Points

  • Fronted adverbials explain when, where or how something happens.
  • Fronted adverbials are used at the beginning of sentences.
  • Fronted adverbials are usually followed by a comma.
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