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What are Fronted Adverbials?

Fronted adverbials, put simply, are the words or phrases at the beginning of the sentence to describe the action that follows;

As soon as she could, Tracey ran out to play. (time)

Occasionally, Mum would allow us to select a sweet in the shop. (frequency)

In the distance, he could see the train coming. (place)

As fast as he could, Jack ran home from school. (manner)

Completely exhausted, Holly clambered out of the pool. (degree)


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Top 10 fronted adverbial examples

What are fronted adverbials

Fronted Adverbials Explained

EdPlace Primary teacher, Ms. Alison explains: an adverb or adverbial can be used to modify a verb or sentence. They can both be used to give more detail on manner, time, place, frequency, degree, etc.

They can answer questions like when? Where? How? In what manner? To what extent?

A fronted adverbial simply puts this information first. They are words or phrases at the beginning of the sentence used to describe the action that follows. An easy way to remember this is that they add to the verb.


Fronted Adverbial Games

Children are often introduced to fronted adverbials in year 4. Using fronted adverbials can be a way to add interest to writing, to display more detail or to add depth. Sometimes a sentence will benefit from a fronted adverbial, but sometimes it won’t, which is why children are often given games to play with words and phrases to teach them what will work and what won’t. Here are a few examples;

Word Mats

Look for a fronted adverbial word mat online. Ask your child (or work with your child) to write ten simple sentences; ‘John ran for the bus,’ ‘Lisa walked to school,’ Jake flew over the clouds.’ Now ask your child if they can improve these sentences using a fronted adverbial from the word mat. Discuss different options, what works, what doesn’t? Why does it work? How does it enrich the sentence?

Identify fronted adverbials

Write some sentences with fronted adverbials. Can your child identify and underline which words make up the fronted adverbial? Discuss why you might need a comma. How does the fronted adverbial add to the sentence?


Write onto card ten sentences with fronted adverbials. Cut them up so that the fronted adverbial is separate to the rest of the sentence. Can your child match them up so that they make sense?

Spot the fronted adverbial

When reading a story with your child, see if they can spot any fronted adverbials as your read. Discuss why the author might have used them, what effect do they have?

Worksheets and Practice

EdPlace is here to help and support you and we have a number of worksheets aimed specifically at getting to grips with adverbs and adverbials.

Year 4 – Identify adverbs in sentences 1, 2 and 3.

Year 5 – Use modal verbs and adverbs to show degrees of possibility.

Year 7 – Revise your adverbs.


Further Learning

The BBC has a great video linking fronted adverbials to football;


They also have a clear explanation and activities for younger children;


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What are fronted adverbials

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