Categorising Adverbs – attitude and manner

Clarifying adverbs of attitude and adverbs of manner

Here’s a simple ESL lesson plan to help learners understand types of adverbs. We are going to focus on two categories: attitudinal and manner. 

Lesson plan step 1 –

Write two sentences on the board, one with an example of an adverb of manner, one with an attitudinal adverb:

  • The diver slowly trained the dolphins
  • The diver luckily trained the dolphins

Ask students to identify subject, verb object and the adverb of each sentence.

You can help them by asking questions:

Defining parts of a sentence

With these examples and the questions you have been asking, you have an opportunity to review the past tense at this point if you wish. However you can modify your example sentences to review any other vocabulary or grammar topic you have studied recently.


Lesson plan step 2

This youtube video explains adverbs clearly with examples in songs, if you have access to the internet it will break the lesson up nicely. Play it a couple of times and ask students how many adverbs they recall.

Lesson plan step 3

Moving back to your two sentences about the diver and the dolphins. Ask students to suggest replacements for the adverbs slowly and luckily. Make a list of  these adverbs you get as suggestions on the board.

Make sure you slip in a few adverbs of attitude and manner that you have already prepared – just in case your students don’t come up with many:

 Adverbs of manner and attitude examples:

Adverbs of manner and attitude list.

Lesson plan step 4

Think about meaning of the adverbs, with your students.

Ask learners to identify manner adverbs, which are about the way something was done, ask them how the diver trained the dolphins . In our example she trained them slowly. point this out to them. You can have your students come to the board and circle adverbs of manner in a different colour.

Next learners identify adverbs of attitude which clarify how the speaker or writer feels about a topic (not the subject of the verb).  ESL learner can put an * next to adverbs which represent attitude. If there is confusion ask if that is how the diver trained the dolphins or if it is how we feel about the situation. If it is how she trained it’s an adverb of manner.

Underline adverbs which are left over and represent a different category such as adverbs of frequency (regularly/never). There’s no need to mention the other categories, students can find lists online if they really want that.

Lesson plan step 5

Dua Lipa uses quite a few adverbs in her song New Rules, get students to write down adverbs they hear in their notebooks. They can then come up to the board and write them down classifying them with your circle star and underline system. You can fill finish the class by reviewing phrasal verbs based on the same song – use this warmer activity


Useful links:

Adverbs: types – English Grammar Today – Cambridge Dictionary


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