Interrogative Adverbs

Interrogative Adverbs :

The Kinds of Adverbs

Adverbs are subdivided into three distinct classes.

1. Simple Adverbs
2. Interrogative Adverbs
3. Relative Adverbs

Simple Adverbs :

These can be distinguished from one another according to their meaning.

(a) Time :

1. He did this before and you have done it since.
2. He will soon arrive.
3. He was taken ill yesterday.
4. He has already come some time ago.

The chief Adverbs of this class are :

Now, then, before, since, ago, already, soon, presently, immediately, instantly, early, late, afterwards, yesterday, today, tomorrow.

(b) Place :

1. We must rest here and not there.
2. He is going out of Chennai.
3. The ball is above the rack.
4. The city is far from here.

The chief Adverbs of this class are :

Here, there
hence, thence
hither, thither
in, out
within, without
above, below
inside, outside
far, near

(c) Number :

1. He seldom failed and always did his best.
2. He did this once, but he will not do it again.
3. He has tried twice already.
4. He often failed.

The chief Adverbs of this class are :

Once, twice, thrice, again, seldom, never, sometimes, always, often, firstly, secondly, thirdly, etc….

(d) Manner, Quality or State :

1. He acted thus.
2. He behaved foolishly.
3. He did his work slowly but surely.
4. He certainly wanted to try again.

The chief Adverbs of this class are :

Thus, so, well, ill, amiss, badly, probably, certainly, conveniently, etc….

(e) Quantity, Extent or Degree :

1. He is clever enough for me.
2. He is too clever for me.
3. He is almost, if not quite, the cleverest boy in the class.
4. He is very clever, but rather or somewhat indolent.

The chief Adverbs of this class are :

Very, much, too, quite, almost, little, a little, rather, somewhat, half, partly, wholly, so, etc…..

(f) Affirming or Denying :

1. He did not come after all.
2. He not at all paid his fees.
3. Yes. He has come.
4. He will come by all means.

The chief Adverbs of this class are :

Yes, no, not, yea, nay, not at all, by all means, etc….

YES and NO are pro-sentence or substitute Adverbs.

(i) Did he come? Yes (=He did come) (Affirmative)

(ii) Did he come? No (=He did not come) (Negative)

In (i) Yes is substitute for an Affirmative Sentence and in (ii) No is substitute for a Negative Sentence. As Pronouns save the repetition of a Noun, so do these Adverbs save the repetition of a Sentence.

Interrogative Adverbs :

This is the name given to those Adverbs that are used for asking questions.

(a) Time :

1. When did he come?
2. How long will he remain here?
3. What is the time now?
4. When will this exam get over?

(b) Place :

1. Where did he stop?
2. Whence has he come?
3. Whither is he going?
4. Where is your brother’s college?

(c) Number :

1. How often did the dog bark?
2. How many persons came?
3. How many pencils do you need?
4. How many boys and girls are there in the school?

(d) Manner, Quality or State :

1. How did he do this?
2. How (in what state of health) is he today?
3. How are you doing?
4. How is your business?

(e) Quantity or Degree :

1. How far (to what extent) was that report true?
2. How many pencils are originals?
3. How far has your college constructed its buildings?
4. How far is your home-town from here?

(f) Cause or Reason :

1. Why (for what reason) did he do this?
2. Wherefore did she weep?
3. Why did not your sister come to this function?
4. Why did you pay the fees without permission?

The Adverb HOW is sometimes used in an exclamatory sense.

1. How kind of you to do that!
2. How often have you been cautioned!

WHAT in the sense of quantity or degree is similarly used in an exclamatory sense.

1. What a foolish fellow you are!
2. What clever sons you have!

Relative Adverbs :

These are the same in form as Interrogative Adverbs….but instead of asking questions, they join two sentences together. Hence a Relative Adverb is a double part of speech - an Adverb and Conjunction combined.

These Adverbs are called Relative for two reasons.

(1) Because they relate to some Antecedent, expressed or understood, as Relative Pronouns do.

(2) Because they are formed from Relative Pronouns.

The Antecedent understood :

1. This is where (=the place in which) we live.
2. Let me know when (=the time by which) you will come.

The Antecedent expressed :

1. This is the place where we live.
2. Let me know the time when you will come.

THE as A Relative Adverb :

The word THE is a Relative Adverb of Quantity and is always followed by its Antecedent THE which is a Demonstrative Adverb of Quantity.

1. The more (wealth) men have, the more they desire.
2. The sooner he comes, the better for him.

Note : 1

The first THE is the Relative Adverb and the second one is the Demonstrative Adverb.

To what extent men have more wealth, to that extent they desire more.

Note : 2

This pair of Adverbs is never used except in combination with some Adjective or other Adverb in the Comparative degree.


  1. The Adverb
  2. Adverbs
  3. An Adverb
  4. The Adverb Clause
  5. The Kinds of Adverbs
  6. Simple Adverbs
  7. Interrogative Adverbs
  8. Relative Adverbs
  9. Relative Adverb of Quantity
  10. Demonstrative Adverb of Quantity
  11. Degrees of Comparison in Adverbs
  12. Adverbs ending in LY
  13. LY Words That are not Adverbs
  14. LY Imposters
  15. The Forms of Adverbs
  16. Adverb Phrases
  17. The Two Uses of Adverbs
  18. Attributive Use of Adverbs
  19. Predicative Use of Adverbs
  20. Adverbial Adjuncts to Verb of Predicate
  21. The Adverb
  22. Relative Adverbs

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