Adverbs are unpredictable and often rebellious creatures. Unlike the essential and often reliable nouns, verbs, and adjectives, adverbs dance around in sentences in ways that can be difficult to pin down. As a result, they can feel like a headache to work with.

At the same time, we rely on adverbs to qualify and give meaning to what we say or write. Words such as just, still, even, and the especially tricky, especially, are on high-frequency lists because they give useful meaning to sentences.


Challenges of Teaching Adverbs

One of the challenges of teaching adverbs is that while they give much meaning about manner, frequency, time, place, and purpose, they do not have much meaning alone. For instance, try answering the question, what does especially mean? and it becomes clear that especially is really a shadow word; it means very little unless put in a larger context.

Another challenge is that a word like especially has its own unique pattern. Interestingly, many adverbs can go at the beginning of a sentence (like this one), and yet especially cannot.


Activities to Practice Especially

The downloadable document for this article contains activities for working with two uses of especially.  Because especially is often placed incorrectly, the activities present especially in a commonly occurring collocation so that students can learn it in a larger grammatical context.  Each activity begins with some clarification and a simple matching activity. Then each moves to experimentation so that students can own the structures by writing sentences with personal information and ideas.


Click here to download the activity for this lesson.