Commas after fronted adverbials worksheet: Commas after fronted adverbials | Teaching Resources

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Fronted Adverbials and Commas Lesson with Worksheets

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Now…onto the lesson!


Key Stage 2 Statutory Requirements for English

Year 4 students should be able to use fronted adverbials and commas after fronted adverbials correctly.


Afraid of fronted adverbials? Confused about commas?

The issue of adverbs can often be quite a problem for parents and children alike, and if you add the whole question of commas ….well, it’s a recipe for disaster! 

Let’s take it all back to the beginning and work it through one step at a time to make it easier to understand. We’ll start by sorting out the confusion between adverbs and adjectives, get a firm grasp of what an adverb is, and therefore, the meaning of that scary term ‘fronted adverbial’. Finally, we’ll sort out the commas issue once and for all.

We’re confident that by the end of this guide your child will be able to:

1) Understand the difference between adjectives and adverbs

2) Recognise a fronted adverbial

3) Apply commas correctly following a fronted adverbial.


Step 1: Is it an adjective or an adverb?

These two word types cause a lot of confusion for many people — perhaps this is not surprising since they are both types of describing words. Adjectives describe a noun, giving us more detail about a person, a place or a thing.

For example, if we come face to face with a tiger, it would be helpful to know if it is a tame tiger or a fierce tiger, a hungry tiger or a sleepy tiger. All those highlighted words are adjectives

An adverb, on the other hand, describes a variety of word types but usually gives us more detail about a verb. This is easy to remember since the word adverb actually includes the word verb!

So, using the same example of the tiger above: the tiger might be growling fiercely, or yawning sleepily, or sleeping deeply, or even running fast. All these highlighted words are adverbs.

Did you spot that most of the adverbs highlighted above ended in ‘ly’? Adverbs often do end in that suffix but not always; common adverbs that don’t end in ‘ly’ are ‘fast’, ‘often’, ‘well’, ‘always’, ‘later’ etc.

You may also have spotted that some of the adverbs are very similar to the adjectives. Indeed, there are a few words that can be used as both adjectives and adverbs, eg. Fast – you can have a fast car (adjective) or the car drove fast (adverb). If that is confusing, then look to see which word is being described as ‘fast’. In the first example, it is the car being described (so this is an adjective), but in the second, it is describing how the car is driven (making it an adverb).

Adjectives can often be changed into adverbs by adding the suffix ‘ly’, such as ‘greedy’ to ‘greedily’, ‘happy’ to ‘happily’, ‘cold’ to ‘coldly’ etc.


Step 2: Recognising adverbs

So, we know that an adverb usually describes a verb and often ends in ‘ly’. This is a good start! 

When looking for an adverb, ask yourself the questions how, where, when or how often the verb is being done. The answer to this question is usually the adverb:

I will play football vigorously — how will I play football?
I will play football outside – where will I play football?
I will play football later – when will I play football?
I will play football every day – how often will I play football?

However, adverbs are versatile little words and can also be used to describe adjectives and even adverbs themselves! Look at the examples below in which the adjectives are coloured red and the adverbs are blue:

The snow was seriously deep.
I was extremely tired.
The cat was terribly scared.
He drove dangerously fast.
The children played incredibly nosily.
The band performed very well.


Step 3: So, what is a fronted adverbial and what is a comma?

Fronted adverbials

Now we know how to identify an adverb, it’s time to sort this out.

Firstly, an adverbial works the same way as an adverb by describing how, where, when or how often an action happens. In this case, however, it can be made up of more than one word or indeed an entire phrase. This means that the following are all examples of adverbials:

Of place (where): here, there, somewhere, outside, inside, near the house etc.
Of manner (how): greedily, quickly, nicely, carelessly etc.
Of time (when): now, then, later, tomorrow, soon, yesterday, still, now etc.
Of frequency (how often): rarely, frequently, seldom, every day, twice a week, again and again, usually etc.

So, what do we think a fronted adverbial could be? That’s right, you’ve guessed it – a fronted adverbial is simply an adverbial placed at the front or beginning of a sentence. It gives us information about the action to follow — how it happens, where, when or how frequently.

For example, a sentence might start with noisily or quietly, either of which tells us how the action takes place.
Or with outside, somewhere, or here, all of which tell us where the action happens.
Or with later, now, or still, which tell us when the action happens.
Or a sentence might start with frequently or now and then, either of which tells us how often the action takes place.

Some fronted adverbials can be a much longer phrase that includes nouns and adjectives as well as adverbs. It is still an adverbial phrase because it is describing the action of the sentence.

For example:

In the black water of the lagoon, the huge monster lay in wait. The highlighted words make up the fronted adverbial and they are describing where the action is taking place.

Much later that morning, Joe staggered out of bed. The fronted adverbial here is describing when the action occurred.


When a sentence starts with an adverbial, it is usual to follow it with a comma to separate it from the rest of the sentence and prepare the way for the action. When deciding whether or not to use a comma in our writing, the most important thing to consider is whether or not it makes it easier for the reader to understand what has been written. 

Some fronted adverbials can be pretty long, as in the two examples given in Step 4, and it is obvious that a comma would make the sentence much easier to follow. Frequently, the fronted adverbial will consist of only one or two words, but they still need to be separated from the rest of the sentence as they act as a sort of gateway to the action. 

Often, children get confused about commas.
Occasionally, my dog decides that he doesn’t want to have a walk.
From time to time, my internet connection becomes unstable.
Somewhere, there is a bag containing all my school books.
Greedily, my little brother gobbled up all the sweets.

If the sentence is very short, it might be possible to omit the comma, but always make sure that the meaning of the sentence is still clear.

For example, in the sentence ‘Later I went to bed’, it might be possible to do without the comma, but consider the difference that the comma might make. If we include a comma, it emphasises the lateness, so we might still choose to include it: ‘Later, I went to bed. ’ 

If in doubt at this stage, the comma should be included after all fronted adverbials.


Step 4: Put it into practice…

Now it’s over to you! First of all, (spot the fronted adverbial!) see if you can identify the adverbials in the sentences below and whether they are adverbials of manner (how), place, time or frequency:

1) The beach was incredibly busy with hundreds of tourists.

2. I like to go climbing several times a year.

3. Last weekend, we visited my grandparents.

4. My best friend lives somewhere over there.

Where would you put the commas in these sentences to separate the fronted adverbials?

5. Frequently my mum has to tidy my bedroom.

6. At least twice a year we get a visit from my cousins.

7. Later we will catch the bus to school.

8. Hurriedly I stuffed my books into my bag.

9. On top of the highest mountain he made a promise to his friend.

10. Underneath my unmade bed a huge spider lurks.


Step 5: Activity Time!

Hopefully, your child is feeling more confident about tackling fronted adverbials and commas. Once you have gone through all of these with your child and they are feeling confident, get them to have a go at the activities below to practise their skills.

All activities are created by teachers and automatically marked. Plus, with an EdPlace subscription, we can automatically progress your child at a level that’s right for them. Sending you progress reports along the way so you can track and measure progress, together — brilliant!


Activity 1 — Identify Adverbs in a Sentence 1

Activity 2 — Identify Adverbs in a Sentence 2

Activity 3 — Identify Adverbs in a Sentence 3

Activity 4 — Grammatical Boundaries: Using Commas in Sentences

Activity 5 — Sentence Structure: Commas and Subordinate Clauses 1



1) incredibly, manner

2) several times a year, frequency

3) last weekend, time

4) somewhere over there, place

5) Frequently, my mum has to tidy my bedroom.

6) At least twice a year, we get a visit from my cousins.

7) Later, we will catch the bus to school.

8) Hurriedly, I stuffed my books into my bag.

9) On top of the highest mountain, he made a promise to his friend.

10) Underneath my unmade bed, a huge spider lurks.


Keep going! Looking for more activities, different subjects or year groups?

Click the button below to view the EdPlace English, maths, science and 11+ activity library

All English, maths and science from Year 1 — GCSE


Literacy: Fronted adverbials Missing commas | Worksheet

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  • Fronted adverbials — Missing commas



Year 4 English


Syllables 1
Year 4 English


Homophones 1
Year 4 English


Adverbs 1
Year 4 English


Adverbs 3
Year 4 English


Nouns and verbs 1
Year 4 English


Nouns and verbs 2
Year 4 English


Gender 1
Year 4 English


Gender 2
Year 4 English


Rhyming words 1
Year 4 English


Rhyming Words 3
Year 4 English


bb and cc part 1
Year 4 English


bb and cc part 2
Year 4 English


dd and ff part 1
Year 4 English


dd and ff part 2
Year 4 English


gg and ll part 1
Year 4 English


gg and ll part 2
Year 4 English


pp and rr part 1
Year 4 English


pp and rr part 2
Year 4 English


Double letters 2
Year 4 English


Adverbs 1
Year 4 English


Verbs 1
Year 4 English


Capital letters 1
Year 4 English


Tenses 1
Year 4 English


Sentences 1
Year 4 English


Present and past 1
Year 4 English


Sentences 2
Year 4 English


Sentences 4
Year 4 English


Types of sentences 6
Year 4 English


Types of sentences 4
Year 4 English


Types of sentences 5
Year 4 English


Types of sentences 3
Year 4 English


Types of sentences 1
Year 4 English


Year 4 English


Verb tenses
Year 4 English


Year 4 English


Similes 2
Year 4 English


Year 4 English


Gender words
Year 4 English


Types of sentences
Year 4 English


Year 4 English


Word unscramble — Christmas theme
Year 4 English


Missing letters — Christmas theme activity
Year 4 English


Types of sentences 2
Year 4 English


Spatial prepositions (1)
Year 4 English


Spatial prepositions (2)
Year 4 English


Spatial prepositions (3)
Year 4 English


Spatial prepositions (4)
Year 4 English


Mother’s Day — Word unscramble
Year 4 English


Mother’s Day — Similes 1
Year 4 English


Mother’s Day — Similes 2
Year 4 English


Word unscramble — May
Year 4 English


Identifying nouns
Year 4 English


Olympics — How many syllables?
Year 4 English


Summer Olympics — How many syllables?
Year 4 English


Winter Olympics — How many syllables?
Year 4 English


Summer rhymes
Year 4 English


Identifying adjectives, verbs and nouns
Year 4 English


Autumn — Alphabetical order
Year 4 English


Autumn — Missing verbs
Year 4 English


Autumn — Word unscramble
Year 4 English


Christmas — Possessive nouns
Year 4 English


Alphabetical order — Chinese New Year
Year 4 English


Suffixes — er and est (1)
Year 4 English


Suffixes — er and est (2)
Year 4 English


Suffixes — er and est (3)
Year 4 English


Word work — Irregular verbs
Year 4 English


There is or there are? (1)
Year 4 English


There is or there are? (2)
Year 4 English


There is or there are? (3)
Year 4 English


Father’s Day — Alphabetical Order
Year 4 English


Dinosaurs — How many syllables?
Year 4 English


Alphabetical Order — Dinosaurs
Year 4 English



Patrick’s Day — How Many Syllables?

Year 4 English


School Subjects — Word Unscramble
Year 4 English


Find the Halloween Noun
Year 4 English


Hidden Words
Year 4 English


Family Vocabulary
Year 4 English


Adjectives (3)
Year 4 English


bb and cc part 3
Year 4 English


dd and ff part 3
Year 4 English


gg and ll part 3
Year 4 English


pp and rr part 3
Year 4 English


Missing Adverbs
Year 4 English


Sentences 5
Year 4 English


Present and past 2
Year 4 English


Present and past 3
Year 4 English


Verbs 2
Year 4 English


Verbs 3
Year 4 English


Verb tenses 2
Year 4 English


Apostrophes 2
Year 4 English


Apostrophes 3
Year 4 English


Concrete and Abstract Nouns
Year 4 English


Irregular verbs
Year 4 English


Word work — Irregular verbs
Year 4 English


Identifying adjectives, verbs and nouns 2
Year 4 English


Identifying adjectives, verbs and nouns 3
Year 4 English


Diminutives 2
Year 4 English


Diminutives 3
Year 4 English


Capital letters 2
Year 4 English


Capital letters 3
Year 4 English


Rhyming Words 2
Year 4 English


Nouns and verbs 3
Year 4 English


Adverbs 2
Year 4 English



Patrick’s Day Alphabetical Order

Year 4 English


Rhyming Words — At The Zoo
Year 4 English


Rhyming Words — My Shadow
Year 4 English


Fronted adverbials matching activity
Year 4 English


Fronted adverbials — Missing commas
Year 4 English


Fronted adverbials — How, where or when?
Year 4 English


Fronted adverbials — Complete the sentence
Year 4 English


Using ‘was’ and ‘were’
Year 4 English


Using ‘did’ and ‘done’ correctly
Year 4 English


Expanded noun phrases
Year 4 English


Adding inverted commas to a sentence
Year 4 English


Apostrophes — Plural possession

commas — Do I need a comma after «therefore»? (2)

Therefore, when it comes to updating , it is not a renewal at all, but a renewal of our understanding.

In this sentence, we do not put a comma after the adverb , therefore we do not put , since the subordinate clause cannot be rearranged (it has a fixed position here).

According to the meaning of the text , the subordinate clause should come first (there is a repetition of the words: about updating, but not updating is meant …).

In other cases, putting a comma after the adverb, therefore, before the union is optional , for example:

Therefore, when Tom was small, she was sure that Pavel Alekseevich loved her more than Tanya. [Lyudmila Ulitskaya. Case of Kukotsky 2000]

Therefore, when in the fall of 1984 an evening in memory of the great singer was organized at the Bolshoi Theater, there was again a full house. [AND. K. Arkhipova. Music of Life (1996)]

And so when Christ gives us a commandment, He not only tells us what to do; [Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom). On Christian Life (1990)]


1) Such a permutation seems incorrect to me: Therefore, it does not mean renewal at all, but renewal of our understanding, when it comes to renewal.

2) But there is still a dependence on the context, a fragment of text is needed for the final decision.

3) Pay attention to intercalation intonation when isolating the clause: stress on the adverb, emphasis on the clause with pauses, pronunciation with a decrease in tone: Therefore, when it comes to updating, does not mean updating at all, but updating our understanding.

4) If all this suits you, then you can make your own decision to isolate the subordinate clause, this is not prohibited by the rules. Unfortunately, Rosenthal has no examples of NGN with this adverb.


I would like to elaborate on the topic about the optional separation of the clause after the adverb therefore .

Most likely, here it is necessary to take into account a number of factors , and not just a formal permutation of the subordinate clause. Much depends on the structure of the sentence , as well as on the previous text .

When separating, we additionally separate the subordinate clause into a separate structure , but is such a crushing always necessary? A sentence can already consist of several phrases, the subordinate clause will simply be lost in them. If it’s refinement of , then fine, but if not? Then important relationships between proposals can fade into the background.

Is it necessary to stress the adverb, which is inevitable in isolation? If some topic was previously disclosed in detail, then the adverb will indicate it , then this is a positive moment, and if not, then such a shock position will seem unjustified .

In general, this is really an optional solution, calculated on the intuition of the author of , and then the orientation of to intonation becomes important. Read the sentence twice in different versions. The correct one will be the one that provides easy reading and quick understanding of the text.

Comma before «as» — when is it and when is it not?

We will teach you how to write without errors and make it interesting to tell

Start learning

There are many nuances in the punctuation rules of the Russian language, and therefore schoolchildren usually consider this section of the rules to be one of the most difficult. Our task is to dispel this myth. Today we will take one more step towards this goal — we will tell you everything you need to know about setting a comma with the union “how”. At the end of the article, you will find a task for self-examination and a pivot table with all the rules.

When a comma is needed before the conjunction “as”

First, let’s look at examples in all cases when a comma is exactly placed. There are three of them in total.

If the turn with «as» serves as an introductory construction

More precisely, such turns are not introductory words in their essence, but perform similar functions in a sentence. We are talking about combinations of as now, as a rule, as a consequence, as now, as if on purpose, as an exception, such as , etc.

At the same time, a comma should be placed not only before the union as, but also after the revolution. It should be separated according to the same rules as introductory constructions.

The train was usually late in the evenings.

If “how” connects parts of a complex sentence

Everything is simple here: the case with the conjunction obeys the usual rules of punctuation for a sentence with two or more stems. At the same time, the union itself, as , in this case will play the role of a subordinate, which connects parts of the sentence.

The rest of the day I silently watched the snow fall outside the window.

This sentence has 2 grammatical stems: I observed and it is snowing . Its first part is main, and the second is subordinate. They are united by the subordinating union as , so a comma is placed before it.

If the union is included in the circumstance expressed by comparative turnover

This applies to all cases, except for comparative turns, which play the role of circumstances of the mode of action. We will talk more about this exception in the second section of the article, when we analyze examples with the union as without a comma.

Remember: it is important to highlight comparative phrases with commas on both sides if they are in the middle of a sentence. Turnovers with a union, as it also applies.

Her eyes turned blue, like a frozen lake at night.

Five in Russian in your pocket!

All the rules of the Russian language are at hand

When a comma is not needed before the union “how”

Now let’s move on to sentences that do not put a comma before the union as . There are 6 such cases — let’s analyze them all with examples.

If the turnover with the union

«as» is a circumstance of the course of action

This is the same exception that we wrote about a little higher. It is worth remembering that before as in the circumstance of the manner of action, which is expressed by a comparative turnover, a comma is not needed.

Be careful: it is easy to confuse them in meaning with the circumstances of comparison. Let’s look at this with examples and learn how to distinguish between them.

Who among us has not dreamed of flying like a bird?

The night sky, like black velvet, quietly covered the beach.

To distinguish the circumstances of comparison from the circumstances of the course of action, you can try to replace the turnover with an adverb. For example, in the first sentence, as a bird can be replaced with the word in bird-like without losing its meaning. This means that we have before us the circumstance of the mode of action, and the comma before as is not needed.

On the other hand, we cannot replace the expression like black velvet with an adverb. It turns out that this is a circumstance of comparison, and there should be a comma before as . Unfortunately, this method is not ideal. Sometimes these two types of circumstances are so similar that even he does not help to correctly determine their meaning.

If the turnover with «how» is included in the phraseological unit

In order not to be mistaken, it is important to learn to distinguish set expressions from ordinary comparisons. After that, it will be easy for you to determine if a comma is needed before the union as .

New circumstances fell on us like snow on our heads.

If the turnover with «as» is part of the predicate

Moreover, if you remove the union from such a sentence, it will change its meaning.

The city was like a stranger to me now.

If «as» is between subject and predicate

It is important that without this union, a dash would have to be put in its place.

Eyes are like a mirror of the soul: they will always tell you what is inside.

The eyes are the mirror of the soul: they will always tell you what is inside.

If there is “not” before the comparative turnover with the union

And also — particles almost, exactly, completely, completely, sort of, exactly, just .

It seemed that he did not think like the others.

The hotel was exactly like in childhood: old, but cozy.

If «as» is part of a compound conjunction

Talking about unions as… so and as . The same can be said about the revolutions of from the time, since, as far as, as little as possible , etc. In all these cases, the comma before as is not needed.

There was no free time both in the evening and the next day.

As I moved through the pages, my eyes became more and more sticky from fatigue.

When a comma is placed before a union: summary table

You may need to know whether a comma is needed before the union how, for homework or preparing for a Russian language test. To make it convenient for you to search for all the rules, we have collected them in one table. Enjoy!

Rules for placing a comma before the union as




Comma required If turnover with as serves as introductory structure When leaving, my sister, as if on purpose, did not close the door to my room.
If as connects parts of a complex sentence All I could do was watch the train disappear into the distance.

If as is included in the circumstance expressed by comparative turnover

Exceptions — below.

The water in the sea looked as smooth as glass.
No comma required If turnover from as is a circumstance of the course of action Sitting in bed, she stretched sleepily like a cat.
If turnover from as is included in idiom After the fall, the palm burned like fire.
If a turnover with a conjunction is part of the predicate, and the sentence itself does not matter without as Now we were like strangers.
If , like , is between the subject and the predicate, and without it, a dash should be placed Water is like a mirror surface, quiet and peaceful.
If there are 9 before the comparative turnover with the union0115 not or particles almost, exactly, completely, completely, sort of, exactly, just That day, things did not go as usual.
Although it was already April, the frost was just like in winter.
Compound unions as … and since , as well as revolutions since, since, as, as little as possible , etc.

It was impossible to escape from the heat both on the street and at home.

During my holidays, I tried to be outdoors as much as possible.

Test yourself

To check how well you understood today’s topic, complete the tasks below. Don’t forget to use the table to check yourself.


Read the sentences below and place commas before the conjunction as needed. Explain your choice for each of the suggestions.

  1. In the evening he came again, but not as a teacher.

  2. I did not have time to notice how the morning came.

  3. The people in the subway were crowded like herrings in a barrel.

  4. His voice sounded unpleasantly like the scratching of a nail scratching glass.

  5. I usually spent my holidays outside the city.

  6. We haven’t seen each other since I stopped going to the library.

Today we figured out when a comma should be placed before the union like, and when not.

By alexxlab

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