Adverb phrases consist of adverbs together with elements which complement or modify them in different ways. Although adverb phrases are potentially complex, in practice most of them have a fairly simple structure. Thus, a typical adverb phrase consists of a head in the form of an adverb sometimes accompanied by modifiers, as in the following example:
(1) Aluminium burns comparativelyslowly.Here, the adverb head slowly is modified by the adverb (phrase) comparatively.
Functions of adverb phrases
Adverb phrases can have a fairly wide range of grammatical functions. Two of their main uses are as modifiers of adjectives and adverbs, as in the following examples:
(2) The current design of the platform is vastly superior to the old one. (vastly modifies the adjective superior)A third major function that adverb phrases have is that of adverbial in clause structure, as in the following example:
(3) The situation has improved very slowly. (very modifies the adverb slowly)
(4) Consequently, the design had to be improved.