Vocabulary Activity: Focusing Adverbs

When writing, we often want to focus our reader’s attention on an idea. To do this, you can use a variety of adverbs called focusing adverbs.

Compare these 2 sentences:

I want to go to Canada.

I only want to go to Canada.

By adding the adverb “only”, we are drawing attention to the idea of ‘wanting’, that our only wish is to go to Canada, and nowhere else.

Here are some more sentences using focusing adverbs:

I would particularly like to move to a modern house.

A few people were missing from the meeting, notably Tom.

I specifically told you to clean your room!

Try these two activities. In the first activity, try to identify some common focusing adverbs by rearranging the letters. In the second activity, try to identify the function of the adverbs. Good luck!

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Charles Cornelius is a former IELTS Examiner with 25 years' teaching experience all over the world. He has worked for some of the major English language schools including International House, IDP and The British Council. He holds a MA in Education from the University of Bath. His courses, for both English language learners and teachers, have been taken by over 80,000 students in over 160 countries around the world.

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