Is Early An Adverb: 7 Important Facts You Should Know


Adverb is one of the parts of speech of English language. In this article, we will find out if the word “early” is an adverb and also get to know how and why.

The word “early” is an adverb. Any word that provides additional details about an action word (verb), adjective or yet another adverb is known as an adverb. The word “early” refers to a time prior to the expected or regular time. It also refers to a time in the starting or beginning of a time period.

With the help interesting facts and examples, let us explore the usage of the word “early” as an adverb.

Why is early an adverb?

We already know that the word “early” can function as an adverb. Let us now find out the reason why it is an adverb.

The word “early” is an adverb as it tells us additional information about the action word (verb) in a sentence by modifying it or describing it.

Example: Varsha was very tired, so she slept early.

Here, the word “early” belongs to the part of speech “adverb”.  The word “early” is an adverb here as it is giving us extra details about the verb “slept” in the sentence by modifying it.

How is early an adverb?

Any word which modifies an action word, another adverb or an adjective is considered to be an adverb. Here let us find out how the word “early” is an adverb.

“Early” is considered to be an adverb since it provides us added details or supplementary information about the action words in a sentence. The word “early” gives us information about the time when the action in the sentence happened or took place.

Example: Sonali came to India early in the last year.

In this sentence, the word “early” is taking up the role of an adverb. Here, “early” is describing or modifying the action “came” by telling us when (the approximate time) Sonali came to India. “Early” in the last year means in the beginning/ starting of last year.

When is early an adverb?

The word “early” can take up other parts of speech too. So here, let us see when exactly (at what instances) “early” is considered as an adverb.

The word “early” is an adverb in places when it is modifying or describing the action words (verbs). Only when it is modifying the action happening in the sentence, the word “early” tells us when (the time when) the action took place, thereby functioning as an adverb.

Example: If Suhasini had come ten minutes early, she would not have missed the train.

In the above sentence, the word “early” is an adverb modifying the action word (verb) “had come”. The adverb “early” is telling us the time when Suhasini must have come (ten minutes before) to catch the train.

What is the type of adverb early?

Based on how an adverb modifies and based what extra information an adverb provides about an action word, adjective or adverb, adverbs can be classified into various types.

“Early”, falls under the adverb of time category. An adverb of time is the one which tells us the time when a particular action takes place. In that way, the adverb “early” tells us that the action happened at a time which is prior to the regular time or at the starting of a particular time period.

Example: Today, I have to go to school early since I have a special class.

In the above sentence, the adverb “early” is functioning as an adverb of time. It is modifying the action word “to go” by telling us extra information about the time when “I” should go to school today.

Examples of early as an adverb

For a better understanding about the usage of the word “early” as an adverb, let us go through a few examples and their related explanations.

The table below comprises of examples where “early” is utilized as an adverb.

               ExamplesExplanations
1. The courier was delivered early to my brother who lives in London.In this sentence, the word “early” is taking up the role of an adverb. It is describing the action word (verb) “delivered” by telling us when the action of delivering the courier happened.

The adverb “early” here means that the courier was delivered at a time prior to the expected time.
2. Though Varun lost his parents early in his life, he grew up to be a responsible boy.In this sentence, the word “early” is functioning as an adverb. It is modifying the action word (verb) “lost” by telling us when the action of losing his parents happened.

The adverb “early” here means that Varun lost his parents at a very young age (starting or beginning of his life).
3. Today, the manager left the office early as he had some personal work to attend.The word “early” is utilized as an adverb in this sentence. It is used to describe the action word (verb) “left” by telling when the action of leaving happened.

The adverb “early” here refers that today the manager left the office prior to the usual time.
4. Due to heavy rains, the school will be closed early.The word “early” is utilized as an adverb in this sentence. It is used to modify the action word (verb) “will be closed” by telling when the action of closing the school will happen.

The adverb “early” here refers that the school will be closed before the usual regular time.
5. Early in the summer, we went on a vacation to Nilgiris, the Queen of hill stations.In this sentence, the word “early” is functioning as an adverb. It is modifying and describing the action word (verb) “went” by telling us when the action of going on a vacation to Nilgiris happened.

The adverb “early” here refers that “we” went on a vacation to Nilgirs, the Queen of hill stations in the starting or beginning of the summer season.
Examples of early as an adverb

Can early be an adjective?

The word “early” also takes up the role of other parts of speech other than just adverbs. Let us now find out if the word “early” can be an adjective.

The word “early” can definitely be an adjective. All words that give us additional extra details and information about naming words (nouns or noun phrases) or pronouns, thereby describing them, belong to the part of speech adjectives.

Example: Catching the early train, will help us reach the venue in time.

  • In this sentence, the word “early” is not an adverb, but is an adjective.
  • The word “early” here is used to describe the naming word (noun) “train” by telling us more details about the train and not about the action verb in the sentence.
  • The adjective “early” here, tells us that to reach the venue in time, we need to catch the train which comes soon, thereby giving extra details about the noun “train”.  

How early can be an adjective?

The word “early” can be an adjective since it provides us added details or supplementary information about the naming words (nouns or noun phrases) in a sentence.

Example: The early flight is more convenient to travel in.

In this sentence, the word “early” is functioning as an adjective. “Early” here is describing the noun “flight” (an object), by telling us extra information about which flight is more convenient to travel.

When early can be an adjective?

The word “early” can perform the role of an adjective when it is describing or modifying a person, place, object or an animal. “Early” is an adjective when it provides us extra details about the nouns and not the time of the action (verbs).

Example: The family had an early dinner yesterday.

In this sentence, the word “early” is an adjective since it is modifying the naming word (noun) “dinner” and not the verb “had”. It is giving us additional information about time of the dinner (noun) rather than the time when they had the dinner.

Conclusion

Thus from this article, we get to know that the word “early” is an adverb when it is telling us the time when the action is happening, happened or will happen. We also got to know that the word “early” does not tell us the exact time of the action, but only the approximate time.

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Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran

Hi... I am Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran, a university rank holder in M.A. English Literature. I have also done my master's in Business Administration. Inquisitive as I am, my interest in action-oriented research helped me publish research papers in reputed journals. Now, as a career, I am an instructor where I teach young and adorable students the intricate technicalities of Public Speaking and Creative Writing. I also enjoy writing articles on topics I specialize and research in. You can connect with me through LinkedIn.-https://www.linkedin.com/in/sowndharya-j-972378233

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