Oxford University Press: adverbs and adverbial expressions
Cambridge – adverbs

On the one hand… on the other hand

  • On the one hand Brazilian supermodels have the highest rate of anorexia, but on the other hand they have a reputation for steering clear of drugs and alcohol. 

Meaning of this adverbial expression: to juxtapose or contrast two different sets of facts or points of view.


That is to say

  • I don’t want to be sexist but most studies show that men have better spatial intelligence, that is to say that they are better at reading maps and parking cars etc.

When to use this adverb: primarily for the purposes of clarification.


As far as …. Is concerned  / As regards / Regarding

  • The rules are clear: as far as mobiles are concerned, we have a zero tolerance policy.

Meaning: to indicate what you are going to talk about or to change the subject slightly.



  • Change your settings on Whatsapp otherwise she’ll know that you received the message.

Meaning of this adverbial expression: indicates what the consequences will be if you don’t do something. 


In other words

  • Trump is incompetent, rude, and ignorant of policy. In other words, he’s the worst president since Nixon.

When to use this adverb: for clarification or further explanation.


I mean

  • You’re always criticizing me. I mean…look how many times you told me I wasn’t good enough to be on the team.

Meaning in advanced English: to give examples or further explanation. 



  • Obviously, you love her more than me. Damn!

Meaning of this adverbial expression: to communicate the logical necessity or clarity of something.



  • Basically, you’re an asshole!

When to use this adverb: to emphasise a key point with all supplementary or distracting information stripped away.



  • I don’t want to move to Paris, and besides… we can’t afford the rent.

Meaning in advanced English: emphasizes a key point which may have been overlooked.


After all

  • You should pay the bill…after all, it was you who wanted oysters.

Meaning of this adverbial expression: reminds the listener of some key point they should not forget in forming their opinion.


All in all

  • All in all he’s a good student but he needs to focus more.

Meaning in advanced English: a synonym of ‘at the end of the day’ and ‘all things considered’. 


On the whole

  • On the whole olive oil is better for you but you shouldn’t forget that it’s still a form of fat.

When to use this adverb: to express generality or a concluding point that sums up your argument.


As I was saying

  • As I was saying, her husband turned out to be gay, her son’s a terrorist and her mother in law is a crack dealer.

Meaning in advanced English: used to return back to a topic that you have s


At least

  • He may have got the house in the divorce settlement but at least you got the business.

Meaning in advanced English: to communicate the positive side of something.


In any case / Anyway

  • Anyway…let’s change the subject.

In any case, I don’t wanna talk about it so let’s change the subject.

Meaning: this makes clear that what you just said wasn’t as important as one might think.


Actually / in fact / as a matter of fact

  • What do you mean I’m not qualified? As a matter of fact I have two bachelors degree and a masters.

When to use this adverb: used to either correct a fact, change your mind or to introduce extra information.


By the way / incidentally

  • …and then we went for lunch. Oh…by the way, your mother called; sorry, I forgot to tell you.

When to use this adverb: this allows you to introduce something you suddenly thought of or forgot.


Talking of

  • Talking of your ex…I saw her in the supermarket with a handsome guy the other day.

Meaning of this adverbial expression: a tool for changing conversation direction while still maintaining a link to what was said before.


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