wide range of stance adverbs

Adverbs of stance are a special category of adverbs that express the speaker’s attitude or viewpoint towards the content of a message. They are often used to indicate a statement’s degree of certainty, doubt, or objectivity. Some examples of adverbs of stance include arguably, assuredly, doubtlessly, probably, possibly, apparently, typically, and roughly.

Stance adverbs can be classified into groups: certainty, likelihood, attitude, and possibly style. Certainty adverbs express a high degree of confidence in the truth of a statement, such as incontestably or incontrovertibly. Likelihood adverbs express the probability of a statement being true, such as possibly or probably. Attitude adverbs express the speaker’s emotional or evaluative stance toward the content of a message, such as surprisingly or honestly. Style adverbs express the speaker’s manner of presenting the content of a message, such as frankly or wisely.

Here are some examples of how adverbs of stance can be used in sentences:

Arguably, the best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in the culture.
Doubtlessly, the new policy will have a significant impact on the company’s profits.
Probably, we won’t be able to finish the project on time.
Honestly, I don’t think that’s a good idea.
Wisely, she decided to invest her money in a diversified portfolio.

Profiling Research

In the English Grammar Profile, C1 point 62 in ADVERBS/modifiers is defined:

(simply, truly, surely, apparently, naturally, surprisingly, inevitably, literally, exceptionally, frankly, clearly, amazingly, wisely, admittedly) to indicate an attitude or viewpoint, often in clause initial position.

For example:

She simply wrote down what was happening to her and her family about her confinementand in doing so

we have a very intimate record of this family during one of the worst periods of our world‘s history.


This grammar point is also related to ‘comment adverbials‘ and is often more than just one word. An Adverb + enough is common in this position and with this usage.


An iWeb search for these stance adverbs only in the initial position is very different from any position in the sentence.  For example, there are over 2 million examples of ‘simply’ anywhere, but only a few thousand in the initial position:

1 . APPARENTLY, 30059

Apparently, he’s a poet.


2 . NATURALLY, 27766

Naturallywas charmed by what you wrote about me.


3 . CLEARLY, 26259
4 . FRANKLY, 14964
6 . ADMITTEDLY, 9653
7 . SURELY, 7023
8 . AMAZINGLY, 6144
9 . TRULY, 4979
10 . INEVITABLY, 4250
11 . LITERALLY, 3682
12 . SIMPLY, 3125
13 . WISELY, 340


*Some of these adverbs are sometimes used in other ways too, but they are all at B1 or higher, so the complexity range of adverb usage is high.

Here is an iWeb frequency list of just the vocabulary.

1 SIMPLY 2911337 (often followed by a negative verb phrase)

I simply don’t have time for this.


2 TRULY 1197042
3 CLEARLY 1118221

Clearly, he was not a man who minced words, nor should he have been.


5 NATURALLY 558997
6 LITERALLY 548720
7 SURELY 374911
9 FRANKLY 135921
10 INEVITABLY 118318
12 AMAZINGLY 94722
14 WISELY 70380

I’m simply the latest in a line that can be traced back generations.

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