Adverbs | Part 3 | Adverbs position in a sentence

The podcast episode about ADVERBS can be found at Adverbs | PODCAST.

The article presents the commonest positions of adverbs in sentence in certain cases.

There are three common positions for adverbs in a sentence: front position, mid position, and end position.

Adverbs that modify adjectives or other adverbs usually come before them (examples: very tired, quite quickly, etc)

Adverbs that qualify a whole sentence usually come at the beginning but they can have a mid position or end position (examples: Still, I don’t think it is true).

Adverbs that qualify verbs are used in a great variety of positions. However, I will present the commonest positions in certain cases.

Situation 1

Adverbs of manner, place, and time are commonly used at the end of a sentence following the order shown in the example.

Example: The principal spoke well at the ceremony yesterday morning.

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Well – adverb of manner (1)
At the ceremony – adverb of place (2)
Yesterday morning – adverb of time (3)

The situation is a little bit different when the sentence contains a verb of movement. In this situation the adverb of place comes immediately after the verb.

Example: They got here easily today.
Here – adverb of place

Situation 2

Adverbs of frequency usually come before the main part of a verb (the verb “be” in present and past simple tenses creates an exception).

Example 1: I have always lived in this house.
Example 2: I am never bad-tempered.

As an observation … an adverb is not usually put between the verb and its direct object. Other positions are usually preferred.

The student reads the lesson quickly.
Quickly the student reads the lesson.
The student quickly reads the lesson.

1 Comment - Leave a comment
  1. Bob says:

    Hi Dan.

    Thanks for this. But you write:

    “Adverbs that qualify a whole sentence usually come at the beginning but they can have a mid position or end position (examples: Still, I don’t think it is true).”

    I guess the others two would be (2) “I still don’t think it is true.” and (3) “I don’t think it is still true.” and – possibly – (4) “I don’t think it is true still.”.

    While all are sort of possible I think I see different meanings here. The first (yours) implies somewhat mild disagreement. The second – “still don’t” sounds somewhat more emphatic. The third implies that it was true in he past but is no longer true; though in this case the “still” could be regarded as referring to the word “true” and not to the whole sentence. But in the rather dubious “I don’t think it is true still.” I have the same impression.

    My point is, I guess, that while you can move the adverb you may also be moving the emphasis.


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