Position of adverbs

Posições dos advérbios

Inglês Conversação Gramática Todos os níveis
Position of adverbs
Carla M.
em 25 de Março de 2019

There are three basic positions to place adverb in a sentence as follows.

The front position: before the subject of the sentence. It gives information in advance, to set the scene for the action that follows.

The mid position: the adverb in this position is intimately connected with the verb, generally placed immediately before it. If there is an auxiliary verb, the adverb is placed between the auxiliary and main verb (She resolved she would never see him again.); In case there are two, it is placed between them (This operation has neverbeen performed in this country.). If there is a negative auxiliary, the adverb normally goes after the negative element (We don’t usually go to restaurant on Sundays.), but we can emphasize negation by placing the adverb just before it (She probably won’t meet him.).

The end position: at the end of the sentence.

The most common types of adverb and their position in clause:

  • Adverb of frequency – Middle position
  • Adverb of time – End position, following adverbs of manner and location
  • Adverb of manner – End position, preceding other adverbs
  • Conjunctive adverb – Beginning position
  • Adverb of Degree – Before the words they describe or emphasize

The following is a detailed list of possibilities. Observe that position may depend on the meaning of the adverb.

Adverb Placement: The Front Position

Conjunctive Adverbs

(Linking adverbs)

Linking adverbs (such as however, then, next, besides, as a result, etc.) are adverbs that are used to link ideas or clauses in spoken discourse or written text. They could also be called conjunctive adverbs in so far as they perform the same sort of function as conjunctions.

Some of them may also be found in the mid position.

However may occupy any of the three positions.

Everyone played well. However, we still lost the game.

Everyone played well; however, we still lost the game.

Everyone played well. We still lost the game, however.

Adverbs of Frequency

Usually, normally, often, frequently, occasionally, sometimes, regularly, always, …

Neverrarelyseldom, … require subject-verb inversion.

This type of adverb can be placed at any to the three positions; the front and end positions are emphatic. The mid position is the most frequent and neutral.

Examples:

Sometimes I see him at the supermarket.

I see him at the supermarket sometimes.

sometimes see him at the supermarket.

Adverbs of Certainty

perhaps, maybe.

Example:

Perhaps he’s not coming in the end.

Other adverbs of certainty go in the mid-position: definitely, probably, certainly.

They are often found as short answers in discourse.

Adverbs of Time

The front position is possible if the adverb is not the main point of the sentence.

Example:

Tomorrow I’m going to Dublin.

Adverbs of Place

Most often go in the end-position but can also be positioned at the beginning of the sentence, specially in literary writing.

Example:

Next to the bookshelf was a fireplace.

Adverbs of Manner

Slowly, suddenly, badly, quietly…

Examples:

Unfortunately, I’ve got to work on Christmas Eve.

Suddenly, the eagle opened its wings.

Porto Alegre / RS
Graduação: Letras (IPA Metodista)
Gramática em Inglês Conversação em Inglês
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