Grammar » B1+ Grammar lessons and exercises » Position of adverbs and adverb phrases
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  • Position of adverbs and adverb phrases

    Exercise 1

    Choose the correct option to complete the following sentences.

    1She liked .

    2 sure of what will happen.

    3Please, .

    4Our team lose.

    5We were playing .

    6 to their rooms if they misbehaved.

    7A: 'Does she behave well?'  B: '.'

    8Thousands of people .

    9Emma Larson .

    10I in the dark.


     

  • Position of adverbs – Grammar chart

    Position of adverbs and adverb phrases

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    Initial position, mid position and final position

    We can put adverbs and adverb phrases in three positions: initial position, mid position, or final position.

    Initial position: at the beginning of the sentence.

    • Sometimes I feel a bit lost. 
    • Yesterday I went to the library. 

    Final position: at the end of the sentence.

    • She arrived very late
    • We have to move quickly

    Mid position

    This is the position where most adverbs are placed. It is before the main verb.

    • I often call him to know how he is.
    • They don’t always answer the phone.

    After the verb be (when it is the main verb).

    • They are often late. 

    After the auxiliary verb or the first auxiliary verb (when there are two or more auxiliary verbs)

    • You must never do that again. 
    • I have often been tempted to tell her I love her. 

     

    Types of adverbs and their position

    Adverbs of frequency (=how often)

    Adverbs of frequency usually go in mid position, although a few of them (sometimes, usually and normally) can also go in initial position.

    Mid position

    • I usually work on Saturdays
    • She’s hardly ever late
    • You should always knock at the door.

    Initial positionsometimes, usually, normally

    • Sometimes he can be very stubborn. 

    Adverbs of manner (=how)

    Adverbs of manner can be used in any of the three positions; however, their most common position is the final position.

    Final position

    • I don’t understand you when you speak quickly.
    • She can dance salsa marvellously.

    Mid position
    Adverbs of manner are used in this position mainly in literary style, although they normally go in this position with passive verb forms.

    • He carefully took the flower and put it in the jar. (=literary)
    • The driver was seriously injured. (NOT: was injured seriously)

    Some adverbs of manner cannot be placed in mid position: well, badly, hard, fast.

    Initial position
    Adverbs of manner are used in this position only in literary style.

    • Carefully, she opened the box.

    Adverbs of time (=when)

    Final position
    We normally place adverbs of time in final position.

    • They’ll be here soon.
    • It rained a lot yesterday.

    Initial position
    We can also use adverbs of time in initial position. We place them in this position for emphasis or to structure a text (as connecting devices).

    • Two days after their wedding, they slip up.
    • Last week, she arrived late every day.

    Comment adverbs

    Viewpoint or comment adverbs, e.g. obviously, luckily, unfortunately, honestly, etc., are normally placed in initial position.

    • Unfortunately, we arrived half an hour late.
    • Ideally, we should leave at 10.00.

    Adverbs of degree (=how much)

    Almost, hardly, nearly, quite, rather, scarcely, etc. 

    Most degree adverbs usually go in mid position.

    • We were nearly hit by a car in the street. 
    • I would rather stay here if you don’t mind. 

    Very, extremely, incredibly, absolutely, etc. 

    They are placed before the adjective or adverb they modify.

    • We’re incredibly tired.
    • It’s absolutely impossible to do it right. 

    Much, a lot, a bit
    They are normally used after the verb they complement.

    • Britons drink a lot
    • He doesn’t talk much

    A little
    It’s normally placed before the adjective or adverb they modify.

    • I’m a little tired. 

     

    Manner, place and time

    When we have to use different adverbs in final position, their order is usually manner, place and time.

    • They met by chance in England in 1999

    Note that when there is a verb of movement, the order is place, manner and time.

    • He goes to school by car every day

     

    Verb and object

    Verbs and objects can never be separated. We cannot place any adverbs between them.

    • I like pizza a lot. (NOT I like a lot pizza)
    • He speaks English very well. (NOT He speaks very well English)
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