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14. Adverbs and word order


1 Where do adverbs go?

There are three places in the sentences where an adverb can go. They are called front position (at the beginning of a sentence), mid position (see 2) and end position (at the end of a sentence).

2 Mid position

Mid position means close to the verb. Here are some examples of adverbs in mid position.

The adverb comes after the first auxiliary, e.g. are, has, don't.
If there is no auxiliary, then the adverb comes before the main verb, e.g.
hate, left.

Note the word order in questions.
Has Andrew always liked Jessica?
Do you
often go out in the evening?

When the verb
be is on its own, the adverb usually comes after it.
The boss is usually in a bad temper.
certainly a lot better today.

When there is stress on the main verb
be or on the auxiliary, then the adverb usually comes before it.
You certainly are a lot better today.
really have made a mess, haven't I?

3 Verb and object

An adverb does not usually go between the verb and the direct object.
We put it in end position, after the object.

But an adverb can go before a long object.
Detectives examined carefully the contents of the dead man's pockets.

4 Adverbs of manner

An adverb of manner tells us how something happens, e.g. noisily, quickly. It usually goes in end position, but an adverb which ends in -Iy can sometimes go in mid position.
We asked permission politely. - We politely asked permission.

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