Position of Adverbs

Adverbs of manner which answer the question “How” (for example, well, fast, quickly, calmly, etc.) are generally placed after the verb or after the object if the object is only one.

For example,

  • It is raining heavily.
  • He is moving quickly.

Adverb phrases of place (such as here, there, everywhere, on the wall) and of time (such as now, then, yet, today, next Monday), are usually placed after the verb or after the object if there is one.

For example,

  • I shall come there.
  • She is coming next Sunday.

When there are two or more adverbs after a verb or after its object, the normal order of putting adverbs is

  • Firstly, adverb of manner
  • Adverb of place
  • Adverb of time

Example,

  • We would go there tomorrow night.
  • He spoke earnestly at the meeting last night.

Adverbs of frequency, which answer the question “How often?” (for example, never, often, always, usually, rarely) and certain other adverbs like almost, hardly, already, just, nearly, quite, are normally put between the subject and the verb if the verb consists of only one word. If there is more than one word in the verb, they are used after the first word.

For example,

  • His wife never abuses.
  • I always perform the duty honestly.

If the verb is “be” (is, am, are), these adverbs are placed after the verb. For example,

  • I am never late from school.
  • He is always available at home.

The above adverbs are usually put before an auxiliary or the single verb “be” when it is stressed. Look at the following example,

  • Do you eat pizza? Ye, I always eat.
  • Will you be free on Sunday? Yes, I usually am free on Sunday.

The auxiliaries (“used to” and “have to”) prefer the adverb in front of them. For example,

  • I often have to reach school on foot.
  • I always used to agree with you.

When an adverb modifies an adjective or another adverb, the adverb usually comes before it. For example,

  • Peter is a rather lazy boy.
  • The car was quite smooth.

But the adverb “enough” is always placed after the word it modifies, for example,

  • I have enough money.
  • She is good enough.

As…as combination is used in positive whereas so…as combination is used in negative sentences. For example,

  • He is as good as his friend.
  • He is not so good as his friend.

As a rule the words “only, never, merely” should be placed immediately before the word it modifies. For example,

  • I asked only two sums.
  • He has slept only three hours.

In spoken English, “only” is usually put before the verb. The required meaning is obtained by stressing the word which the “only” modifies. For example, I only solved two sums.

Words like “not one, not until, very seldom and never again” if used at the beginning of a sentence, “verb” must be placed after the words of before subject. For example,

  • Never again shall I see you.
  • Never have I done it.

Remember that “sometime” means at some time in the indefinite future. It is usually used after a verb and answers the question “when”.

For example,

  • Let’s have lunch sometime.
  • Why don’t you call me sometime?

Remember that sometime means occasionally.

“Sometimes” is usually used “at the beginning” or “at the end of a sentence or a clause”. It answers the question “how often?”.

For example,

  • He often comes to see me sometimes.

Remember that “introductory adverbial modifier”, “once” means “at one time” in the past. It must occur at the beginning of any sentence. No other word should be used before it.

It answers the question “when”. It is often used as an introductory modifier. It modifies the main clause that follows the clause. For example, Once it was a barren land, it is now a garden.

Remember that “while” means “at the same time”. It answers the question “when”. It is often used as an “introductory adverbial modifier”. For example, I was very homesick while a student abroad.

Remember that “when” also means “at the same time” but “when” must be used before a subject and a verb in the same clause. For example, When he was still teaching at college, he was doing important research.