Where do adverbials go in a sentence?

We normally put adverbials after the verb:

He spoke angrily.
They live just here.
We will go in a few minutes.

or after the object or complement:

He opened the door quietly.
She left the money on the table.
We saw our friends last night.
You are looking tired tonight.

But adverbials of frequency (how often) usually come in front of the main verb:

We usually spent our holidays with our grandparents.
I have never seen William at work.

But if we want to emphasise an adverbial we can put it at the beginning of a clause:

Last night we saw our friends.
In a few minutes we will go.
Very quietly he opened the door.

If we want to emphasise an adverb of manner we can put it in front of the main verb:

He quietly opened the door.
She had carefully put the glass on the shelf.

Try these tasks to practice your use of placement of adverbials.

Task 1

Exercise

Task 2

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hi!
I'd like to ask if we can use "through" with the meaning "because of".
Is it natural to use such form? Are there some exceptions, when we should't use it?
Thanks

Hi Liza,

It's easier for us to comment if you can provide an example sentence using the structure. I think the use you are thinking about does not exactly mean 'because of' but rather 'thanks to' or 'as a result of'. In other words, it does not describe the person's reason so much as what makes something possible:

Through his training, he was able to survive.

Thanks to/As a result of his training, he was able to survive.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello there,

If I rephrase the following question from the exercise, would it be still grammatically correct?

'The minister ANGRILY refused to answer any more of the journalists’ questions.'

(rephrase) 'The minister refused ANGRILY to answer any more of the journalists’ questions.'

Also, I think the following question 'Hilary went into a cafe and ordered QUICKLY a cup of coffee' is correct because we should put the adverbials after the verb. I know for emphasis we can put the adverbial before the main verb.

Additionally, do you think I have structured the following sentence correclty 'If I rephrase the following question from the exercise, would it be still grammatically correct?

As always, thank you for your help.

Kind Regards,
SK

Hello SK,

The position of adverbs is a tricky matter, as different kinds of adverbs tend to go in different positions. It's rather a lot for me to go into here, but there is a useful page on this in the Cambridge Dictionary that I'd recommend you take a look at.

To answer your specific questions, your first and second rephrasals are not incorrect, though they sound unusual, i.e. the adverbs sound more natural in the other positions. And yes, your question is structured correctly and sounds natural – good work!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team 

Hi, may l ask why we need to remember the sentences from task 1 for finish task 2 ?

Hi wenzhang66,

Different people learn in different ways and this kind of activity requires memorisation, which can be a very helpful process for some learners in internalising structures and lexis.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
I am confused about the use of comma before " too". So, would you please explain to me when the comma is used before it and when it is not.

Regards
Abdullah

Hi Abdullah,

I'm afraid I can't list a series of rules for you on this. A lot of it is stylistic, and optional rather than fixed. Perhaps you have a particular sentence or two (not a list of ten, please!) which you'd like to ask about. If so, we'll be happy to comment.

 


Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

May you please explain the order of the adverbs in the phrase "I have been trying to learn the language since 2000, but only recently have I been able to make some real progress" as well as the place of the subject pronoun in the secondary part of the phrase (have I been)?

Thanks

Hello Mayela,

What's happening with the word order in the second part is called 'inversion'. After some phrases (especially ones that have a negative or restricting meaning, e.g. 'hardly', not only', 'only then', 'only recently', etc.) the normal word order of subject + verb is inverted, i.e. becomes verb + subject. When the verb has more than one word, only the auxiliary verb is inverted – this is the case with 'only recently have (auxiliary verb) I (subject) been able to make (rest of the verb).

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team 

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