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


Task 2




Dear Kirk,
Thank you so much for your quick and detailed answer!)
Have a nice day!

explain me the correct word order:
1 He works in a hospital as a doctor
or 2 He works as a doctor in a hospital
My grammar book teaches me to use the first variant. But I learned before that we need to use the adverb of manner (I mean "as a doctor") and then the adverb of place ("in a hospital")
I hope you understand me)

Hello Allessya,

Both sentences are correct. The position of adverbial phrases is flexible and depends a lot on context. For example, imagine that we are talking about your friend who is a doctor (and works in a hospital) and also a professor (and works at a university). If I misunderstood where he works as a doctor and asked 'Is he seeing any patients at the university today?', you could correct my misunderstanding with sentence 1, with emphasis on the word 'hospital' to show me the error I made.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Please explain this to me: The mayor declared open the lab.
The mayor declared opened the lab (is this wrong) I think this is wrong . The first is correct but why the second is wrong; (if it is wrong).
Thank you
Andrew international

Hello Andrew international,

The direct object with 'declare' usually follows the verb:

declare the lab open

declare the lab opened

The first example tells us about the state of the lab - the adjective 'open' describes the lab. The second example uses a participle and has a passive meaning. It tells us that the lab has been opened by someone (possibly the speaker). Thus we can say, for example:

The doctor declared the man dead. [adjective]

The police declared the man murdered. [participle - passive meaning]


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

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?

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,


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,

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,
The LearnEnglish Team 

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