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Where adverbials go in a sentence

Level: beginner

We normally put adverbials after the verb:

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

If the verb has an object or complement we put the adverbial 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.

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.

Where adverbials go in a sentence 1

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Where adverbials go in a sentence 2

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Comments

This is absolutely helpful.

"Corruption is very widespread"
Hello, is the above sentence correct please?

Hello raphway

Yes, that is grammatically correct. Well done!

Best wishes

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir
Can an adverb of degree qualify an adverb of time?
Ex: We started rather early for the camp.
As per my understanding , rather is ( ad of degree) and early is (ad of time). Kindly explain. Thank you.

Hi amrita_enakshi

Yes, 'rather early', 'very early', etc. are all correct -- adverbs like 'rather' and 'very' are often called intensifiers since they strengthen the meanings of other words or phrases.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there,
In task one there is a sentence, "I don’t USUALLY watch football on TV,.. ". I did it wrong because I thought 'Usually' should come before don't i.e "I usually don't watch football on TV.. " is this correct too? and if it is, then is there some different between the two or they mean same?
Regards

Hi SajadKhan,

Adverbs of frequency (like 'usually') usually go in front of the main verb. In the sentence you ask about, 'watch' is the main verb and 'don't' is the auxiliary verb, which is why the correct answer is what it is. That said, your version of the sentence is not exactly wrong; it's just not the standard location for the adverb. There is no difference in meaning between the two, though sometimes putting the adverb at the beginning of the sentence gives it more emphasis -- though in such a case it is usually the first word.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I suppose what you have explained here are the ground rules
we put the adverbials "after the object or complement" (the second instance in the text above) :

He opened the door quietly.
Following the rule, you have placed 'quietly' in the end.

If this is the case then do you think the following sentence is correct?

"He said goodnight to her and quietly shut the bedroom door."
In this particular sentence, 'quietly' has been placed before the object. Please help.

As a matter of fact, I am always confused when it comes to using a preposition at a proper place.

If you see, I have written a sentence within the bracket and have placed 'above' in the end. Is this correct?

Hello mou,

The position of adverbs in the sentence is quite flexible. For example, all of these sentence are correct:

He opened the door quietly.

He quietly opened the door.

Quietly, he opened the door.

In certain contexts (such as literary works) other positions may even be possible, though unusual. However, certain positions are more common than others and so we indicate these on the page (normally, usually, we can...).

The preposition 'above' in your sentence is correct. It comes after 'text' because it describes the position of the text. There is an implied object after the preposition: ...the text above this.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
In Mr. Peter M replied on 12 February, 2018, he said :You can use 'only' in several ways :
You should only speak to him.

You only should speak to him.

You should speak to him only / to only him.

So why is this sentence just only said that

You should only take the red pills, not the blue ones.

not

You only should take the red pills, not the blue ones.

Why is that? Please explain it to me. Thanks

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