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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

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 

Where adverbials go in a sentence 1
Are the sentences correct or wrong?

1. The builders are working REALLY SLOWLY. When will they be finished?
a. correct
b. wrong
The above question on task one is not correctly marked. Upon filling that the question as wrong the marking scheme says it is right. How ever i believe it is wrong as where the adverbials go in a sentence should not be capitalised. so t ought to read
1. The builders are working really slowly. When will they be finished?
When I go to question two the instruction at the top still reads "Where adverbials go in a sentence 1
Are the sentences correct or wrong?" note the words " in a sentence 1" despite being at sentence two which still has capital letters, the sentence is wrong as the result marker indication is true that the sentence is wrong.
I.E
Where adverbials go in a sentence 1
Are the sentences correct or wrong?
2. Liam lived in Paris for a year so he speaks QUITE WELL French.
a. correct
b. wrong

ETC
Please check out the entire task 1 and review and we will skip task two in the mean time and go through it on our study.

Hello Githuga,

The adverbial is capitalised here to make identification easier for users. We assume that users will recognise this as it is quite a common convention in English to do so and, in our experience, it has not proved to be a problem for our users.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
What does it mean to say "I have never seen William at work"
Does it mean that the speaker has never seen William doing work, or the speaker has never seen William at the place where he works?

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