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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 adtyagrwl3,

It could mean either of those things, depending on the context, but the second is by far the more likely. If the speaker wanted to express the first meaning then 'I've never seen William working' would be much more likely.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, Sir!

Hello kirk,
Thank you for reply.Therefore my two sentences seem strange and better not to use them.

Hello,
I have a question about the place of adverbs of frequency.According to the above instruction we put adv of frequency in front of verb.So if we want to make a negative sentence do we put them in front of the verb?For example, I don't almost always watch TV at night. Or it is better to put them at the end of the sentence.I don't watch TV at night almost always.If the first one is wrong please tell it's reason.
Thank You

Hi shadyar,

In general, adverbs of frequency go before verbs (except 'be') whether they are affirmative or negative (e.g. 'I normally watch the news' or 'I don't normally watch the news'), though with some adverbs other positions are possible.

'almost always' with a negative verb could be used to refute a false claim, but otherwise sounds strange. If you want to describe your TV habits and you only rarely watch TV at night, I'd recommend something like 'I almost never watch TV at night' instead.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,

"My friends come to my home often."
"Usually my friends come to my home."

These sentence are correct.

Hello colonyhari,

Yes. Adverbs of indefinite frequency (e.g. often, normally, usually, often, etc.) are most common in mid-position, i.e. before or around the verb, but can also go in front position (i.e. at the beginning of the sentence) and also end position (at the end), especially if they are the most relevant information in the sentence.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello
I wanted to ask you a question. Can an adverb modify a noun? Could you please give me some examples? Thank you very much.

Hello Sokhom Kim,

No, an adverb cannot modify a noun directly. Adverbs can add information to verbs or to adjectives, but not nouns.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

But Sir,
"Only John came last night."

In this sentence the adverb 'Only' modify the noun 'John' directly...
What you say about this ??

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