Introduction to Adverbs
Adverbs play a pivotal role in English grammar, and their positioning is critical in sentence formation. They modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, and entire sentences, providing important details or additional information. Usually, adverbs answer the questions: How?, Where?, When?, To what extent?, and Why?
Major Types of Adverbs and Their Placement
Let's take a look at the common types of adverbs and their usual position in a sentence.
Adverbs of Manner
Adverbs of manner answer the question 'How?' and often end in '-ly.' They are usually placed after the verb or object.
He runs quickly.
She answered the question correctly.
Adverbs of Place
Adverbs of place answer the question 'Where?' and are usually positioned after the verb or object.
They live here.
She put the books there.
Adverbs of Time
Adverbs of time answer the question 'When?' The adverb of time is usually placed at the beginning or end of a sentence.
Yesterday, we watched a movie.
We will go to the beach tomorrow.
Adverbs of Frequency
Adverbs of frequency answer the question 'How often?' In most cases, adverbs of frequency occupy the mid-position in a sentence: they are placed after auxiliary verbs, but before other verbs.
She always arrives early.
You have rarely been late.
Adverbs of Degree
Adverbs of degree indicate the intensity or degree to which something happens. These adverbs are typically placed before the word they modify.
He is highly intelligent.
She is fully furnished.
Key Rules for Positioning Adverbs
Rule 1: Adverb at the Beginning of a Sentence
Starting a sentence with an adverb adds emphasis to the entire sentence. This usage is common with adverbs of time and comment adverbs.
Sadly, she could not attend the party.
Tomorrow, we will go shopping.
Rule 2: Adverb at the End of a Sentence
A common position for adverbs is at the end of a sentence, often used with adverbs of manner, place, and time.
She sang the song beautifully.
Put the keys there.
Rule 3: Adverb in the Middle of a Sentence
Adverbs of frequency usually take the mid-position in a sentence: after be and auxiliary verbs (have, do, will, etc.) but before other verbs.
She seldom writes letters.
They do not usually drive to work.
Tips for Using Adverbs
Be aware of the type of adverb you are using, i.e., manner, place, time, frequency, and degree. This understanding will help you place the adverb correctly.
Overuse of adverbs can lead to redundant and awkward sentences. Use them sparingly, and choose verbs that are so precise you don't need the addition of an adverb. For instance, "walk" can be replaced with "strut" or "saunter" to paint a more vivid picture.
Avoid splitting infinitives with adverbs (though some modern grammar guidelines are more relaxed on this rule). Try to keep the infinitive verb ("to" + verb) together when possible, e.g., "She appears to be quickly running" should be "She appears to be running quickly."
Understanding adverb placement is crucial for crafting meaningful and grammatically sound sentences. Remember that adverbs are flexible and can often be moved around within a sentence. The key to adept adverb usage is primarily about clear, effective communication, rather than rigid rule abidance. When unsure, always consider if your sentence conveys the intended meaning. Happy writing!