The following rules show the position of adverbs in sentences. learn abut them and use adverb in your sentences accurately, but initially we look at adverb.
Adverb: An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, an adjective and another adverb.
- He drove slowly. = Describes a verb
- He drove a very fast car. = Describes an Adjective
- She moved quite slowly down the aisle.= Describes another
Position of Adverbs Rules
This is one common mistake among ESL learners, they sometimes misplace adverbs in sentences. We can put adverbs in different positions in sentences. The following rules describe position of adverbs in sentences.
1. Three normal positions of adverbs in English Sentences.
Adverb at the beginning of sentences.
- Unfortunately, we could not win the final match.
Adverb in the middle of a sentences.
- The children often ride their bikes.
Adverb at the end of a sentence.
- We play football every afternoon.
2. Position of adverb in different tenses
Simple past tense
- You just called Ali.
- Did you just call Ali?
Past continuous tense
- You were just playing when they came.
Past perfect tense
You had previously studied English before you moved to New York.
Past perfect continuous tense
- You had only been waiting there for a few minutes when she arrived.
Simple present tense
- You only speak English.
Present continuous tense
- You are still watching TV.
Present perfect tense
They have just gone outside.
Present perfect continuous tense
She has only been working here since 2015.
Simple future tense
- I will probably win the match tomorrow.
Future perfect continuous tense
- They will still be playing the game when the guest arrives.
Future perfect tense
- The will only have won the first match.
Future perfect continuous tense
- I will just have been watering the plants for few minutes.
3. Different adverb and their positions in sentences.
Position of adverbs in sentences also depends on their type. Some adverbs can bu used in different positions.
Adverb of manner
When adverb of manner is used at mid-positions of a sentences it gives less emphasis.
- He quickly corrected his mistake.
- They easily won the match.
When adverb of manner is used at the end of sentences it gives more emphasis.
- We could pass the test easily.
- We accepted the party happily.
Adverbs of manner not ending in -ly (like well, hard, and fast) can only appear in the end position:
- They dance well.
- He’s working hard.
- She runs fast.
Adverbs of time and frequency
Definite frequency like: daily, weekly, every year, last week, these adverbs can bu used at front-position or end- position.
- We play football everyday.
- Everyday, we play football.
Note: The single-word adverbs of frequency cannot go in front position.
We take three times meal daily.
Let’s have test weekly to keep the students on their toes.
Words like: often, usually, frequently, occasionally, sometimes, rarely, always, never, finally, eventually, soon.
These adverbs can be used in various positions in a sentence, except always and never, they go in the mid-position, before the verb.
- She always come to class late.
- She never completed her homework.
The others can be used in various positions.
- Usually I take the bus to work.
- You will soon be finished with school.
- We drink tea occasionally.
Note: Adverb can not be used between the verb and its object.
- We drink occasionally wine.= Incorrect
Adverb of place
Adverbs of place usually come in mid- position or end-position.
- The pollution appear everywhere.
- We step towards perfection.
Adverb of certainly
Words like: definitely, certainly, clearly, obviously, probably, maybe, perhaps.
Maybe and perhaps go in front-position.
Maybe it will rain today.
Perhaps we should go early.
Other adverb of certainly go in the mid-position.
- We will probably arrange a new class.
- This is certainly not our fault.
Connecting and commenting adverbs
Connecting adverbs show the relationship between events or ideas: Ex) however, anyway, then, next, similarly, additionally, furthermore, otherwise.
Commenting adverbs show us the speaker’s attitude or opinion about the sentence: Ex) fortunately, surprisingly, stupidly, personally, honestly.
Both of these adverbs are usually used in the front position.
- First the children should complete their home works. Then go outside.
- I don’t know how to play piano. Furthermore, I am not interested also.
The words like: very, really, extremely, terribly, quite, pretty, almost etc.
These words usually go in the mid-position, immediately before the word that they emphasize.
- I am very tired.
- The match was really outstanding.
- The lesson was pretty easy to understand.