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Timothy Takemoto

I tend to recommend to my students to put the adverb at the end, to be safe. This is because
1) My students are Japanese and have a tendency to put the adverb at the beginning, and I would like to break this habit.
2) It seems to me that it is the safest place to put it. But I am not sure.
3) Some adverbs that they tend to use a lot, such as "well" (skillfully) and "hard" (with vigour) often do not go elsewhere.

I tell them that adverbs of degree and frequency are better (sometimes only) place immediately before that which they modify.

But generally, I say, when in doubt, put adverbs last because that is safest.

To test this theory, I googled for '"is an adverb" -what' and then used the sample sentence or when there wasn't one, I googled the word again.

safely, sharp, equisitely, late, either, almost,

He played it safely. OK
He safely played it. ?
He payed safely it. X

He came at eigh o'clock sharp. OK
He sharp came at eight o'clock. X
He came sharp at eight o'clock. Hmm

He arrived at class late. OK
He late arrived at class. X
He arrived late at class. OK

The batroom has been restored equisitely. OK
The bathroon has been equisitely restored. OK

5) Either
I don't like it either. OK
I don't either like it. X
I don't like either it. X

6) almost
X is almost Y. OK
X almost is Y. X
X is Y Almost. Hmm

7) Immediately
He found his keys immediately. OK
He immediately found his keys. OK
He found immediately his keys. X

8) altogether
They were against it altogether.
They were altogether against it.
They were against altogether it.

9) formally
She announced her intention formally.
She formally announced her intention. OK
She announced formally her intention. X

10) yesterday
I sang at the concert yesterday.
I yesterday sang at the concert.
I sang yesterday at concert. OKish

The exception is adverbs of degree, which come before the verb. Perhaps and surely do not come at the end either, apparently. Peraps we can say that adverbs that relate to whether the verb was carried out or not, do not come at the end (because the verb may not have ended?!).

I do not know of a grammar for learners that gives 'the safest' grammatical form. It would be nice to have one.



Goolge desktop brought me back to this page 5 years later.

I am still recommending that my students put adverbs at the end of sentences.

From the examples I give above it seems that the end of the sentence is the *safest* place for adverbs (especially when taking into account adverbial phrases indicating time and place - e.g. "yesterday" and "here").

So, I am convinced by my comment above!


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