Monday, August 31, 2015

Adverbs... WHERE do they GO?

By Paul Ponce, PLS Teacher

If you are trying to be fluent in English, then you're probably not thinking much about grammar. And if that's true, then you're definitely not giving Adverbs much thought.

Adverbs are not a big deal conceptually. Basically, they give us information about:
  • Time: when something happens
  • Manner: how something happens
  • Place: where something happens
  • Degree: to which something happens
  • Frequency: how often something happens
The real challenge for intermediate non-native speakers of English is: Where do they go? There is good reason for the confusion. In many languages, you can put Adverbs anywhere you want in a sentence (or almost anywhere). It's almost poetic.

In English, you can't. English is basic in structure. And the basic logic of English is to communicate: Subject + Verb + Object. In other words: Who does what? And to whom? Or to what?

Adverbs are secondary. They provide extra information. They must be put in the right place. However, instead of reviewing a lot of rules, this post aims to provide an alternative way to remember where to put Adverbs.

Let's learn by observation. Keep in mind here an Adverb can be a single word or a phrase that has the same role (Adverbial Phrase)


Look at the examples and pay attention to WHERE the Adverbs GO in each case. They may go in one place, or in two places, but never in three. So...
  • Does the Adverb GO in the beginning?
  • Does the Adverb GO at the end?
  • Does the Adverb GO before or after a verb?
  • Does the Adverb GO after an adjective?

Remember, Adverbs give us information about...


He visited the museum yesterday.
Yesterday, he visited the museum.
Last year, I traveled to the Bahamas.
I traveled to the Bahamas last year.
See you later.


Let's go there for dinner.
I'm going outside for a while
There's a party upstairs.
The director's office is across the hall.

Manner (most en in ly)

He was badly injured in the accident.
I really need your help.
You totally missed the bus.
Billy plays very well.


It's too dark in that room?
I almost missed the train.
That sandwich is quite expensive.
She's very tired.


They usually take the bus.
I'm never late to work.
She's always studying for her test.
John rarely reads the newspaper.


Come up with your own examples.

For the Rules about Adverbs, you're invited to watch:

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