Adverb Position

Adverbs with verbs

When an adverb modifies a verb, there are usually 3 possible positions within the sentence or clause:

1. FRONT - before subject   Now I will read a book.
2. MID - between subject + verb I often read books.
3. END - after verb/object I read books carefully.  

Adverbs with adjectives/adverbs

When an adverb modifies an adjective or another adverb, it usually goes in front of the word that it modifies, for example:

  adverb adjective  
She gave him a really dirty look.
  adverb adverb  
We quite often study English.

Kind of adverb can influence position

The position of an adverb often depends on the kind of adverb (manner, place, time, degree). The following table gives you some guidelines for placement based on the kind of adverb.

kind of adverb mainly modifies sentence usual position
manner verbs She spoke gently.   END
place verbs He lived here.   END
time definite verbs I'll do it today.   END
frequency We often go to Paris. MID
degree verbs, adj. and adv. I nearly died. MID
It was terribly funny. before adj.
He works really fast. before adv.
Warning: these are guidelines only, and not complete. There are many exceptions.

Mini Quiz

Test your understanding with this quick quiz.

1. In which sentence are the adverbs positioned correctly?

Joe quickly works usually.
Joe usually works quickly.
Joe usually quickly works.
a) Joe quickly works usually. b) Joe usually works quickly. c) Joe usually quickly works.

2. In which sentence is the adverb-modifying adverb "perfectly" correctly positioned?

She looks well perfectly.
She perfectly looks well.
She looks perfectly well.
a) She looks well perfectly. b) She perfectly looks well. c) She looks perfectly well.

3. In which sentence is the adverb of degree "almost" correctly positioned?

I almost fell over.
I fell over almost.
I fell almost over.
a) I almost fell over. b) I fell over almost. c) I fell almost over.

4. In which sentence is the adverb of place "overseas" correctly positioned?

James overseas still lives.
James still overseas lives.
James still lives overseas.
a) James overseas still lives. b) James still overseas lives. c) James still lives overseas.

Your score is:

Correct answers: