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I believe the following sentences are grammatically correct and that perhaps the latter has an emphasizing effect on still in certain contexts.

  • There is still some time left.
  • There still is some time left.

I thought the adverb placement rule that adverbs must come after the be-verb (source) is not absolute but rather like a guideline. My friend claims that in spoken English, the second example is fine, but in written English, it is technically ungrammatical.

My questions are:

  1. Are both sentences grammatically correct?
  2. Am I right to think that there are many cases of adverb usage that do not follow the typical adverb placement rules such as the one mentioned above?

Thank you for your input.

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There definitely are examples. There are definitely examples. I can't site any grammatical rules, but neither of the sentences above would sound awkward in spoken American English. The related links on the right show a number of other examples as well: yet, ever and still, to name a few. You may find this discussion interesting. –  Lumberjack Sep 27 '13 at 16:20
    
@Lumberjack Thank you for the link. It indeed looks very interesting! –  hey_world Sep 30 '13 at 16:13
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1 Answer

There are many different kinds of adverbs, and each one has different rules for placement.
This is one reason why knowing that some word "is an adverb" is pretty useless information,
because it doesn't tell you anything about how, when, or why to use it.

Still is a complex temporal quantifier, and refers to temporal continuity from past to present. Like most quantifiers, it can appear either directly before the constituent it binds (in this case the constituent some time left), or before any constituent that contains that (in this case the verb phrase be some time left).

So they're both fine. In this case.
In both speech and writing (anything that works in speech is OK in writing).
Other kinds of adverbs have other rules governing their placement.

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Thank you! It definitely cleared up some of my confusion regarding "adverbs". –  hey_world Sep 30 '13 at 16:08
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