Here are three ways to say the same thing. I wonder if there are particular rules regarding to the position of adverb phrases:

Then play those passages over and over again in your memory


Then play those passages in your memory over and over again


Then play over and over again those passages in your memory

I think the last is the worst choice but the first twos seem ok. The first is better because "over and over again" is closer to "play" so it is emphasized. Agreed?

  • Of the first two: are you emphasizing the repetition or the mental aspect? Aug 4, 2013 at 23:04

2 Answers 2


The last one sounds bad because it puts an adverbial phrase between the verb and the direct object.

I believe opinion varies as to whether this is grammatical; some people think it is always ungrammatical. My opinion is that it's not strictly ungrammatical, but that you should only do this as a last resort when the direct object is extremely long and the adverb sounds even worse everywhere else.


"Grammar," and I am not exactly sure what the word means, does not answer all questions. "Over and over again" tells reader/listener when and how often something was being played. "In your memory" tells the reader/listener where something was being played. Both phrases modify the same verb. I'd put the most important modifying phrase closer to the verb play. You might, also, highlight the most important phrase by using those weird, unnecessary commas that are popular, nowadays.

  • 1
    This answer would be better with less side commentary and more analysis of the question. In particular, it doesn't address why the third example sounds awkward. Aug 5, 2013 at 5:31

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