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.

  • 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
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 16:20
  • @Lumberjack Thank you for the link. It indeed looks very interesting!
    – hey_world
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 16:13

2 Answers 2


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.

  • Thank you! It definitely cleared up some of my confusion regarding "adverbs".
    – hey_world
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 16:08

Examples from reputed journals 1. "Despite significant recent advances in our understanding of complex systems, the field is still in flux, and there is still is a lack of consensus as to where the centre is" JOURNAL NATURE|VOL 427 | 29 JANUARY 2004 |www.nature.com/nature (Impact factor, 40.1)

  1. "..there is still is ample room for general engagement to signal market needs upstream.." JOURNAL Technovation (Elsevier)

  2. "However, many years later there is still is no widely available vaccine recommended for use in humans" Therapeutic Advances in Infectious Disease (SAGE)

Examples from other reputed/reliable sources:

While this data surely helps countries hours away from an approaching tsunami, there is still is very little that satellites and around-the-clock command centers can do for hundreds of thousands of people living in vulnerable coastal communities.

There is still is so much room for growth, development and change.


  1. Although the need for a gorilla sanctuary isn’t incredibly great, there is still is a need.
  2. There is still is a noticeable odour surrounding the skeleton.
  3. while there is still is a great need for activism unhindered by the political constraints of government funding (such as the cross-issue anti-poverty work Freedom Center did), the regional advances in peer-run services are huge. ....& Many more...
  • 1
    Strong evidence that copyediting is a thing of the past where online journalism is concerned.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 8:39
  • 1
    In the 3rd source, there are three instances where the author uses "…there is still" (1) …there is still no effective prophylactic therapy, (2) …there is still a reliance on antimicrobial agents for treatment of CDI. and (3) …many years later there is still is no widely available vaccine. The last instance is a typo, it makes no sense otherwise.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 8:45

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