I'm reading a professionally written business document and I am seeing the word "is" placed oddly to my eyes and ears. I wanted to see if there is a grammatical reason for the choice that I should be following.

Example: Reading a book largely is an indoor activity.

I would write that: reading a book is largely an indoor activity.

Is the former grammatically more correct (or more grammatically correct)? Or is it just the style of the author?

  • The preferred position of largely would be after the is. Answering questions is largely a matter of choice. – Lambie Jun 15 '16 at 13:41
  • I think it is a question about the position of the adverb "largely", not that of the verb "be". Where did you find the sentence? See if the linked question helps. Adverb order: 'has largely been' or 'has been largely' – user140086 Jun 15 '16 at 13:43

"Is largely"

It's to do with parsing the sentence, rather than grammar, I think.

Consider "Reading a book is largely an indoor activity." - this is broken down into

Reading a book 
is largely 
an indoor activity.

On the other hand, "Reading a book largely is an indoor activity." runs the risk of being parsed as

Reading a book largely 
is an indoor activity.

Ie, that largely has become an adverb, and you're talking about "Reading a book largely", like "Reading a book quietly" or "Reading a book quickly".

"Is largely" avoids that confusion.

  • I agree with your thinking, which is why it was odd to see the "largely is" version used repeatedly in this document which has, I'm sure been through multiple layers of edits and proofing. I thought there must be a reason for that usage. – user181027 Jun 15 '16 at 14:10
  • 1
    Largely is an adverb in both cases, but the awkwardness of the placement is that it could be modifying either is (which makes sense) or reading (which would be a very unorthodox description). – Chappo Says SE Dudded Monica Jun 15 '16 at 14:33
  • Good point @Chappo - I tend to forget that "is" is a verb too. – Max Williams Jun 15 '16 at 14:36

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