I've been so curious about whether the adverb 'quickly' can be inserted between the verb 'turn out' and its direct object 'the light'.

For example, is it grammatically correct?

He turns out quickly the light

I have been learning that in terms of syntax an adverb cannot interrupt the close bond between the head and its complement.

  • It certainly sounds more awkward where there is a transitive verb and object. One might comfortably say He spoke intently about his plans, but it sounds cumbersome to say He related intently his plans. Most people, I believe, would prefer, in the latter case, to put the adverb before the verb. Others may find examples which disprove this.
    – WS2
    Feb 5 '17 at 13:19
  • 2
    Note that while the answer in the question FumbleFingers links to states that adverbs cannot intervene between a transitive verb and its direct object, it also cannot intervene between a verb and its particle in a particle verb like this. Only a pronoun representing the direct object of the particle verb can do so. Feb 5 '17 at 15:04

Quickly is an adverb of manner and it can be placed either in the mid position (before the verb or between the auxiliary and verb) or in the end position. A.S.Hornby's 'Guide to Patterns and Usage in English' says: The adverbs well, badly, hard, and many other adverbs indicating manner have end position. They are not placed between a verb and its object. Adverbs of manner in -ly, used with transitive verbs, occupy either the mid position or the end position. (Badly never has mid position.)

Example: He quickly picked up the ball. He picked up the ball quickly.

Another example from the same grammar: Anne speaks French well. (NOT Anne speaks well French.)

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.