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Which statement is preferable: “I am eternally grateful” or “I am grateful eternally”?

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    Which is preferable depends on your purpose in using the phrase. Please add that important piece of context to your question. – Lawrence Feb 9 '18 at 23:24
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The first one. When an adverb is meant to modify an adjective, another adverb, or a participle, it always precedes it. E.g.:

She is incredibly beautiful (adverb + adjective).

He was driving very fast (adverb + adverb).

He is a well-spoken man (adverb + participle).

Plus, your goal is to express how grateful you are; therefore, it's normal that the word "eternally" will be emphasized, thus placed before "grateful".

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    Can't 'eternally' be modifying the whole main clause, as in 'I am busy all the time'? – Edwin Ashworth Feb 9 '18 at 21:43
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    As in, I am eternally busy? Yes, I don't see why not. – Narcisa Caraza Feb 9 '18 at 21:54
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    So why not 'I am grateful all the time / eternally'? – Edwin Ashworth Feb 9 '18 at 22:31
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    I don't think that's a fair comparison. All the time is a phrase acting like an adverb, whereas eternally is a "real" adverb, so to speak. And that's simply how native English speakers use adverbs. Consider this sentence: "I am eternally, consistently, overwhelmingly grateful for arriving back to my country." How would that sound if instead it was: "I am grateful eternally, consistently, overwhelmingly for arriving back to my country"? A bit strange, I think. – Narcisa Caraza Feb 9 '18 at 23:14
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    He was really helpful yesterday / They are late occasionally / They are cheeky sometimes ... show that the terminal position for adverbs is by no means unidiomatic. But distribution is idiosyncratic. Here, it may well be that 'I am eternally grateful' is the idiomatic choice, but if the adverb is modifying the whole main clause, 'when an adverb is meant to modify an adjective, another adverb, or a participle, it always precedes it' is not the reason for placing it medially. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 9 '18 at 23:45

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