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I am bit confused when it comes to the positioning of adverbs determinations in a sentence.

I was told that you can place them almost everywhere like in:

To be a teacher not only means to teach a language...

 

To be a teacher means not only to teach a language

Placing adverbs at the beginning or the end of the sentence is not a big problem, as far as I know, but what about the rest.

Are there rules for all this or can you place them anywhere including normal adverbs like "passionately" etc.?

closed as too broad by Edwin Ashworth, KarlG, Nigel J, AndyT, jimm101 Feb 22 '18 at 19:44

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  • "Passionately, they kissed", "They kissed passionately", "They passionately kissed", and "They kissed one-another passionately", - are all idiomatic. – WS2 Feb 21 '18 at 23:04
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    Not and only are not adverbs, in the sense you're familiar with. Not is a negative particle and only is a focussing quantifier. Both of them follow their own rules, individually and together as a construction, rather than rules that are supposed to apply to "adverbs". Just as the rules of behavior are different for ordinary people and police, the rules of syntax are different for heavy-duty grammatical and logical words like modals, negatives, and quantifiers. – John Lawler Feb 22 '18 at 0:47
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  1. Frequency adverbs are placed before an action verb, after the be verb, before or after the auxiliary of the action verb, and at the beginning of a sentence.

  2. The adverb "still" is placed before the action verb but after the be verb. In negative sentences, still comes before the auxiliary.

  3. Recently and lately are placed at the beginning or at the end of a sentence and at the end of a dependent clause. Recently may also be placed after the auxiliary.

  4. Certainly, probably and possibly are placed before the action verb or the auxiliary. They are placed before or after be verbs or at the beginning of the sentence.

  5. Manner adverbs telling "how" or "in what manner" an action was done are placed before or after the action verb, after the be verb, or at the beginning or end of a clause or a sentence.

Reference: English Grammar Digest by Trudy Aronson, 1983


I present another classification for adverbs, too.

A. Adverbs of time

  1. Come after object; if your sentence does not have object, they come after verb.

  2. Specific adverbs of time (like yesterday, tomorrow, and so on) usually come at the end of sentence, but if you want to emphasize, they must be used in the beginning of the sentence.

  3. The following adverbs can come at the end of the sentence or before the main verb:
    recently, already, finally, yet, now, immediately.
    Note: if your verb has another modifier it is better to use them before main verb.

B. Adverbs of place

  1. After object; if your sentence does not have object, they come after verb.

  2. If your sentence has adverbs of time, they come before the adverbs of time.

  3. If you have many adverbs of place, organize them by writing the smallest one at the first.
    Example: He lives at 21, X Ave,London, England.

  4. At the beginning of the sentence.
    Examples: Here it comes. There goes Jack. There he goes.
    (In this case, if the subject of the sentence is a pronoun, then pronoun must come before verb.)

C. Adverbs of manner

  1. After object; if your sentence does not have object, they come after verb.

  2. If the object of the sentence is too long, adverbs come before verb.
    Example: I happily explained what happened at school.

  3. If you want to emphasize, use them in the beginning or at the end of sentence (sometimes before the main verb).

References:

  1. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1,2). Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech
  2. Practical English Usage. Michael Swan
  3. Basic English Usage. Michael Swan
  4. English Grammar for All. M. Ahmadi
  5. Living English Structure. W.S. Allen, Longmans
  • Please add spaces after commas, colons, and numbers, it just makes the text a lot easier to read. – Mari-Lou A Feb 22 '18 at 20:31
  • @Mari-LouA oh yes I understood.I won't repeat it in my next posts.thanks for your recommendation – Lara Feb 22 '18 at 20:37

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