I need to answer a business-related e-mail. Which one is correct grammatically?

  1. We request your approval to use efficiently the money we collected.
  2. We request your approval to use the money we collected efficiently.
  • 1
    Did you collect the money efficiently, or do you want to use it efficiently? Is using money efficiently necessarily a good thing? (I know a few Nigerian princes who want to efficiently use my money.) There seem to be a lot of rhetorical considerations here that goes beyond where you put the adverb. – TaliesinMerlin Feb 13 at 20:30
  • What do you think so far? This kind of question is better suited to English Language Learners.SE – Mitch Feb 13 at 20:36

The correct option is #2:

We request your approval to use the money we collected efficiently.

Alternatively, you could write:

We request your approval to efficiently use the money we collected.

The latter option parses more naturally to me, as "efficiently" here is not modifying the verb "to collect", but rather, the verb "to use". Therefore, it is best to keep the adverb as close to the verb it modifies as possible, but to keep it in front of the verb.

  • 2
    I think you're correct in your alternative version of the sentence. The #2 option you start with suggests that the money was collected efficiently, which doesn't seem to be the OP's intent. – Nuclear Wang Feb 13 at 21:29
  • @NuclearWang I do agree, but option 2 is the less wrong of the two proposed by OP, so I felt like it needed called out. While it's unclear, it could still be parsed for the correct meaning. – Blue Caboose Feb 13 at 22:14
  • What's wrong with option 1? – Andreas Blass Feb 13 at 23:45
  • According to some sources are expressed as follows:" to use technology wisely ". In such a case, can we use the verb in front of the adverb? For example: "We request your approval to use the money efficiently we collected." – annekess Feb 14 at 5:21
  • You could get round it by saying 'to make efficient use of the money'. – Kate Bunting Feb 14 at 9:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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