What is the grammatical construct that is used in this sentence?

Apple today announced a third fall 2020 event...

Usually, I see similar phrases written as "Today, Apple announced" or "Apple announced X today". In this case, I interpret the phrase as [pronoun] [adverb] [verb], where today is a verb modifier, but it is unclear if that is the case. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language offers a different interpretation, according to which today can be interpreted as a pronoun, and then it becomes [pronoun] [pronoun] [verb], which is even more confusing.

What is the correct word order in this case and is there a general rule about it?

  • 2
    There is no general rule. With a word like today that modifies the entire clause, you can stick it practically anywhere an adverb can go -- initially, finally, before or after the first auxiliary, etc. The punctuation is usually to represent some intonation that would be there in the speech. Again, there is no rule that one can depend on, except that short words don't need much punctuation. – John Lawler Nov 2 '20 at 20:42
  • Today is a pronoun? Maybe Today is a good day. Tomorrow, uncertain. – Yosef Baskin Nov 2 '20 at 20:56


While that is an unusual position for today in ordinary speech, it is not unusual for several kinds of adverb to precede the verb:

He quickly replied.

They confidently said ...

She apparently wrote ...

You slowly answered ...

Furthermore, this placing of adverbs of time is quite common in journalism. The iWeb corpus has 67998 instances of "today announced".

Incidentally, Apple is a (proper) noun, not a pronoun.

  • "Incidentally, Apple is a (proper) noun, not a pronoun." The OP was referring to the Cambridge Grammar, which classifies "today" as a pronoun. So far, this scheme has not been adopted by the English-speaking world. – GEdgar Nov 2 '20 at 21:31
  • I was incorrectly referring to Apple as 'pronoun' in "[pronoun] [adverb] [verb]", so I stand corrected! :) Thank you for the detailed answer and examples, it all makes sense now. – NikitaBaksalyar Nov 2 '20 at 21:51

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.