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I would like to know which of the following sentences is correct:

Ideally, we should leave tomorrow early

OR

Ideally, we should leave early tomorrow?

I know an adverb of time comes after the verb or object and usually at the end of the sentence by I'm not quite sure in this sentence.

I would really appreciate if someone would help me with this.

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  • It depends on how you stress the two words. And whether you parse leave early as a single constituent, or whether the early is associated with tomorrow as a phrase. There are a lot of options, which writing doesn't distinguish among. Word order is a blunt instrument compared to intonation, rhythm, and stress- like a bass drum solo. May 19, 2023 at 14:52
  • Usually, if a word like yesterday, today, tomorrow is being used "adverbially", and is further modified by a straightforward "adverb of time" such as early, late, we place the true adverbial before the noun used adverbially. He arrived early this morning. I'm working late tonight. May 19, 2023 at 15:47

3 Answers 3

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'Early tomorrow' would be more usual, but if the speaker wishes to stress that the departure must be very early in the day, they might say

We should leave tomorrow - early.

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Early is not an adverb of time, it is an adverb of manner. Tomorrow is an adverb of time: these are usually (usually does not mean "always") the last element.

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Ideally, we should leave early tomorrow has more than a single reading:

  1. Ideally, we should leave early tomorrow. ['early tomorrow' together specifies the ideal time, compare '[on] Friday morning'.
  2. Ideally, we should leave early tomorrow. ['tomorrow' specifies the or one day when an early departure is best; compare 'Ideally, we should leave early tomorrow and on Friday, though we can have a lie-in on Thursday'].

Kate's paraphrase 1'. Ideally, we should leave tomorrow – early. is a stressed variant of the first reading above. But it is only idiomatic with the parenthetical format and associated significant pause (signified by the dash) in speech. Otherwise, 'early tomorrow' being cohesive, 'tomorrow early' is unidiomatic.

In [2] (paraphrase 'Ideally, when we leave tomorrow it should be early') 'leave early' is cohesive and *'leave tomorrow early' sounds like tomorrow is being left.

Note the third possibility:

  1. Ideally, we should leave early – tomorrow. ['tomorrow' now is what some would consider an appositive of 'early', restating with greater precision, 'early' now meaning 'early in the week/holiday/conference' say].

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