171

When the adverb really comes before a negated auxiliary, the effect is of emphasising the truth of the sentence: I really cannot tell the difference. Here the speaker is emphasising that they honestly are unable to detect any difference. However, when really comes after the negated auxiliary, the effect is usually quite different. Instead of making the ...


63

In 'I am really sorry', really is an intensifier. You can replace it with very. 'I really am sorry' is a reassurance: you are not saying how sorry you are, just that you are definitely sorry.


27

"I am really sorry" means "I am sorry to a greater extent than if I said, 'I am sorry'" The 'really' modifies 'sorry' and acts as a general intensifier. "I really am sorry" means "I am sorry with a greater sincerity than if I said, 'I am sorry'" The 'really' modifies 'am' and clarifies that the speaker is not being sarcastic or shallow. "She can be (...


26

Ultimately the word "really" means the same in both cases, of adding strength or emphasis. If we swap "really" for "definitely" this becomes more clear: The first one is like "It definitely doesn't matter" (I am sure that it doesn't: certainty) and the second is like "It does not definitely matter" (I am not sure that it does: uncertainty)


25

I don't think any of us can say for sure, but it looks to me like User B is holding fast to the Thou Shalt Not Split Thine Infinitives commandment (hence, don't put an also in the middle of the can be, and don't insert a generally inside the are known). As for my personal opinion, I think the versions of User A sound more natural, and User B is sacrificing ...


18

I think it helps a lot to break these two sentences down: It really doesn't matter: The base sentence here is It doesn't matter. Really is an adverb which modifies doesn't. In this case, it puts emphasis on doesn't, meaning that it does not matter to a high degree. It doesn't really matter: The base sentence here is It really matters. Doesn't modifies ...


13

I am an America living in India and have observed the Indian English use of "only" for purposes of emphasis. I've collected a few examples of this usage. The ones below require context because they could also mean "only" in the sense of exclusion, as an American or an Englishman would use the term. However they were all used to emphasize. "It's a new ...


13

The answer to your question is that "it's difficult not to get that 'feel good' mood" and "it's difficult to not get that 'feel good' mood" have the same meaning. As to which variant is more common, @EdwinAshworth's nGram link shows "difficult not to" is much the more likely variant. This applies also to nGrams comparing "easy not to / easy to not", "hard ...


13

Yes, there is a difference. "Who necessarily do not exist" means that those people do not exist due to some need or requirement. This is saying the "who" do not exist. "Who do not exist necessarily" means that those people may not exist, that we can't logically conclude that they do exist. This is NOT saying that the "who" do not exist. Instead, it is ...


11

The placement of just determines whether your emphasis is on the verb rename or on the noun message. a) Renaming is the only thing we need to do b) The message is the only thing that needs to be renamed. All three of your examples produce meaning a). If you wanted meaning b) it would be ".... just the message".


10

I am in the U.S. and I agree with User A's original versions. In Claire Kehrwald Cook's book Line By Line (which I highly recommend), Ms. Cook, writes (p. 23): An adverb modifying a verb phrase goes after the first word in the phrase (was extremely surprised, has often been said, would certainly have asked) unless, in verb phrases of three or more words, ...


9

I think I found the answer. It's Focus. Here's what McCawley 1998 says, page 68, Chapter 3 (Tests for Deep and Surface Constituent Structures): iv. Placement of Elements with Focus There are a number of words in English (only, even, too, also) that are associated with a focus: an element that is implicitly constrasted with other items, as in John ...


9

(A) Mosquito larvae can only be seen through a microscope. (B) Mosquito larvae can be only seen through a microscope. (C) Mosquito larvae can be seen only through a microscope. As pointed out in this answer, only focusses on another constituent in the sentence, which is usually stressed, and which controls where only can appear in the sentence. The rule ...


9

I think I've isolated the problem here. Carefully (or some other adverb) sounds "natural" when it follows intransitive verbs, and "unnatural" when the verbs are transitive. According to this wikipedia article: Some verbs allow for objects but do not always require one. In other words, a verb may be used as intransitive in one sentence, and as ...


9

When dealing with modifiers, it is crucial to understand what is being modified, and in English, this is typically determined positionally: modifiers tend to come directly before the thing being modified. So here are the original sentences, adding arrows to indicate what's being modified by "really": It (really -> doesn't) matter.1 It doesn't (...


8

Some might say that (1) emphasises the nature of the swimming and that (2) emphasises the insular destination. I'm not sure I would.


7

There are many different kinds of adverbs, and each one has different rules for placement. This is one reason why knowing that some word "is an adverb" is pretty useless information, because it doesn't tell you anything about how, when, or why to use it. Still is a complex temporal quantifier, and refers to temporal continuity from past to present. Like ...


7

There is a slight difference. Most often one would say, "It should always be on." In "It should be always on," always is modifying the word on, and on is an adjective describing it. Therefore, using this phrase gives the sense that you are describing "it" as "always on." This makes "always on" seem to be a momentary property of "it", and not a continuous ...


6

At the bottom of the device is a microphone and a microUSB port for data. The way the information is organised in this sentence is very interesting. If you look at it quickly, you may think that at the bottom of the microphone is the subject of the verb be - but it isn't! When we use constructions like this, we rearrange the parts of the sentence for a ...


6

Complex sentences can have modifiers whose meaning is ambiguous, and as a rule of thumb, in those cases, you should assume that any modifier is modifying the next word or phrase that makes sense. To illustrate, I'll just emphasize the modifier and the next word, as this is usually enough: I am really sorry. This sentence has the same meaning as I am ...


6

First choice-"It should always be on". Always is an adverb of frequency. When you're tempted to write "always," "usually" can be a safer choice. Usually, always is placed after the verb " be": He is always late. and between the aux.verb and the main vb.: She will always be my mentor. Always can position itself at the beginning or end of a sentence, ...


6

The modality referred to is occasioned by the adverb necessarily. Apparently, Eco is considering two different statements, where the negation either does not, or does, span the modality, respectively: necessarily (not exist) not (necessarily exist) These would indeed be understood differently (provided our understanding of "necessarily X" is different to "...


5

Both are grammatical, but the second is probably found more frequently.


5

I believe that potentially would be considered an adverb of certainty in this context. The adverb should be placed after the first auxiliary verb could, so the answer is number three from your list: It could potentially be moved back to where it was.


5

"Let's simply share" and "Let's share simply" have different meanings. 'Let's simply share" has the same meaning as "Let's just share". That is, let's share without any more fuss, or making too much of sharing. "Let's share simply" has the meaning of sharing in a simple way, that is, to avoid complication which could arise if we were to attempt sharing ...


5

The difference between finally was and was finally is the adverb/verb order. Here, your verb is "was", a form of to be and the adverb is finally. There is a good guide on adverb placement, and some listed rules are: If the sentence has one verb in it (e.g. no auxiliary verb) we usually put the adverb in the middle of the sentence, i.e. after the ...


5

No. There is no difference in meaning. Manner adverbs like slowly can be slotted into a number of niches, depending, I suspect, more on how the speaker wants the sentence to sound, in terms of rhythm and intonation, than anything else. However, this is not to say that those with their own view of proper language use might not believe that there is some ...


5

I'm assuming the adverbs have to go in that respective order in those clauses. Adverbs are complicated in English. They perform a variety of functions. I won't go into details about the various functions, but their distribution (placement) can vary depending on the function of the adverb. I'd say the intended answer is: He obviously can't go with you on ...


5

Word Choice The first hurdle in answering your question is to decide whether you should use the word at all: Caution: Use of currently, now, or presently is wordy when the verb it modifies is in the present tense. Not this: Sue is presently working at CBS. But this: Sue is working at CBS. — Martin Steinmann, Grammar Without Grief: The Ultimate A to Z for ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible