Learners often have difficulty with putting adverbs in the correct position in sentences. In this article, I will give an overview of the types of adverbs and where they go in sentences. Generally, there are three positions: front, middle, and end.
The types of adverb we will see are manner, place, time, frequency, degree, and comment. Readers should remember that this article is designed as an overview and a lot of other things are possible.
Adverbs of Manner
e.g. carefully, softly, well.
Adverbs of manner tell us how something is done. These follow (1) the verb or (2) a direct object of the verb.
Leo spoke eloquently.
Dorothy opened the door quietly.
Adverbs of Place
e.g. somewhere, abroad, outside.
Adverbs of place tell us where the action happens. The adverb follows the verb or direct object of the verb.
Let’s go outside.
Samantha lives abroad.
Adverbs of Time
e.g. Yesterday, then, now.
Adverbs of time usually are put at the beginning or end of sentences.
Nicolas is going to resolve the problem tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Nicolas is going to resolve the problem.
Adverbs of Frequency
e.g. sometimes, often, rarely.
Adverbs of frequency go before the main verb.
Carla often goes to the theatre.
Charlie has always loved jazz.
Adverbs of Degree
e.g. Really, absolutely, almost.
This is a category of adverbs that are used with verbs, adjectives* and adverbs. In each case, the adverb comes first.
Kermit’s plan almost succeeded.
Monica looked absolutely stunning.
*Note: Please see article on intensifiers.
e.g. unfortunately, surprisingly, interestingly
Comment adverbs give the opinion of the speaker about the sentence content. These adverbs are put at the beginning or end of sentences. They may also be put, between commas, after the subject.
Fortunately, no one was hurt.
It was quite nice, surprisingly.
James, obviously, had no idea.
If you are using multiple adverbs at the end of a sentence, they follow the order: manner, place, and time.
In your vocabulary notes, create lists of adverbs for each of the categories above.
Compare adverbs to prepositions.
Read through the relevant sections of a grammar book and complete the exercises.
Write contextualized examples in dialogues and have your teacher check them and give you feedback.