Adverbs : Position

Adverbs are pretty flexible creatures and it is possible to place them in a variety of places in a sentence without sounding too strange. It is unlikely that students of primary school age will be asked to place adverbs in a sentence as part of an assessment. They may well be required to identify the adverb in a given sentence and will definitely be expected to use them in their writing.

There are three normal positions for adverbs in a sentence:

  • 1) initial position (before the subject)
  • 2) mid position (between the subject and the verb or immediately after be as a main verb)
  • 3) end position (at the end of the clause).

Adverb of Manner (e.g.: slowly, carefully, awfully)
These adverbs are put behind the direct object (or behind the verb if there’s no direct object).

Adverbs of Place (e.g.: here, there, behind, above)
Like adverbs of manner, these adverbs are put behind the direct object or the verb.

Adverbs of Time (e.g.: recently, now, then, yesterday)
Adverbs of time are usually put at the end of the sentence. If you don’t want to put emphasis on the time, you can also put the adverb of time at the beginning of the sentence.

Adverbs of Frequency (e.g.: always, never, seldom, usually)
Adverbs of frequency are put directly before the main verb. If ‘be’ is the main verb and there is no auxiliary verb, adverbs of frequency are put behind ‘be’. Is there an auxiliary verb, however, adverbs of frequency are put before ‘be’.