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Position of adverbial modifiers.

An adverbial modifier hardly ever separates the direct object from the predicate. It stands either before the predicate or after the direct object.


Helen heard me patientlyto the end. (Ch. Bronte)


We could also very well say: “Helen patiently heard me to the end,” but no other position of the adverbial modifier is possible here, unless it is meant to be emphatic; in this case it is placed at the beginning of the sentence.

However, an adverbial modifier separates the direct object from its verb when the object has an attribute (see § 5).


He knew instinctively the principles of “pyramiding” and “kiting”. (Dreiser)

He could read English but he saw therean alien speech. (London)


1. An adverbial modifier of time is generally placed either atthe beginning or at the end of the sentence.


On Tuesday nightthe new laundrymen arrived, and the rest of the week was

spent breaking them into the routine. (London)

Probably we shall try tomorrow.(Heym)


Adverbial modifiers expressed by the adverbs now and then can be placed in nearly any position.


Tess thenremembered that there would have been time for this. (Hardy)

Indeed, anything untoward was nowsedulously kept from James


We nowslowly ascended a drive and came upon the long front of a house.

(Ch. Bronte)


N o t e. — The hour is generally mentioned before a more general adverbial

modifier of time such as day, night, evening, morning.

At nine in the eveningBadly White... opened the door to the room and poked

his head in. (Maltг)


2. An adverbial modifier of place generally stands either at the beginning or at the end of the sentence.


Down in the mill yarda Bessemer furnace was blowing flame into the sky.


Geodin led the guests into the parlour.(O. Henry)

Thereit was all spiritual. Hereit was all material and meanly material.


...a library was a most likely place for her, and he might see her there.



However, an adverbial modifier of place sometimes comes between the predicate and the prepositional object.


He emerged from the theatrewith the first of the crowd. (London)


Adverbial modifiers of place generally precede those of time and purpose:


I am going to the country to-morrow.

Well, they only kept up there about an hour but that was sure a long time.


Sybil had gone to town to buy a new carpet for the first floor landing. (M.



3. The place of the adverbial modifier of frequency is more fixed than that of other adverbial modifiers which enjoy a certain freedom of position. As a rule they precede the predicate verb in a simple tense form but follow the verb to be and all the modal verbs. In a compound tense form they follow the first auxiliary.


No one ever loved me. (London)

Lily would complain that she alwaystold Jane everything she knew.


She was alwayson the point of telling him the truth.


However, when they are emphasized they stand before the verb to be.


You were awfully good about being pushed up here, but then you alwaysare

good about the things that happen to you. (M. Dickens)

As for Charlie, he needed frequentlyto have a confidant. (S. Lewis)

Don’t go worrying about what may neverhappen.

He can neverleave out an irreligious finale. (Lindsay)

I’d just love to come, but Francis and I can’t everbe away together.


Take your hands away, Huckleberry; what a mess you are always making.


She cared for Ailen more than she had evercared for any of her children. (M.


“Ineverheard of such a thing!” she exclaimed.

It will neverbe Frank! It can’t be! (Dreiser)


However, sometimes and generally may be placed either before or after the verb.


For he sometimesthought that, unless he proclaimed to the world what had

happened to him, he would never again feel quite in possession of his soul.


And I got so lonely here sometimes. (Dreiser)


In interrogative sentences adverbial modifiers of frequency come immediately after the subject.


Did you everhave shoes like that? (Abrahams)

Does he oftencome to see you?


Adverbial modifiers of frequency sometimes occupy the first place. This position generally does not cause inversion.

Oftenhe had asked her to come and pass judgement on his junk.


Occasionally a small band of people followed the preachers to their mission.



(For the emphatic position of the adverbial modifier never see § 4, 1b.)


4. The most frequent position of an adverbial modifier of manner is after the predicate if the verb is intransitive, and after the direct object if the verb is transitive.


“You needn’t worry about me,” Louise said stoutly. (M. Dickens)

Cokane shakes hands effusivelywith Sartorius. (Shaw)


An adverbial modifier of manner generally stands between the predicate-verb and the prepositional indirect object though it is also found after the object.


She leaned lightlyagainst his shoulder. (London)

Gwendolen... though I asked most distinctlyfor bread and butter, you have

given me cake. (Wilde)


Very often, however, an adverbial modifier of manner expressed by an adverb stands immediately before the predicate.


...Bessie was already gone, and had closed the nursery doorupon me. I slowly

descended. (Ch. Bronte)

Then it occurred to him that with this letter she was entering that very state

which he himself so earnestlydesired to quit. (Galsworthy)


In compound tense forms an adverbial modifier of manner expressed by an adverb generally comes after the last auxiliary.


These ladies were deferentiallyreceived by Miss Temple. (Ch. Bronte)

Mr. Ernest has been suddenlycalled back to town. (Wilde)


(For the emphatic position of adverbial modifiers of manner see § 4, 1d.)

5. Adverbial modifiers of degree always precede the predicate; if the verb is in a compound tense-form they follow the first auxiliary.


I entirelyagree with you.

He has quiteforgotten about the concert.


6. An adverbial modifier of degree expressed by the adverb enough generally follows the adjective it modifies, but may follow or precede a noun.


He is clever enoughbut very lazy.


When enough modifies a noun it may either follow or precede it.


I have time enoughto do it.

I have enoughtime to do it.




It should be borne in mind that whereas in Russian the word пожалуйста may occupy any position, in English the word please can either begin the sentence or finish it.

Thus in Russian we can say:


Пожалуйста, принесите мне книгу.

Принесите, пожалуйста, мне книгу.

Принесите мне, пожалуйста, книгу.

Принесите мне книгу, пожалуйста.


In English we can only say:


Please, bring me the book.

Bring me the book, please.


Chapter XVII



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