Grammar Reference

Adverb position 2

Meaning and use

Adverbs are words and phrases that we use to give more information about verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. They answer questions such as where? when? how? how often?

  • He calmly picked up his coat and left.
  • She regularly brings her own lunch to work.
  • I haven’t seen my brother in a while.
  • She drives a dark black sports car
  • They deliver very quickly.


There are many different adverbs. There is no particular form that identifies a word as an adverb. Some adjectives can be turned in to adverbs by adding –ly.

  • It was a slow journey. (adjective)
  • She drove slowly. (adverb)

-ly adjectives are sometimes referred to as adverbs of manner. They describe the way someone does something. Note though that not all words that end in –ly are adverbs, not all adverbs of manner end in -ly and not all adjectives can made into adverbs this way.

Adverbs can be a single word or a group of words.

  • I really like it here.
  • We arrived the day before yesterday.

Take note: Adverb position with adjectives

When an adverb is used to talk about an adjective, put the adverb before the adjective.

  • We’re so glad you came.
  • I’ve had a very good day today.
  • I’d say his car was a dark blue.

Take note: Adverb position with other adverbs

When an adverb is used to talk about another adverb, put the adverb before the adverb to be modified.

  • You drove incredibly dangerously. 

Take note: Adverb position with verbs

When adverbs are used to modify a verb, generally they can be placed before the subject, before the main verb or after the direct object or complement of the verb.

  • Usually I try to get there early.
  • I usually try to get there early
  • I try to get there early usually.

You can put many adverbs in any of these positions depending on context or style. There are some general guides though that you can follow as we tend to use some adverbs in particular positions.

For more information about the position of adverbs with verbs see Now, where did I put that adverb?

Take note: Adverbs of indefinite frequency and degree adverbs

These are frequently used in the second position. Some examples of these adverbs are: always, never, hardly ever, often, rarely, regularly, seldom, almost, hardly, nearly, quite, scarcely

  • I will always love you.
  • I had never seen anything like it.

Take note: Adverbs of place and adverbs of definite time and frequency

These usually go in the third position. Some examples of these adverbs are: downstairs, over there, on the table, last week, daily

  • I ride my bike daily.

Take note: adverbial phrases of time or frequency

Use these adverbs in the first or third positions, but not the second. Some examples of these adverbials are: from time to time, as a rule, every so often

  • From time to time I buy things online.
  • I buy things online from time to time.

Take note: Really

The meaning of the adverb really can change depending on its position. Before an adjective it has a meaning similar to very.

  • When we lost the match I was really disappointed.

In other positions it has the meaning of actually or in fact, truly.

  • I really do want to go - I wasn’t joking.

Take note: Yet

Yet usually goes in the third position in negatives and questions.

  • Have they arrived yet?