Pontos de gramática

Adverb position 1

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 walked quickly to the station.

I often play tennis.

They haven’t been home recently.

He wore a bright yellow short.

She answered very quickly.



When adverbs are used to modify a verb, generally they can be placed in three positions:

  • First: before the subject

    Carefully, Peter opened the box.

  • Second: before the main verb

    Peter carefully opened the box.

  • Third: after the direct object or complement of the verb.

    Peter opened the box carefully.

You can put many adverbs in any of these positions depending on context or style.


Take note: Second position adverbs and the verb to be

When the verb to be is the main verb of a sentence, we usually put adverbs immediately after the verb.

He’s always on time.

I was never happy at school.


Take note: Second position adverbs with auxiliaries and modals

When a sentence has an auxiliary or modal, we usually put the adverb after the first auxiliary or modal and before the main verb.

You can never predict what mood he is going to be in.

I’ve rarely seen him angry.

I will always love you.

They shouldn’t ever have done that.


Take Note: Second position adverbs in questions

In a question adverbs come between the subject and the main verb.

Have you ever thought of changing job?

Would you really like it if I visited?


Take note: Adverbs and negatives

In negative sentences put the adverb after the auxiliary/modal and before the main verb

I don’t usually like going out on weeknights.

They won’t always let you in after midnight.


Take Note: Where not to put an adverb

We don’t put an adverb between a main verb and its direct object.

I play tennis very wellCorrect

I play very well tennis. Not correct


Another place we don’t put an adverb is between a verb and a gerund or infinitive with to.

He started cycling professionally in 2011. Correct

He started professionally cycling in 2011. Not correct

I’d like to sit down again. Correct

I’d like again to sit down. Not correct