A question from Hydar in Iran:
Where is the place of 'also' in a sentence?
Amy Lightfoot answers
Click below to hear the answer:
Hello - thanks for writing in. This is a good question but I’m afraid it’s got a difficult answer: grammatically, also can be put in lots of different places in a sentence, but changing its place will also change the meaning and emphasis of the sentence.
First of all, let’s discuss the role of also – what does it do? Well, it helps us to join two ideas together. It has the same meaning as'too' or 'as well'. As far as the placing of also is concerned, have a look at these example sentences which are all grammatically correct:
Also, I think that you should consider quitting your job.
I also think that you should consider quitting your job.
I think that you also should consider quitting your job.
I think that you should also consider quitting your job.
I think that you should consider also quitting your job.
I think that you should consider quitting your job also.
That’s right, it can go in lots of places! As I said before, changing the position alters the emphasis and meaning of the sentence. As it is an adverb, it’s probably most commonly used next to a verb, but as you have heard, this isn’t fixed if you particularly want to stress another part of the sentence. Basically, you put also next to or as close as possible to the word that you are highlighting.
Another important thing to note is that the use of commas (when written) or pauses (when spoken) can again change the meaning of the sentence. Compare these:
a) I also think that it is very expensive.
b) I, also, think that it is very expensive.
Which one of these implies that the speaker has already told you something else they think? The answer is (a) I also think that it is very expensive. Sentence (b) I, also, think that it is very expensive suggests that someone else has already expressed this opinion.
Basically you need to remember that we use 'also' to add information to something we have already said and you need to place it in the sentence next to the thing or idea that you are adding. I hope this makes it clear!
About Amy Lightfoot
Amy Lightfoot started out doing a degree in psychology in 1995 and quickly became interested in the processes involved in learning languages. She now has a Trinity CertTESOL, DELTA and MA in English Language Teaching. She has taught English and worked on teacher training projects in the UK, Portugal, India, Afghanistan and Bhutan. She is currently working as a freelance materials writer and language trainer in Somerset, England.