Position of adverbs of certainty and place

August 20, 2011pdf

We use adverbs of certainty to say how sure we are of something. Examples are: certainly, definitely, clearly, obviously and probably.

Adverbs of certainty usually go in mid-position.
Study the following patterns.

Auxiliary verb + adverb

  • She will probably come.
  • The train has obviously been delayed.

Am / are / is / was / were + adverb

  • She is certainly right.
  • There is clearly something wrong.

Adverb + other verb

He probably thinks that he is the smartest. (NOT He thinks probably that …)

  • I certainly feel better today.

Grammar notes

Maybe and perhaps usually come at the beginning of a clause.

  • Maybe you are right.
  • Perhaps he will come.

Adverbs of place
Adverbs of place say where something happens. Examples are: upstairs, around, here, in London, out of the window

Adverbs of place usually go at the end of a clause.

  • The children are playing in the garden.
  • Don’t throw things out of the window.
  • The old man sat in the corner.
  • There was a very tall tree at the end of the garden.

Initial position is also possible. This usually happens in a literary style.

  • At the end of the garden there was a very tall tree.
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