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Rule

Adverbs of manner tell us how something happens. They are usually placed after the main verb or after the object.

Examples:

  • He swims well, (after the main verb)
  • He ranrapidly, slowly, quickly..
  • She spoke… softly, loudly, aggressively..
  • James coughed loudly to attract her attention.
  • He plays the flute beautifully. (after the object)
  • He ate the chocolate cake greedily.

BE CAREFUL!

The adverb should not be put between the verb and the object:

Examples

  • He ate greedily the chocolate cake [incorrect]
  • He ate the chocolate cake greedily [correct]

Rule

If there is a preposition before the object, e.g. at, towards, we can place the adverb either before the preposition or after the object.

Examples

  • The child ran happily towards his mother.
  • The child ran towards his mother happily.

Rule

Sometimes an adverb of manner is placed before a verb + object to add emphasis:

Examples

  • He gently woke the sleeping woman.

Some writers put an adverb of manner at the beginning of the sentence to catch our attention and make us curious:

Examples

  • Slowly she picked up the knife.

Rule

(We want to know what happened slowly, who did it slowly, why they did it slowly)

However, adverbs should always come AFTER intransitive verbs (=verbs which have no object).

Examples

  • The town grew quickly
  • He waited patiently

Also, these common adverbs are almost always placed AFTER the verb:

  • well
  • badly
  • hard
  • fast

Rule

The position of the adverb is important when there is more than one verb in a sentence. If the adverb is placed after a clause, then it modifies the whole action described by the clause.

Notice the difference in meaning between the following pairs of sentences:

  • She quickly agreed to re-type the letter (= her agreement was quick)
  • She agreed to re-type the letter quickly (= the re-typing was quick)
  • He quietly asked me to leave the house (= his request was quiet)
  • He asked me to leave the house quietly (= the leaving was quiet)

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