More About Adverbs

Last week, adverbs were the key discussion: What are the seven key conventions to place compound adverbs in sentences? Let’s go.

(The adverbs appear in bold, compound verb underline.)

  1. Stress the adverb – put it before the subject.
    • Lovingly, the boyfriend forgot about their anniversary.
  2. Adverbs don’t need emphasis – comes after the subject and before the simple verb
    • The professor sometimes uses the computer.
  3. Don’t put an adverb between a verb and its object
    • Incorrect: She memorize entirely the Declaration of Independence.
    • Correct: She entirely memorize the Declaration of Independence.
  4. Adverbs modifying a two-word compound verb – put between the helping verb and the main verb
    • The sprinter will probably experience muscle cramps.
    • The negotiator¬†was consistently¬†saving the lives of people.
  5. Adverbs modifying a three-word compound verb – put after the first helping verb when the adverb modifies the thought communicated by the compound verb
    • The students have knowingly been forewarned about plagrisim.
  6. Adverbs strongly modifiying main verb – put before the main verb, not after the first helping verb
    • This debate has been repeatedly approved by the director.
  7. Adveribal expressions – comes outside the compound verb
    • He have been writing his thesis off and on for several months.

Wilson Follett advised these principles and comments as follows:

These principles were practiced for many generations without anyone’s having to think about them. Then strange things began to happen. Some influential source promulgated the doctrine that the compound verb is an indivisible unit, and that to wedge an adverb into it is a crime akin to the splitting of an infinitive. The results are uniformly bad.

Follett’s “bad results” look like the following:

(The adverbs appear in bold, compound verb underline.)

  • It long had been known. (It had long been known.)
  • It officially was announced the other day. (It was officially announced the other day.)
  • They unfailingly have been led by a brilliant passer. (They have been unfailingly led by a brilliant passer.)
  • The people upstairs always are pounding. (The people upstairs are always pounding.)

These adverbs should all appear between the helping and main verbs, and the others following the seven key conventions when modifying with adverbs.

Next week, we will look at comparative and superlative, and phrases and clauses for adverbs.