ESWTOTD: Where may adverbs go? OR the use and misuse of “also”

Adverbs are remarkably flexible words, and may be placed in several places in a sentence. Specifically, there are three general places they may go:

  • Rule #1: At the beginning of the sentence, before the subject
    • <adverb> <subject> <verb> <direct object>
  • Rule #2: Before the verb
    • <subject> <adverb> <verb> <direct object>
  • Rule #3: After the direct object
    • <subject> <verb> <direct object> <adverb>

Some examples, using the adverb also:

  • Also, I processed the data.”
  • “I also processed the data.”
  • “I processed the data also.”

(There is one extension to rule #2: if there is a modifier on the verb, the adverb goes between the modifier and the verb (underlined): “I have also processed the data.”)

These are all grammatically correct (though they do convey subtly different meanings). In contrast, there is one place where adverbs cannot go, and that is between the verb and the direct object:

  • “I have processed also the data.” WRONG

In general, adverbs are never after the verb, save only in cases of intransitive verbs:

  • “My computer exploded also.”

Here we are following rule #3, placing the adverb after the (nonexistent) direct object.

Today’s tip is dedicated to Maks, who was its inspiration.