What positions can adverbs be used in within a sentence or clause?

Adverbs can be used in three positions in a sentence or clause:

  • front (perhaps they’ll arrive this evening)
  • mid (she hardly knew him)
  • end (I left the bedroom and ran downstairs)

Different types of adverbs go in different positions. Here are some general guidelines:

Front position

The main types of adverbs that can be used in this position are those that:

  • begin a sentence or clause that’s linked in meaning to another:

People tend to put on weight in middle age. However, gaining weight is not inevitable.

I’ll begin with an overview of the product. Secondly, I’ll talk about projected sales.

Afterwards, we went out for a walk.

Sometimes she wonders what life’s all about.

  • refer to place:

There goes my bus!

Up he ran, soon disappearing from view.

Luckily, our meal lived up to expectation.

Clearly, more research is needed.

Mid position

This term refers to adverbs that can be used in the middle of a sentence or clause. The main kinds of adverbs found in this position are those that:

  • refer to frequency:

We always meet for coffee on Saturday.

She’s never been to Sweden.

He carefully avoided my eye.

I slowly walked into town.

  • make the meaning of a verb, adjective, or other adverb stronger or weaker:

She nearly fell asleep at her desk.

These ideas are very complicated.

  • comment on the rest of the sentence or clause:

When we first heard this story, frankly, we couldn’t believe it.

  • focus on part of a sentence or clause:

I’m only going to stay in New York for a week.

Tina can’t just drop all her commitments.

End position

The main types of adverbs which can be used at the end of a sentence of clause are those that:

  • refer to manner:

It's an interesting plot twist, and one that works well.

For some reason, his career progressed slowly.

  • refer to time or frequency:

The troops flew home yesterday.

They’re sending hundreds of texts to each other monthly.

  • refer to place:

They’re sitting at the table over there.

There was a sudden burst of laughter from the people who could see outside.

Position of adverbs and verbs

Adverbs are often found between the subject and its verb:

We always meet for lunch at 1 p.m.

I completely forgot his name.

They can also come between an auxiliary verb (such as be or have) and a main verb:

The concert was suddenly cancelled.

He had quickly eaten his dinner.


Back to Adverbs.

Read more about:

Sentence adverbs

Comparative and superlative adverbs

Adverbials and adjuncts

See more from Adverbs