All three are acceptable and grammatically correct, given context, as Mr P notes.
Originally Posted by punkache
Semantics, well, that's different. With adverb placement, scope is a factor. Place the adverb close to the verb, (2), and the manner in which John shouted becomes the primary focus.
(2a) John angrily shouted at the children.
Add in a subodinate clause negating the manner, and the semantic result is contradiction: we are not all that convinced John wasn't angry at the time. That is, the reader/listener might be thinking, Why place focus on angrily shouted then negate it? It's a contradiction. And that's how it reads:
(2b) John angrily shouted at the children, but actually he was not angry at all. (Really?)The subordiante clause, even though it states the opposite of what the main clause states, serves to support the idea that John was angry at the time. Topic is paramount--be careful of phrase-level or sentence-level stress, also called emphasis. It functions the same way; e.g., John shouted angrily ...; John shouted at the children angrily. Both adverbs, irrespective of position, both are in non-topic slots, function as topic holders.
Let's now look at non-topic positions. Place an adverb away from its verb, especially in a non-topic position (1), and unemphasized, and the semantics change somewhat.
(1) John shouted at the children, angrily, but actually he was not angry at all.The adverb sits at the end of the main clause. Thus: primary focus is on what John did (John shouted at the children); secondary focus is on how John did it (John did it angrily). The result, the meaning housed in the subordinate clause is a tad more believable now. It's possible that John was indeed not angry at the time. In other words, the closer the adverb is to its verb, the closer related the two; the more distant the adverb from its verb, the more room for interpretation.
Note on the ungrammaticality of (3), first, it's (potentially) semantically awkward, not ungrammatical. Use this symbol ?,
(3) ?John angrily read the review of his book, but actually he was not angry at all.Second, I don't know the argument or context in which the author was using that sentence, so for the time being, it's not possible for me to say whether or not (3) is semantically unacceptable. Context plays a major role. In the meantime, what I can offer you is this. If John is reading the review aloud, then yes, I can imagine him doing it, pretending to be angry. Why not? Actors often get directions like that from their directors. If, on the other hand, John is reading the review to himself, the meaning I get is similar to the one in (2b). It's a contradition.
In short, place an adverb in focus, next to its verb, and no matter what follows to negate it, it serves only to negate itself, as in (2b).
What are your thoughts?