Retired English Teacher
Adverbs placed in different places may change the meaning of a sentence. But what are the differences in meaning between A and B in each of the following pairs of sentences? Thank you very much.
1. A. Some impressionists show hardly any interest in making their paintings
B. Some impressionists hardly show any interest in making their paintings
2. A. He studies very hard; he works even during Christmas holidays.
B. He studies very hard; he even works during Christmas holidays.
3. A. He was fatally wounded and he has only a few days left to live.
B. He was fatally wounded and he only has a few days left to live.
The only one I want to comment on is 3. 3A is better. "Only" refers specifically to three days, and should come directly before it. To say that he "only has something" is wrong. He has a lot of things other than "three days to live". But since situations do not arise in which a person has only three days to live and nothing else, 3B means the same in practice.
(You might see the difference by changing "only" to "just")