Results 1 to 4 of 4
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Jan 2012
    • Posts: 25
    #1

    position of adverbs

    Hi everybody,
    I've got a doubt about the correct position of the adverb in a past conditional form:
    They would never have found him or... They would have never found him?
    Is there a rule to follow or does it depend on the stress we want to give the adverb?
    i'm looking forward to your reply.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,845
    #2

    Re: position of adverbs

    They're both possible. The first is the standard form for me, so the second changes the emphasis a bit.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6,332
    #3

    Re: position of adverbs

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Clairec:

    I have checked my books and the Web, and I am happy to share what I have found:

    1." They would never have found him."

    a. That is the usual position. The rule is easy: put the adverb after the first auxiliary.

    2. "They never would have found him." This position is used when you want to emphasize "would." Say the sentence out loud

    and notice how the word "would" is stressed (sounds very strong.)

    3. "They would have never found him."

    a. Many native speakers would have no trouble with this. When you have time, go to the "books" section of Google and

    type in "would have never." You will find many examples of "good" writers using this kind of sentence.

    b. But if you want to follow the "rule," then you will NOT use sentence 3. What is the rule? Well, if an adverb refers to

    the complete verb ("would have found"), then you must use sentence 1. And the adverb "never" does refer to the

    complete verb. It does not refer only to the past participle "found."

    *****

    4. The workers would firmly have rejected the new contract.

    5. The workers would have firmly rejected the new contract.

    Which sentence do you think is "better"?

    The answer is sentence 5.

    This time we can put the word "firmly" in front of the past participle "rejected" because it DOES modify "rejected."

    It answers the question: How would the workers have rejected the new contract? Answer: firmly. When you have

    a "how" adverb, you may place it next to the past participle. Here is an example from a book that discusses "good"

    English:" It has been confidently asserted [said]." How has it been asserted? Answer: Confidently (with confidence).

    BUT you cannot put "never" in that position. Why? Because "never" is not a "how" adverb. It is a "when" adverb.

    As I said, however, many native speakers break the rule and use sentence 3.

    *****

    CREDITS: Modern American Usage (1980) by Wilson Follett. Pages 53 - 54.
    David L.'s post on usingenglish.com on 20 March 2008.
    Last edited by TheParser; 29-May-2012 at 22:47.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #4

    Re: position of adverbs

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    3. "They would have never found him."

    a. Many native speakers would have no trouble with this. When you have time, go to the "books" section of Google and
    type in "would have never." You will find many examples of "good" writers using this kind of sentence.

    b. But if you want to follow the "rule," then you will NOT use sentence 3. What is the rule? Well, if an adverb refers to the complete verb ("would have found"), then you must use sentence 1. And the adverb "never" does refer to the complete verb. It does not refer only to the past participle "found."
    If a lot of 'good' writers use this kind of sentence, then I wonder by what authority the people who say that you 'must' use another construction issue their diktats.

    These apparently self-appointed authorities, the sort of people who forbid you to casually split an infinitive, or who claim that a preposition is something you must never end a clause with, are not people I have much time for.

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] position of adverbs
    By wynnmyintuu in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 12-Oct-2010, 18:36
  2. position of adverbs
    By navi tasan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-Apr-2008, 23:22
  3. position of adverbs
    By sara98 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 18-Apr-2007, 14:46
  4. position of adverbs
    By jaybel in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Mar-2006, 17:44
  5. Adverbs-Position
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 26-Mar-2004, 22:51

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •