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    #1

    The position of " probably, possibly,perhaps/maybe " in a sentence.

    Hello!

    I have found different explanations on the internet about the position of these adverbs in a sentence.

    If it is possible in brief ,what is the basic rule for all these special adverbs?
    Last edited by Arctica1982; 09-Jan-2015 at 12:13.

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    #2

    Re: The position of " probably, possibly,perhaps/maybe " in a sentence.

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


    Hello, Arctica:

    Have you had a chance to check our friend Michael Swan's Practical English Usage? I found these sentences in his beloved book. If you study them carefully, you can make up your own rule:

    1. It will probably rain this evening.
    2. He probably thinks you don't like him.
    3. I probably will not be there. / I will probably not be there.
    4. He probably does not know.
    5. I probably won't be there.
    6. He probably has arrived by now. (Mr. Swan says this is "normal" in American English and "emphatic" in British English.)
    7. He has probably arrived by now. (Mr. Swan says this is "normal" in British English.)
    8. ...but it probably will lead to a vote ... [Mr. Swan took this from an American newspaper. He says the most normal British order would be: ... but it will probably lead to a vote ...

    From the 1995 edition, pages (not entries) 21 - 27. Published by Oxford University Press.

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    #3

    Re: The position of " probably, possibly,perhaps/maybe " in a sentence.

    I don't know that I would say it is a beloved book, but I have to agree with everything I see in post #2.


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    #4

    Re: The position of " probably, possibly,perhaps/maybe " in a sentence.

    It probably will snow tonight = It is highly likely that it will snow tonight.

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    #5

    Re: The position of " probably, possibly,perhaps/maybe " in a sentence.

    Note that TheParser's and Tarheel's excellent answers deal only with 'probably'.

    I don't want you to think that the other words can simply be substituted in its place in every case.

    Please ask about the others in separate threads, with a title specific to each.

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    #6

    Re: The position of " probably, possibly,perhaps/maybe " in a sentence.

    Oh. Well, if you have been paying close attention to my posts, you have no doubt noticed that every once in a while I will respond to a question by saying Perhaps and then make a suggestion as to usage. It's like saying You might want to try this. In any case, I believe that people respond better to suggestions than they do to commands. (It would probably be best to check probably ​off of your list. Go on to the next one.)


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    #7

    Re: The position of " probably, possibly,perhaps/maybe " in a sentence.

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


    Hello, Arctica:

    I immediately thought of your thread when I read this quotation last night:

    "[T]hey had probably bulletproof vests."

    The speaker is not a native speaker of English.

    If he had had time to carefully write this sentence (instead of saying it), then maybe / perhaps he would have had time to remember the rule: Usually, one should NOT put an adverb between the verb ("had") and the direct object ("bulletproof vests").

    He would probably have written: "They probably had bulletproof vests."


    P.S. As you know, there are often exceptions to the rules:

    a. I believe that his sentence would have been acceptable if he had paused before and after the word "probably" when he said that sentence.
    b. In quoting him, then, the written sentence might have looked like this: "They had, probably, bulletproof vests."
    c. Those two commas (pauses in speaking) show that the speaker suddenly thought of the word "probably," so he decided to drop the word into the sentence as something extra and not absolutely necessary. We call a word used like that a parenthetical element.

    Source of quotation: Time, January 19, 2015, issue, page 17.
    Last edited by TheParser; 11-Jan-2015 at 15:14. Reason: duplicate word

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