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    #1

    Time adverbials - word order

    Hello, I have a question concerning the position of time adverbials in sentences like these:

    1. a) I was hoping that you would have already passed all the exams by the end of this month.
    b) I was hoping that you would already have passed all the exams by the end of this month.

    2. a) I would have never thought you were capable of doing that.
    b) I would never have thought you were capable of doing that.

    3. a) I would have never guessed...
    b) I would never have guessed...

    etc.
    My professor at the college says that only b) is correct in "proper" English (i.e., only b) would be accepted in the exams). I think that b) is more formal and BE, while a) would be preferred in spoken language and in the AmE. Am I right? Would you correct someone if they used a) ?
    Dear folks, I am an ESL student so don't ever hesitate to correct me, even the slightest details!

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Time adverbials - word order

    I would normally write the (b) version, but I think that the (a) version is possible is some contexts. The (a) version is more likely in speech than writing; word stress is fairly important.

    I am sure that the(a) version would not be penalised in any of the main Britsh examinations. However, learners should be aware that the (b) version is nearly always the natural choice for native speakers.

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    #3

    Re: Time adverbials - word order

    I (an AmE speaker) prefer the (b) sentences, though the (a) sentences are not bad. Another option for the second group is I never would have thought....
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: Time adverbials - word order

    Quote Originally Posted by Fear not, only believe View Post





    3. a) I would have never guessed...
    b) I would never have guessed...


    My professor at the college says that only b) is correct in "proper" English

    NOT A TEACHER


    Hello, Fear not:

    I just thought that you would be interested in some information that has helped me.

    1. One expert says to put the adverb after the first auxiliary "when its force is to apply to the whole compound [verb phrase]."

    a. "They have certainly been forewarned." (NOT: "They have been certainly forewarned.")
    b. I guess that the expert is telling us that "certainly" applies to "have been forewarned," NOT just "forewarned."
    c. What is certain? That they HAVE BEEN FOREWARNED.

    2. He says that the adverb comes before the participle IF it modifies the participle alone.

    a. "It will have become firmly established."

    3. MAYBE your professor felt that "never" does NOT modify the participle "guessed" alone.

    4. MAYBE your professor felt that "never" applies to the compound verb phrase "would have guessed."

    a. That is to say, MAYBE that sentence means something like "It was never the case that I WOULD HAVE GUESSED."

    5. Two scholars feel that adverbs such as "never" modify the entire sentence.

    a. They say that "Cynthia never smiles at strangers" = "It is never the case that Cynthia smiles at strangers."

    6. As the two teachers have already told you, native speakers are very flexible as to where they wish to place the adverb "never."




    Sources:

    Wilson Follett, Modern American Usage (1980), pages 53 -54.
    Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book (1983), page 206.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Time adverbials - word order

    Quote Originally Posted by Fear not, only believe View Post
    . . . My professor at the college says that only b) is correct in "proper" English (i.e., only b) would be accepted in the exams). I think that b) is more formal and BE, while a) would be preferred in spoken language and in the AmE. Am I right? Would you correct someone if they used a) ?
    That's interesting. I didn't know that. They all sound fine to me, but I'm sure your professor is right.

    Your English is going to be better than mine!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #6

    Re: Time adverbials - word order

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    NOT A TEACHER


    Hello, Fear not:

    I just thought that you would be interested in some information that has helped me.

    1. One expert says to put the adverb after the first auxiliary "when its force is to apply to the whole compound [verb phrase]."

    a. "They have certainly been forewarned." (NOT: "They have been certainly forewarned.")
    b. I guess that the expert is telling us that "certainly" applies to "have been forewarned," NOT just "forewarned."
    c. What is certain? That they HAVE BEEN FOREWARNED.

    2. He says that the adverb comes before the participle IF it modifies the participle alone.

    a. "It will have become firmly established."

    3. MAYBE your professor felt that "never" does NOT modify the participle "guessed" alone.

    4. MAYBE your professor felt that "never" applies to the compound verb phrase "would have guessed."

    a. That is to say, MAYBE that sentence means something like "It was never the case that I WOULD HAVE GUESSED."

    5. Two scholars feel that adverbs such as "never" modify the entire sentence.

    a. They say that "Cynthia never smiles at strangers" = "It is never the case that Cynthia smiles at strangers."

    6. As the two teachers have already told you, native speakers are very flexible as to where they wish to place the adverb "never."




    Sources:

    Wilson Follett, Modern American Usage (1980), pages 53 -54.
    Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book (1983), page 206.
    Yes, I think that's the logic behind my professor's view, but I think that it falls into the same category as Don't split your infinitives!, Don't end your sentences with prepositions! and similar prescriptive rules that don't hold water anymore. For example,"I only have 20 bucks" and "I have only 20 bucks" are both perfectly fine in Standard English.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    That's interesting. I didn't know that. They all sound fine to me, but I'm sure your professor is right.

    Your English is going to be better than mine!
    I really do not believe that a non-native speaker (like my professor) could speak a language better than native speakers. What I'm pointing to is that grammar is a system in the mind (one of the definitions), and that means that even though native speakers aren't always able to explain a certain rule, they know it and can use it without thinking about it. So, that's why your opinion is valuable to me.
    Dear folks, I am an ESL student so don't ever hesitate to correct me, even the slightest details!

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Time adverbials - word order

    Quote Originally Posted by Fear not, only believe View Post
    Yes, I think that's the logic behind my professor's view, but I think that it falls into the same category as Don't split your infinitives!, Don't end your sentences with prepositions! and similar prescriptive rules that don't hold water anymore. For example,"I only have 20 bucks" and "I have only 20 bucks" are both perfectly fine in Standard English.

    I really do not believe that a non-native speaker (like my professor) could speak a language better than native speakers. What I'm pointing to is that grammar is a system in the mind (one of the definitions), and that means that even though native speakers aren't always able to explain a certain rule, they know it and can use it without thinking about it. So, that's why your opinion is valuable to me.
    I agree that it's hair-splitting. But it's good to learn the formal rules, anyway. It's like being a good jazz musician. You have to learn all the rules before you can break them.

    As for native speakers, bad grammar is everywhere. Your written English is already better than many (or most!) native English speakers'.

    And - ending with prepositions? At UsingEnglish.com, that is something up with which we will not put!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #8

    Re: Time adverbials - word order

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    I agree that it's hair-splitting. But it's good to learn the formal rules, anyway. It's like being a good jazz musician. You have to learn all the rules before you can break them.

    As for native speakers, bad grammar is everywhere. Your written English is already better than many (or most!) native English speakers'.

    And - ending with prepositions? At UsingEnglish.com, that is something up with which we will not put!
    Thank you for your compliment!
    I really like your comparison with jazz musicians. Likewise, Picasso is said to have mastered the realistic style of drawing and painting at a very early age, so he decided to create a style of his own, and the rest is history! And poor Churchill, he will go down in history - as the man who defied prescriptive rules! (at least for ESL students)
    Dear folks, I am an ESL student so don't ever hesitate to correct me, even the slightest details!

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