word order: frequency words

Status
Not open for further replies.
M

mas94010

Guest
1.Are these correct?
*Often Mr. Johnson dictates reports to his secretary.
*Are you ready for breakfast usually by eight o'clock?
*They always have tried to follow his instructions very carefully.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
*Often Mr. Johnson dictates reports to his secretary. YES
*Are you usually ready for breakfast by eight o'clock?
*They have always tried to follow his instructions very carefully.

The last two sound better like this to me. ;-)
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
There is some flexibility with some adverbs of frequency, but the position Ron suggests is always right. ;-)
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
  • "How often" adverbs expressing the frequency of an action are usually placed before the main verb but after auxiliary verbs (such as be, have, may, must):

    I often eat vegetarian food. (before the main verb)
    He never drinks milk. (before the main verb)
    You must always fasten your seat belt. (after the auxiliary must)
    She is never sea-sick.(after the auxiliary is)
    I have never forgotten my first kiss. (after the auxiliary have and before the main verb forgotten)

    Some other "how often" adverbs express the exact number of times an action happens and are usually placed at the end of the sentence:

    This magazine is published monthly.

    He visits his mother once a week.
    When a frequency adverb is placed at the end of a sentence it is much stronger.

    Compare:

    She regularly visits France.
    She visits France regularly.

    Adverbs that can be used in these two positions:

    frequently,
    generally,
    normally,
    occasionally,
    often,
    regularly,
    sometimes,
    usually
    http://www.edufind.com/english/grammar/ADVERBS5.cfm
 
S

sanny

Guest
But can you also say:
Sometimes I go to the park.
or
I go to the park sometimes.

I think there is a little different between these sentences, but I can't exactly tell what.
If both of the sentences are correct can you do the same thing then with:
frequently,
generally,
normally,
occasionally,
often,
regularly,
sometimes,
usually
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
sanny said:
But can you also say:
Sometimes I go to the park.
or
I go to the park sometimes.

I think there is a little different between these sentences, but I can't exactly tell what.
If both of the sentences are correct can you do the same thing then with:
frequently,
generally,
normally,
occasionally,
often,
regularly,
sometimes,
usually
I think you mean to say there is a little difference between those sentences. However, absent context I don't see any.

You are right. There is a lot of variation possible in the placement of frequency adverbs.

:)
 
C

claude

Guest
er, I still have some questions:
a) I still/aslo have seen someone use another programming tool.
b) I have still/also seen someone use another programming tool.

The word 'still' or 'also' is not an adverb expressing the frequency, can I still follow teacher RonBee's summary, place it before the main verb but after auxiliary verbs? then the 'a' expression is incorrect, isn't it?

Thanks.
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
claude said:
er, I still have some questions:
a) I still/aslo have seen someone use another programming tool.
b) I have still/also seen someone use another programming tool.

The word 'still' or 'also' is not an adverb expressing the frequency, can I still follow teacher RonBee's summary, place it before the main verb but after auxiliary verbs? then the 'a' expression is incorrect, isn't it?

Thanks.
First of all, the words still and also definitely do not mean the same thing. The sentence I still have some questions means I have some additional questions or I have some questions that remain unanswered. If we substitute also for still in that sentence we get I also have some questions, which means I have some questions in addition to those asked by the other person (or persons). That is quite a different sentence.

As for the question about also, in my view you could place it before or after have (as in the examples), but not after seen. (What the sentence means is not certain. That would depend on context. (There are a couple of possibilities.)) I doubt that you could use still in either sentence, thought I suppose it might be possible.

:)
 
Last edited:

doltcrow

Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2004
mas94010 said:
1.Are these correct?
*Often Mr. Johnson dictates reports to his secretary.
*Are you ready for breakfast usually by eight o'clock?
*They always have tried to follow his instructions very carefully.


I think these sound better:

Mr. Johnson often dictates reports to his secretary.
Are you usually ready for breakfast by eight o'clock?
They have always tried to follows his instructions very carefully.

Cheers
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
doltcrow said:
I think these sound better:

Mr. Johnson often dictates reports to his secretary.
Are you usually ready for breakfast by eight o'clock?
They have always tried to follows his instructions very carefully.

Cheers

Yep. Those follow the usual, expected pattern.

:)
 

Romeo4755

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Russian
Home Country
Russian Federation
Current Location
Russian Federation
Can you please correct the following sentence:
' You needn't apologize. I've been often treated even worse.'

(or should I better place often between the two auxilaries, after the echo?)
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Can you please correct the following sentence:
' You needn't apologize. I've been often treated even worse.'

(or should I better place often between the two auxilaries, after the echo?)
Try:
You needn't apologize. I've often been treated even worse.
~R
 

sarat_106

Key Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Oriya
Home Country
India
Current Location
India
I am not a professional teacher. In this case,
I think the clarifications given by Mr, Ronbee are very clear. I only like to add the following to strengthen his opinion. This is also to clear the doubts raised by Mr. Sanny. The general as well as universal rule is of course “Adverbs expressing the frequency of an action are usually placed before the main verb but after auxiliary verbs (such as be, have, may, must)”. As we all know there is always some exception to English grammar rules for which, to master English language is considered to be most difficult and challenging task. So here the exception is that certain adverbs of frequency can be placed at the beginning or end of a sentence and 'usually' is one such word.
Normal: Tom usually arrives home late.
Also possible: Usually Tom arrives home late

OR Tom arrives home late usually.
Ofcourse good teachers do not accept the third sentence.
 

iconoclast

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2008
Member Type
Academic
The general rule for ANY adverbial inserted into the verb phrase is
(1) Adverbial + One-Word Main Verb, or
(2) auxiliary + Adverbial + (auxiliary) + (auxiliary) + Main Verb,
with the present and past simple of 'be' the exception, e.g.
1. She's always on time.
2. They only go to church when his parents visit.
3. I think I've just broken my toe.
4. He doesn't always keep his promises.
5. They've never been stopped by the police.
6. They can hardly have been given the right information.

There also seems to be a little flexibility in some situations, indicating small shifts in focus, e.g.
7a. This could easily have been avoided.
7b. This could have easily been avoided.
7c. This could have been easily avoided.

Traditionally (in British English), (some) frequency adverbs move in front of the first auxiliary or the verb 'be' to indicate stress, e.g.
8. He NEVER is late.
9. She ALWAYS has been a churchgoer.

They can be stressed in normal position, as well, of course, e.g.
10. He's ALWAYS late.
11. She's ALWAYS been a churchgoer.

The adverbial 'never' can front a clause for greater stress (part of the pattern of negative fronting involving inversion, e.g.
12. NEVER have I met such a bunch of idiots.

However, in the American press it's common to see traditional British stressed formation with no stress intended.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top