adverb position in "slightly shifting the focus"

Rose Hathaway

Hello everybody, could you please help me with the right position of the adverb "slightly"? Which one of the following versions sounds better in English? What I'm trying to say (the context is legal argumentation) is: "even though XY might be right, there are other possibilities of interpreting the situation. Shifting the focus (ever so?) slightly, the actions of XZ open up a series of further considerations". :confused:
a) shifting the focus slightly
b) slightly shifting the focus

The other problem is: what about "open up a series of further considerations"? Does this expression have any sense in Eglish?

  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Well they're both right, and adverbs can usually be placed in several different positions without any noticeable change of meaning or emphasis. If there is a difference, it may be in the intonation. Your (a) has two possible ways of being said: we can put the main accent on 'focus' and add 'slightly' as a minor modifier, or put the main accent on 'slightly'. So there are really three possibilities:

    a1) shifting the \focus /slightly
    a2) shifting the focus \slightly
    b) slightly shifting the \focus

    (a1) is the same as (b), but (a2) puts a little more emphasis (and bear in mind, this is only ever a little bit unless you choose to strongly emphasize something) on 'slightly' - we're shifting the focus, but only slightly.

    So that doesn't help. You can write it either way and it will be read naturally.


    Senior Member
    (b) is better in this context.

    Not sure about the other part, though. It does seem a bit awkward. What exactly are you trying to say there?


    Senior Member
    English - England
    We can only answer one question per thread, so I'll answer the first one . . .

    It could depend on the rest of the sentence, but both a) and b) sound fine to me.

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