Adverbs in “front position”

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arian20

Senior Member
Persian
Hello,

In my book and under the title of “adverbs of degree - usage”, it is written “Rather, really, absolutely and hardly can be used in front position”.

Can you please tell me what “front position” means?

Thanks
The text is from "Landmark advanced students book - Oxford"
 
  • EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi arian

    Perhaps this extract from Practical English Usage (2005) by Michael Swan may be of help:
    21. Adverb position [...] 2) Three normal positions for adverbs are front position: Yesterday morning something strange happened. Mid-position (with the verb): My brother completely forgot my birthday. I have never understood her. End position: What are you doing tomorrow? 3) Connecting adverbs, which join a clause to what comes before, go in front position: However, not everybody agreed. Adverbs of indefinite frequency and adverbs of certainty usually go in mid-position: He often travels to America. I’ve definitely decided to change my job. Adverbs of manner (how), place (where), and time (when) most often go in end-position. She brushed her hair slowly. The children are playing upstairs. I phoned her this morning.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Wow, I'm English and I found Swan's explanation very difficult to understand.

    Here is a more comprehensible one. It comes from a website called Scribd.com that claims to be "The world's largest online library".

    1. The front position: before the subject of the sentence. It gives information in advance, to set the scene for the action that follows.
    2. The mid position: the adverb in this position is intimately connected with the verb, generally placed immediately before it... <more follows - see the website for the full text>
    3. The end position: at the end of the sentence

    Section: Linguistic competence
    Paragraph: The Position of the Adverb
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/28852633/The-Position-of-the-Adverb
    The above website also gives plenty of examples of the different positions.
     
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    arian20

    Senior Member
    Persian
    There is no example in my book except the followings:
    He's speaking really quickly.
    You have given me rather alot of food.
    I rather like driving.
    My friends absolutely hate it.

    If I am not mistaken the adverbs aren't in the front position and I can't think of any sentence with "Rather/really/absolutely/hardly" at the begining (before the subject) :(

    I wanted to chech the web site but there is something wrong with my internet connection today and I can't open new pages :(
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I agree that none of the adverbs in your examples are in front position. Rather, they are in mid position and end position. Hardly a day goes by without similar complaints. Really, the editors should see to that their grammar books were proofread more carefully.

    And if you said, 'Absolutely, that's what I think too,' then there would be two of us having the same thought. :)
     
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    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree that none of the adverbs in your examples are in front position. Rather, they are in mid position and end position. Hardly a day goes by without similar complaints. Really, the editors should see to that their grammar books were proofread more carefully.

    And if you said, 'Absolutely, that's what I think too,' then there would be two of us having the same thought. :)
    I like EStjarns examples! :D In three of them I notice a comma after the front position adverb. I have been wondering if it is possible to use the words without the comma as well. I've come up with the following.

    Really try this time! (try properly this time, i.e. don't fake it)
    Absolutely avoid going near the lions!

    I cannot think of a simple complete sentence that starts with 'rather' except possibly 'Rather walk than run!' - an exhortation to proceed slowly. I'm not sure about that one though, it doesn't sound natural.
     

    silviuzz

    Member
    Italian
    I found this sentence (written by a non-native speaker):" Please turn slowly the handle clockwise"

    I think "Please slowly turn the handle clockwise" would sound better, but I'm not sure about it...
    What do you think? Does the adverb need to be in a "front position" in this kind of sentence? Thank you very much!
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Slowly can be in front or end position: Slowly turn the handle or Turn the handle slowly. The one position it cannot be in is between a verb and its object: :cross:Turn slowly the handle. Your actual sentence is a bit more complicated because there are already adverbs (or something similar) at front and end, but please doesn't much affect the grammar, and Please slowly turn the handle clockwise sounds good. So does Please turn the handle slowly clockwise - better than clockwise slowly, which for some reason sounds a little odd, though not wrong.
     
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