Can an adverbial modifier(not an adverb) be put before an adjective or verb?

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lustdevil

Senior Member
Simplified Chinese
For instance, "they are IN NATURE foolish, greedy and wicked!" and "they IN NO TIME became monsters!" Are the "in nature" and "in no time" in proper positions? Or are there any more suitable positions for them.Thanks in advance.
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Neither of the sentences you give sound natural. A better position for both phrases would be at the end of the sentences.

    'They are foolish, wicked and greedy in nature.' This would sound even more natural as something like 'They have (or exhibit) a foolish, wicked and greedy nature.'

    'They became monsters in no time.'
     

    lustdevil

    Senior Member
    Simplified Chinese
    Neither of the sentences you give sound natural. A better position for both phrases would be at the end of the sentences. 'They are foolish, wicked and greedy in nature.' This would sound even more natural as something like 'They have (or exhibit) a foolish, wicked and greedy nature.''They became monsters in no time.'
    But whether there are some ambiguity in the first sentence? I mean if the adjectives are too many, will it make people think the "adverbial modifier" is only attached to the last adjective? I mean they are only wicked in nature, but they are not foolish and greedy naturally? If you can't understand, I will rephrase the sentence as follows : they are foolish and greedy. And they are wicked in nature. Maybe "in nature" is not a good example, but I just hope you can understand!
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "they are, IN NATURE, foolish, greedy and wicked!" a couple of commas make it better. This is OK.

    "they, IN NO TIME AT ALL, became monsters!" again a couple of comas and an addition to make it idiomatic.

    Both of the above have their emphasis on the capitalised words.

    In rearranging the word order,

    "IN NATURE, they are foolish, greedy and wicked!" This is OK.

    "IN NO TIME AT ALL, they became monsters!" This is OK
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    OK, I can see why you are confused. You are right, there is potential for ambiguity when you have a long string of adjectives, but personally I would read 'They are foolish, wicked and greedy in nature.' as meaning that they are naturally foolish and wicked and greedy.

    Sorry to just repeat my last post but I do think a way to avoid any ambiguity would be to rewrite the sentence as 'They have (or exhibit) a foolish, wicked and greedy nature.'
     
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