EN: usually - adverb placement

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by amarok18, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. amarok18 New Member

    french
    Hello!

    Is the sentence ! "my father usually is in the garden in the afternoon" wrong?

    Thank you
     
  2. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    No, it's fine.
     
  3. amarok18 New Member

    french
    That's although what I thought. Yet, I heard that "usually" can't be before "is". So, I am slightly confused.
     
  4. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    You're right, SwissPete's wrong. The correct word-order is: "my father is usually in the garden" or else "usually, my father is in the garden".
     
  5. Assurancetourix Senior Member

    English (UK)
    I think that's a bit sweeping. In this sentence, without any context, is usually definitely sounds more natural to me - but I'm not sure there is an iron law that usually can't be followed by is - e.g.:

    How did you know he would be in the garden?
    Well, he usually is
    Sorry?
    He usually is in the garden

    It's probably a good rule of thumb not to put usually before am/are/is, but I don't think we should condemn all usually is sentences as ungrammatical. There is a difference of emphasis I can't quite put my finger on but it's almost as if usually is is used more to contradict a previous statement or insist on something, whereas is usually is used more as a neutral statement of fact.
     
  6. misadro

    misadro Senior Member

    I second Keith if I may .... The correct position, after "is" :
    He is usually (never, always, frequently, seldom, sometimes, occasionally) late ...

    Or, with some of these frequency adverbs :
    Usually/Sometimes/Occasionally, he is .... (please note the comma)
     
  7. Assurancetourix Senior Member

    English (UK)
    Yes of course you may misadro... but based on what? This seems to be just an assertion, and there is already a whole catalogue of invented rules! Let the language breathe a little, I say, or at least give a reason why not.
     
  8. misadro

    misadro Senior Member

    Picked at random ... http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/grammar/adverbien1.htm

    Says: "The position of adverbs of frequency is ... after a form of "to be" (am, is, are, was, were)"

    You can let the language breathe if you are a native speaker, and you are speaking to family and/or friends ...
    You cannot let the language "breathe" if you are a teacher of EFL .. otherwise .. you would be teaching .. chaos ... (just a joke .. if I may, again)
     
  9. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    On second thoughts, "usually is" can be a normal construction if we want to emphasise the verb.

    E.g.

    "I didn't expect to see your father in the garden," she said.
    "My father usually is in the garden in the afternoon," he replied.
     

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