Placement of adverbs in French
Where to place adverbs?
In English, adverbs can be situated in different parts of a sentence. In French, the rules for placing adverbs are more fixed. Usually you only have to stick with a few certain rules which you can find in detail below.
1) After the conjugated form of the verb
When an adverb is used in combination with simple tenses it has to be placed after the conjugated form of the verb.
- Elle travaille sérieusement. (She works seriously.)
- Il mange rapidement. (He eats quickly.)
2) After the second element of negation
When an adverb is used in a negation sentence (ne...pas, plus) you have to place it after the second element of negation,
- Elle ne travaille pas sérieusement. (She doesn't work seriously.)
- Il ne mange pas rapidement. (He doesn't eat quickly)
The adverb vraiment can be placed before or after the second part of the negation.
3) After the past participle or the infinitive
When an adverb is used with compound tenses it is usually placed after the past participle or the infinitive.
- Elle á travaillé sérieusement. (She worked seriously.)
- Il va manger rapidement. (He will eat quickly.)
4) At the beginning of a sentence
When an adverbs refers to the entire sentence it is placed at the beginning of a sentence
- Heureusement, dans trois semaines je serais en vacances. (Fortunately, I'll be on vacation in three weeks.)
- Malheuresement, j'ai encore beaucoup de travail à faire. (Unfortunately, I've still got lot of work to do.)
Sûrement and certainement are never placed at the beginning of a sentence.
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