Adverbs of manner tell us how something happens. They are usually placed either after the main verb or after the object.
- He swims well.
- He ran quickly.
- She spoke softly.
- James coughed loudly to attract her attention.
- He plays the flute beautifully. (after the direct object)
- He ate the chocolate cake greedily. (after the direct object)
An adverb of manner cannot be put between a verb and its direct object. The adverb must be placed either before the verb or at the end of the clause.
- He ate greedily the chocolate cake. [incorrect]
- He ate the chocolate cake greedily. [correct]
- He greedily ate the chocolate cake. [correct]
- He gave us generously the money. [incorrect]
- He gave us the money generously. [correct]
- He generously gave us the money. [correct]
If there is a preposition before the verb's object, you can place the adverb of manner either before the preposition or after the object.
- The child ran happily towards his mother.
- The child ran towards his mother happily.
Adverbs of manner should always come immediately after verbs which have no object (intransitive verbs).
- The town grew quickly after 1997.
- He waited patiently for his mother to arrive.
These common adverbs of manner are almost always placed directly after the verb: well, badly, hard, & fast
- He swam well despite being tired.
- The rain fell hard during the storm.
The position of the adverb is important when there is more than one verb in a sentence. If the adverb is placed before or after the main verb, it modifies only that verb. If the adverb is placed after a clause, then it modifies the whole action described by the clause. Notice the difference in meaning between the following sentences.
|She quickly agreed to re-type the letter.||the agreement is quick|
|She agreed quickly to re-type the letter.||the agreement is quick|
|She agreed to re-type the letter quickly.||the re-typing is quick|
|He quietly asked me to leave the house.||the request is quiet|
|He asked me quietly to leave the house.||the request is quiet|
|He asked me to leave the house quietly.||the leaving is quiet|
Sometimes an adverb of manner is placed before a verb + object to add emphasis.
- He gently woke the sleeping woman.
- She angrily slammed the door.
Some writers put an adverb of manner at the beginning of the sentence to catch our attention and make us curious.
- Slowly she picked up the knife.
- Roughly he grabbed her arm.