Easy Learning French

Word order with adverbs - Easy Learning Grammar French

1 Adverbs with verbs

  • In English, adverbs can come in different places in a sentence.
  • I’m never coming back.
  • See you soon!
  • Suddenly the phone rang.
  • I’d really like to come.
  • In French, the rules are more fixed. When an adverb goes with a verb that consists of just one word, such as a verb in the present tense or the imperfect tense, it generally goes AFTER that verb.
Il neige toujours en janvier.It always snows in January.
Je pensais souvent à toi.I often used to think about you.
  • When an adverb goes with a verb that consists of more than one word, such as a verb in the perfect tense, it generally comes BETWEEN the part of the verb that comes from avoir or être and the past participle.
Il a trop mangé.He’s eaten too much.
Ils sont déjà partis.They’ve already gone.
  • The rule above covers most adverbs that tell you about quantity or time (apart from a few listed later), and some very common ones telling you how something is done.
beaucoupa lot, much
bienwell
bientôtsoon
déjàalready, before
encorestill, even, again
enfinat last
malbadly
mieuxbetter
peunot much, not very
rarementrarely
souventoften
toujoursalways, still
troptoo much, too
vraimentreally
  • Some adverbs FOLLOW the past participle of verbs that consist of more than one word. This rule covers most adverbs that tell you how or where something is done, and a few adverbs that tell you about time.
aujourd’huitoday
demaintomorrow
hieryesterday
loinfar, far off, a long time ago
longtempsa long time
partouteverywhere
quelquefoissometimes
tôtearly
tardlate
vitequick, fast, soon
On les a vus partout.We saw them everywhere.
Elle est revenue hier.She came back yesterday.

2 Adverbs with adjectives and other adverbs

  • When an adverb goes with an adjective, it generally comes just BEFORE that adjective.
Ils ont une très belle maison.They have a very nice house.
une femme bien habilléea well-dressed woman
  • When an adverb goes with another adverb, it generally comes just BEFORE that adverb.
C’est trop tard.It’s too late.
Fatima travaille beaucoup plus vite.Fatima works much faster.
Key points
  • Adverbs follow verbs that consist of just one word.
  • They generally go before the past participle of verbs that consist of two words when they relate to quantity or time.
  • They generally go after the past participle of verbs that consist of two words when they relate to how or where something is done.
  • When used with an adjective or another adverb, they generally come just before it.

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