Position of most adverbs

Look at these sentences:

Il court rapidement 
He runs quickly


Ils chantent bien
They sing well


Il dort souvent.
He often sleeps.


Tu parles lentement.
You speak slowly.

 

Notice that in simple sentences, adverbs are placed right after the verb.

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il dort souvent.
He often sleeps.


Ils chantent bien
They sing well


Il court rapidement 
He runs quickly


Tu parles lentement.
You speak slowly.


Q&A Forum 6 questions, 14 answers

JoanA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Why 'facilement' is not placed right after the verb in a writing practice?

mais comme je prends froid facilement, 

mais comme je prends facilement froid.

Both are correct.

Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Joan, 

As you point out it is giving both possibilities...

Why 'facilement' is not placed right after the verb in a writing practice?

mais comme je prends froid facilement, 

mais comme je prends facilement froid.

Both are correct.

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William C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Adverbs to start a sentence

Can you start à sentence in French with an adverb?

Anxieusement, j'ai demandé: “Je ne comprends pas, qu'est-ce que vous avez fait? Est-ce légal ?

Sérieusement, il y a dix-huit temps de verbe différents en français !



Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi William,

Normally adverbs which modify verbs (and adjectives) will follow (or precede) them in the sentence.

In the case of adverbs which end in 'ment' , they will almost always follow the verb they refer to, with the exceptions of 'heureusement' or 'malheureusement' which can be used at the beginning of a sentence or on their own as an exclamation.

Malheureusement, il allait trop vite = Unfortunately, he was driving too fast

There are some link adverbs (ainsi, à peine, aussi, du moins, peut-être, sans doute) which  can head a sentence and sometimes they will be followed by an inversion of subject and verb. e.g. 

Ainsi nous a-t-il surpris! 

Peut-être va-t-il revenir...

Placing the adverb in the wrong place in French will sound like 'yoda speak' of 'Star Wars' fame and it is very instinctive...

Hope this helps!

Adverbs to start a sentence

Can you start à sentence in French with an adverb?

Anxieusement, j'ai demandé: “Je ne comprends pas, qu'est-ce que vous avez fait? Est-ce légal ?

Sérieusement, il y a dix-huit temps de verbe différents en français !



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ShrutiA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Parfois je fais la cuisine. C’est correct..?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Yes, that's correct. 

-- Chris (not a native speaker). 

Parfois je fais la cuisine. C’est correct..?

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CelineA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

No explanation as to why rient is before verb

laugh often" wrong, The answer is "Ils rient souvent", when I click the Explain this button there are only examples of the adverb coming after the verb. Is there some reason why in this example the adverb is before the verb? Thanks a mil, Celine"
Asked 1 year ago
GruffKwiziq team member
Hi Celine - "rient" *is* the verb (rire = to laugh). "souvent" is the adverb and follows the verb. I think you may have confused them here because they both end in -ent?
CelineA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Omg, I am so embarrassed! I looked at that sentence so may times and never made the connection!

No explanation as to why rient is before verb

laugh often" wrong, The answer is "Ils rient souvent", when I click the Explain this button there are only examples of the adverb coming after the verb. Is there some reason why in this example the adverb is before the verb? Thanks a mil, Celine"

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TerriC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

aussi

Are there any guidelines for the placement of 'aussi', before or after the verb? It seems that wherever I put it, it's wrong - and I don't seem to find a lot of consistency when I look for it on various websites. Help would be appreciated! Terri
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Terri, Since there is not an example sentence, I am quite unsure the reason it was counted as incorrect. The grammar rule in the lesson is the best way to place an adverb, including «aussi», i.e. following the verb. Aurélie is NOT going to mislead you on this (that is needless to say, but I want to reassure you). As far as your statement "It seems that wherever I put it, it's wrong», it is possible that there is a programming error that caused that, but again, without the example sentence, I am just guessing. Bonne chance
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Terri, I just remember that it may be related to the passé compose, i.e. j'ai mangé une pomme. Using this example if I were to add that I had eaten a peach also, I would write it: j'ai mangé une pomme, puis j'ai aussi mangé une pêche, --> I at and apple, then I also at a peach. While if I was writing this «pour vrai» like in a paper, I would write «J'ai mangé une pomme puis une pêche». Please let me know if the passé compose example is what you refer to because in that case, an adverb goes between the conjugated auxiliary verb and the past participle. à bientôt
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
One last item. Here are a couple of websites that I, myself, use that I trust. this one, Laura also writes for or has written for: https://www.thoughtco.com/use-french-adverbs-4084828 This one is from the French department at UT at Austin which one of my native French instructors turned me on to. https://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/adv3.html I find both are excellent if you need other resources besides Progress With Lawless French. Bonne continuation,
TerriC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Ron, many thanks for your responses. My question arose out of the writing challenge answers from Week 61, level A1, (What do you like to eat in summer?) which were "Moi aussi j'aime les salades," or "J'aime (moi) aussi les salades,". My answer was unfortunately neither of these, but it brought home again that I need to pursue finding out more clearly how aussi is placed. I'll work on what you've given me, and the other websites. Thanks for the help! Terri
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Given the info you provided, moi aussi, is a placement exception. It is a fixed response, if you will to say me too. For example, je voudrais au cinéma to which the person being spoken to might reply "moi aussi" if indeed he/she is interested in going. Bonne chance
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Terri !

In the case you're referring to, it's actually like in English:
me too = moi aussi

Combine this with the fact that adverbs usually come after the conjugated verb (see tagged lesson), and you have : J'aime moi aussi les salades.
You can also choose to place the expression at the start of the sentence for emphasis, as in the other case: Moi aussi j'aime les salades.

See also where to place adverbs when using compound tenses:
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/where-to-place-adverbs-with-verbs-in-compound-tenses

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !
TerriC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
You make it very simple, Thank you! And thank you for responding so quickly. I'm eager to get back to more writing challenges!

aussi

Are there any guidelines for the placement of 'aussi', before or after the verb? It seems that wherever I put it, it's wrong - and I don't seem to find a lot of consistency when I look for it on various websites. Help would be appreciated! Terri

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RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Rapidement vs vite

So, rapidement and vite are synonymous; however when I typed in vite for Henri runs quickly, it was marked as incorrect. Because they are synonymous, I feel that «vite» should be included as a correct response as well as rapidement.
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer
Bonjour Nicholas, I would tend to agree with your reply; however, in my French thesauraus rapidement and vite are listed as synonymous.
NicholasC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Not synonymous, rapidement is used with speed and probably better thought of as fast rather than quick.

Rapidement vs vite

So, rapidement and vite are synonymous; however when I typed in vite for Henri runs quickly, it was marked as incorrect. Because they are synonymous, I feel that «vite» should be included as a correct response as well as rapidement.

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