Position of adverbs with verbs in compound tenses in French

Look at these sentences:

Elle a bien mangéShe ate well

J'ai beaucoup aimé le spectacle.I really liked the show.

In compounds tenses (e.g. past involving 'avoir' or 'être' as auxiliary verbs), some adverbs are placed between the auxiliary verb and the past participle. 

These include: assez, bien, beaucoup, bientôt, déjà, encore, enfin, mal, mieux, souvent, toujours, trop, vite, ...

BUT 

Certain adverbs of time and manner can both be AT THE END or AT THE START of the sentence: 

e.g. hier, aujourd'hui, avant-hier, après, autrefois,... (and some adverbs ending in -ment for emphasis)

 

Il s'est retourné lentement.He turned around slowly.

Lentement, il s'est retourné.Slowly, he turned around.

Aujourd'hui, j'ai fait un gâteau.Today, I baked a cake.

J'ai fait un gâteau aujourd'hui.I baked a cake today.

Hier, nous sommes allés à Marseille.Yesterday, we went to Marseille.

Nous sommes allés à Marseille hier.We went to Marseille yesterday.
 but you would not say "Nous sommes hier allés à Marseille." nor "Nous sommes allés hier à Marseille."

AND

Adverbs of place and certain adverbs of time usually FOLLOW the past participle: 

e.g. tard, tôt,... and some adverbs ending in -ment

Il est parti tard.He left late.

Elle a compris facilement.She understood easily.

 

Want to make sure your French sounds confident? We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il s'est retourné lentement.He turned around slowly.
Elle a compris facilement.She understood easily.
J'ai beaucoup aimé le spectacle.I really liked the show.
J'ai fait un gâteau aujourd'hui.I baked a cake today.
Il est parti tard.He left late.
Elle a bien mangéShe ate well
Aujourd'hui, j'ai fait un gâteau.Today, I baked a cake.
Nous sommes allés à Marseille hier.We went to Marseille yesterday.
Hier, nous sommes allés à Marseille.Yesterday, we went to Marseille.
Tu as joué au foot hier.
You played football yesterday.
Lentement, il s'est retourné.Slowly, he turned around.
Hier tu as joué au foot.Yesterday, you played football.
Thinking...