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English Grammar Step by Step

 

     UNIT 28
     WORD ORDER1



   Put the words in brackets in the correct place.

1  Examples: (mid-position adverbs)
   You could also2 buy her flowers.
   She usually sits with her legs crossed.
   I don't often go to the cinema on Sundays.
   I will never do such a thing.
(Compare this with the following short answer: I never will.)

   We can make a twofold classification here: (1) verbs that take do, does or did in the negative and in the interrogative3 and (2) verbs that do not take do, does or did. As for the former group, we put the mid-position adverb before the verb. As regards the latter, we place the mid-position adverb after the verb.

a  They're saying that I'm a he-man. (always)
b  If you would hold on, (kindly) I will see if the manager is in.
c  I put my foot in it yesterday. (nearly)
d  I have had the pleasure of meeting her. (never)
e  She loves him. (no longer4)


2  Examples:
   She still5 hasn't come/She still has not come/She has still not come.
   Has she still not come? (Note the position of still in negative-interrogative sentences.)
   He still isn't an expert on the subject/He still is not an expert on the subject/He is still not an expert on the subject.
   She may still come.
   She still plays darts very well.


   Still is placed before negative words6 and before verbs that take do, does or did in the negative and in the interrogative, but it comes after verbs that do not take do, does or did in the negative and in the interrogative. There are also other adverbs which behave in the same way as still (certainly, definitely, probably, surely7, and a few others):
     They probably8 won't tell you the truth/They probably
     will not tell you the truth/They will probably not tell you the truth.
     I definitely won't go/I definitely will not go/I will definitely not go.
     This certainly isn't an easy question/This certainly is not an easy question/This is certainly not an easy question.
     He certainly9 does not love her.


a  This car is reliable. (still)
b  I don't know anything about cars. (really10) [= I have not the foggiest idea about cars.]
c  She won't come. (surely) [= I do not think she will come.]
d  They're not naīve. (certainly)
e  She can't beat you at draughts. (still)


3  Examples: (Insert yet or still where appropriate.)
   "Have you fed the dog yet?"
   "Not yet."
   He's not prepared to endure this yet.
(Or more formally, He is not yet prepared to endure this.)

   Yet11 has a similar meaning to still, but goes at the end of the sentence and is only used in negative and in interrogative12 sentences. Compare these four sentences:
     He still hasn't done his homework. (= He should have done it by now.)
     He hasn't done his homework yet. (This sentence merely states something that has not been done.)
     Is he still at home? (He should have left by now)
     Is he at home yet? (I just want to know whether or not he is at home.)

a  I got a letter from her yesterday. I haven't written to her, but I'll do it tomorrow.
b  You haven't studied for your exam! Then you won't have time to learn everything for tomorrow.
c  I arrived in Paris yesterday. I haven't visited the Eiffel Tower, but I'll do it tomorrow.
d  I haven't had time to visit the Eiffel Tower. I've been very busy. (I would have liked to have visited some days ago.)
e  Is he studying? I can't believe it! He's been studying the whole afternoon.


4  Examples: (Insert already and yet where appropriate.)
   We have already sent a hundred postcards/We have sent a hundred postcards already. (This is quite a lot.)
   Have you already done your homework/Have you done your homework already? I can't believe it! Twenty minutes ago you said that you hadn't even started it.
   Have you done your homework yet?
(= I want to know whether or not you have done it.)

   So as to give more emphasis to the sentence, we place already at the end.

a  Are they here? They've come too early!
b  Are they here? (= I want to know whether they have arrived or not.)
c  You've eaten your supper! You eat too fast, I think.
d  Have you told her? I told you yesterday to wait for a couple of days!
e  "Have you fed the cat?"
   "Well, I was going to feed it when you rang the bell."


5  Examples:
   He gave her (indirect object) a gift (direct object).
   He gave a gift (direct object) to her (indirect object).
   She bought him (indirect object) a drink (direct object).
   She bought a drink (direct object) for him (indirect object).

   If we place the indirect object first, we do not use a preposition. If we put the direct object first13, a preposition is required. However, these two alternatives are not always possible: He explain the whole matter to her. Apart from to and for, there are other prepositions: I borrowed the money from my sister. We must bear in mind, too, that when an object is too long, it comes last:
     I'll give you the present (that) I promised.
     He gave a silver ring to the girl (that) he loved.


a  I owe. (my sister, a hundred dollars)
b  I made. (you, it)
c  He'll find. (them, a free seat)
d  You stole. (this workbook, Clive)
e  She bought. (it, you)


6  Examples:
   We work hard14 (manner) here (place) every day (time)/Every day we work hard here.
   I sent her (indirect object15) a bunch of flowers (direct object) yesterday morning. (time)
   He arrived early (time) in the morning (time16).
   He was killed by a terrorist (agent) with a revolver (instrument) near the Thames (place) last night (time)/
   Last night he was killed by a terrorist with a revolver near the Thames.
   He had some drinks (direct object) at the pub round the corner (place) with a friend (company).
   Unfortunately (point-of-view adverb), she didn't pass the exam (direct object) at the first attempt (time).
   He arrived home (place) tired (complement17).

   The more marginal meaning has a part of a sentence, the more marginal position it takes. For example, the connection between work and hard is stronger than the one between work and here.

   The normal order of a sentence can be altered to give more emphasis:
     You can find anything in New York at any time of the day. (usual order)
     In New York, you can find anything at any time of the day. (emphatic order18)
     At any time of the day, you can find anything in New York. (emphatic order)
     Usually(,) they spend their evenings watching television. (Instead of They usually spend their evenings watching television.)

a  Everything happened. (at night, late, last night)
b  She taught. (Arabic, a long time ago, at this school, me)
c  She was walking (home, slowly) when I saw her.
d  You're working. (very slowly, today) Is anything wrong with you?
e  They reported. (the police, it, yesterday)


7  Revision exercise.
a  We see each other. (seldom, now)
b  I think that unemployment will grow. (personally, over the next few months)
c  He talks. (from time to time, to her, in the pub round the corner)
d  She sits cross-legged. (on the ground, often)
e  They watch. (sometimes, this television programme, on Fridays)
f  This pullover has gone. (already, at the elbows)
g  She was not dressed for the occasion. (properly)
h  A burglar broke. (into the house, on Tuesday morning)
i  I won't go. (definitely, to the opera, tonight)
j  You can see. (the whole valley, from the top of the mountains, in a clear day)
k  I want you to send. (on Monday evening, the report, at the latest)
l  The house was built. (with granite blocks, in 1950, by my granfather)
m  She read. (some passages of the book that I like most, on Thursday morning, me)
n  She read. (some passages of the book, the girl who was sitting next to her, on the bus)
o  They declined (two days ago, my invitation) by saying that they had. (that very same day, at that very same time, an ;important meeting)
p  Her parents bought (a sports car, her, two days ago)
q  We can come. (tomorrow afternoon, at the very earliest)
r  They don't watch. (very often, sports programmes, on TV)
s  This book was bound. (by my great-grandfather, in 1910, in a small workshop, in leather)
t  She'll be. (now, probably, at home)
u  She will not rub. (any sun cream, probably, on her body, tomorrow)
v  Are you going? (already, home)
w  We take. (every day, a short cut, generally, to get here)
x  "Has your father got up?" (yet)
   "Not yet. He told me to wake up, (him, at ten o'clock) and it is." (still, half past nine)
y  When he saw her, she was walking. (worriedly, to and fro)
z  They have not found. (still, this illness, a cure)


____________________
1  For the order of adjectives, see unit 19.
2  Too and as well can replace also, but go at the end of the sentence and are less formal: You could buy her flowers(,) too/as well. See unit 5, section 1.
3  See unit 1.
4  Compare this with the following: She doesn't love him any longer/any more. Any more can also be written as one word (anymore), especially in American English. Some people consider anymore incorrect. They think that it should be written as two words.
5  Still can also mean even (in comparative sentences) or despite something:
     Today they are angry, but tomorrow they will be still (= even) angrier. (See the next section.)
     She told him she didn't want to see him any more. Still (= despite this), he phoned her to make it up with her/She told him that she didn't want to see him any more, but he still phoned her to make it up with her. (See the next section and unit 30, section 1.)
6  When still is used with the verb be, it can exceptionally come after not: He is not still an expert on the subject.
7  Surely may also go in initial and end positions:
     Surely some explanation lies behind his behaviour(?) [= Some explanation lies behind his behaviour, doesn't it?]
     You have taken your pills, surely(?) [= You have taken your pill, don't you?]
     They surely won't be there. (= I do not think they will be there.)
     Surely, I will help you. (= Of course I will help you.) [This usage is American.]
8  Probably can also come in front position: Probably they won't tell you the truth.
9  You cannot say He does certainly not love her.
10  Compare:
     I don't really fancy going out tonight. (= I am not very keen on going out tonight.)
     I really don't fancy going out tonight. (= I do not want to go out tonight.)
     I don't fancy going out tonight, really. (= I am not interested in going out tonight.)
11  Yet and still can mean "even" (in comparative sentences) or "however":
     His wife speaks French yet/still more fluently/His wife speaks French more fluently still.
     It was pouring. Yet, they went cycling.
(Or Still, they went cycling.)
   See the previous section and unit 30, section 1.
12  See the following section as well.
13  This position is necessary when the direct object is a pronoun:
     I gave it to Mary.
     She bought it for Michael.

14  Some adverbs of manner can come before past participles and adjectives:
     Your homework hasn't been properly done/done properly, so you'll have to do it again.
     Her children are badly behaved/Her children behave badly.

15  See the previous section.
16  When we have two adverbs of time, we generally put the shorter one before the longer one: I visited Erica yesterday at four o'clock.
17  It tell us some information about the subject.
18  Note the usage of the comma.

Author: Miquel Molina i Diez

Pages: 1 and the key

   Contents

   Introduction

   Notes

1  Negative and interrogative sentences (Page 2 and the key)

2  Short answers (Page 2 and the key)

3  Question tags (Page 2 and the key)

4  Questions and exclamations (Page 2 and the key)

5  So, neither, nor, either (the key)

6  Be, used to, would, be/get/become used to, dare, have, get, become, grow, go, turn, fall and feel (Page 2 and the key)

7  Verb tenses: forms (Page 2 and the key)

8  Irregular verbs

9  Verb tenses: uses (Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5 and the key)

10 Personal pronouns, possessives and reflexive pronouns (Page 2 and the key)

11 The genitive case (the key)

12 Singular and plural nouns (Page 2 and the key)

13 Gender (the key)

14 A, an, some, any, no, not, none, each, every and the; compounds of some, any, no and every (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)

15 Neither, not...either, none, not...any, both and all (the key)

16 A few, few, a lot, lots, a little, little, many, much, no and plenty (the key)

17 Enough, too, so and such (the key)

18 Comparative and superlative sentences (Page 2 and the key)

19 Adjective order (the key)

20 Relative clauses (Page 2 and the key)

21 Do and make (the key)

22 Modal verbs (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)

23 Infinitives, gerunds and present participles (Page 2 and the key)

24 Conditional sentences (Page 2 and the key)

25 Passive sentences (the key)

26 Reported speech (Page 2 and the key)

27 Purpose (the key)

28 Word order (the key)

29 Inversion (the key)

30 Connectors (Page 2 and the key)

31 Prepositions (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)

32 Phrasal verbs (the key)

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