Position of adverbs with verbs in compound tenses

Look at these sentences:

Elle a bien mangé
She 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, jamais, mal, mieux, moins, souvent, toujours, trop and vite.

BUT 

Certain adverbs of time and manner can both be AT THE END or be 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.

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.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle a bien mangé
She ate well


Tu as joué au foot hier.

You played football yesterday.


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


Il est parti tard.
He left late.


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



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


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


Nous sommes allés à Marseille hier.
We went to Marseille yesterday.


Elle a compris facilement.
She understood easily.


Hier tu as joué au foot.
Yesterday, you played football.


Q&A Forum 5 questions, 9 answers

PaulineA2Kwiziq community member

Video contradicts lesson

I am confused about the position of adverbs because the video says they go right after the verb they are modifying but when I answered the mini quiz in that way I got 0/2

Any thoughts?

Pauline 

Asked 1 day ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Not all adverbs go immediately after the verb. The corresponding lesson gives examples of exceptions as well. Here is a summary: https://www.dummies.com/languages/french/how-to-position-french-adverbs-in-sentences/

Video contradicts lesson

I am confused about the position of adverbs because the video says they go right after the verb they are modifying but when I answered the mini quiz in that way I got 0/2

Any thoughts?

Pauline 

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MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Where do you teach putting "Plus tard" at the beginning of a sentence.

Position of adverbs.

In a multiple choice question, I was presented with "plus tard" at the beginning of a sentence.

"Plus tard, elle te parlera."

This lesson does not teach this, or did I miss something?

Sidenote...to my ear this sentence sounded correct...I had selected it then checked the lesson, when I did not see this particular construction discussed I reversed my decision. I can hear myself saying "she will talk to you later" in French this way.

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi  Michael,

The position of adverbs is quite complex in French as it is variable and often governed by reasons of style.

In the case of 'plus tard' which is an adverb of time ( enfin, soudain, autrefois, maintenant,  etc.) it can be put at the beginning of a sentence for the sake of emphasis. 

But there is no hard and fast rule here.

Hope this helps!

MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks Cécile, that helps.

Where do you teach putting "Plus tard" at the beginning of a sentence.

Position of adverbs.

In a multiple choice question, I was presented with "plus tard" at the beginning of a sentence.

"Plus tard, elle te parlera."

This lesson does not teach this, or did I miss something?

Sidenote...to my ear this sentence sounded correct...I had selected it then checked the lesson, when I did not see this particular construction discussed I reversed my decision. I can hear myself saying "she will talk to you later" in French this way.

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SaraB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

<>?

What position would <> take?

Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Ah! then best avoid those...

Franchement and préférablement can be found in different places in a sentence. Take a look at the following examples:

Franchement -

Je vous ai dit franchement ce qui c'est passé I told you honestly what happened

Franchement, tu exaggères! = To be frank /honest, you are out of order!

Aucun de ses collègues n'étaient franchement meilleurs que lui None of his colleagues were truly/really better than him

Préférablementde préférence -

Nous irions préférablement/de préférence  en Italie = We would prefer to go to Italy

Il faut prendre deux cachets par jour, de préférence avec les repas = Two tablets per day, to be taken, preferably with meals

Cette fête aurait préférablement/ de préférence lieu le 26 décembre  = This party would take place preferably /ideally on the 26th of December

Hope this helps!

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi  Sara,

What is the word missing between <   > ?

SaraB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hello Cécile, I think the system thought I was trying to code...! 

The word I was after was préférablement, but I’m also curious about franchement. Thank you!

SaraB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thank you very much Cécile! 

<>?

What position would <> take?

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PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Plus tard

"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."

But the "correct"micro-quiz answer for the placement of "plus tard" is at the beginning or end of the sentence. Does adding "plus" modify the normal placement of "tard"? 

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Paul !
The case of "plus tard" is similar to the English "later": it can be used at the beginning of the sentence, after the verb or at the end of the sentence.
Later, I went to the cinema.Plus tard, je suis allé au cinéma.
I went to the cinema later.Je suis allé au cinéma plus tard.Je suis allé plus tard au cinéma.
Bonne journée !

Plus tard

"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."

But the "correct"micro-quiz answer for the placement of "plus tard" is at the beginning or end of the sentence. Does adding "plus" modify the normal placement of "tard"? 

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AlisonC1Kwiziq community member

Think you have left the wors "always FOLLOW the past participle" in here by accident?

Just before last example
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Alison ! Yes indeed ! Thanks to your eagle eye, it's now been removed :) Merci beaucoup et bonne journée !

Think you have left the wors "always FOLLOW the past participle" in here by accident?

Just before last example

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