Dear fellow netizens,
I am tutoring a pupil whose English teacher's grading on the test I don't agree with. I wonder who of us had it wrong. Hence I am asking your opinion about the following sentences. The task was to put the adverbs where they normally stand.
Which of the variations given is better, in your opinion? Are there any you would consider not "normal"? Can you point out any grammatical rules that might apply?
Note: 1) and 2) form a single sentence.
1) (completely)1a) In fact, his death was one of James' major reasons for completely turning away from the streets ...
1b) In fact, his death was one of James' major reasons for turning away from the streets completely ...
2) (harder than ever before)2a) ... and studying, harder than ever before, for school. 2b) ... and studying harder for school than ever before. 2c) ... and studying for school, harder than ever before.
3) (unfortunately)3a) Unfortunately, James' childhood was very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city. 3b) James' childhood was unfortunately very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city.
4) (patiently)4a) But you have to have a strong will
and stick patiently to your goals.
4b) But you have to have a strong will
and stick patiently to your goals patiently.
Bonus question (not about an adverb):
Is there a problem with one or more of the following sentences? 5a) My parents made me clean my room.
5b) My parents made me clean up my room.
5c) My parents made me tidy up my room.
Thanks in advance!
Michael

Still an attentive ear he lent Her speech hath caused this pain But could not fathom what she meant Easier I count it to explain She was not deep, nor eloquent. The jargon of the howling main from Lewis Carroll: The Three Usenet Trolls
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Dear fellow netizens, I am tutoring a pupil whose English teacher's grading on the test I don't agree with. I ... your opinion? Are there any you would consider not "normal"? Can you point out any grammatical rules that might apply?

I'll bet you get a wide range of responses. Mine follow, but they're as much personal opinion as anything else. Just about every variation given is grammatical; the issue is which is "better." That's a tough question.
Note: 1) and 2) form a single sentence. 1) (completely) 1a) In fact, his death was one of James' major ... ... 1b) In fact, his death was one of James' major reasons for turning away from the streets completely ...

It's quite hard to choose one over the other, but if compelled to choose I'd pick 1a for keeping the adverb closer to the verb. My own preference is for 1c) ... for turning completely away from the streets.
2) (harder than ever before) 2a) ... and studying, harder than ever before, for school. 2b) ... and studying harder for school than ever before. 2c) ... and studying for school, harder than ever before.

Again, none is wrong. To me 2b sounds best. I'd omit the comma from 2c.
3) (unfortunately) 3a) Unfortunately, James' childhood was very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city. 3b) James' childhood was unfortunately very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city.

I go with 3a. Many people would exclude it as a "sentence adverb," but there's nothing wrong with sentence adverbs per se, and putting it anywhere else, as in 3b, deprives the adverb of its introductory function. I suppose you can argue that it modifies "very similar," but my mind's ear doesn't hear it that way. I expect disagreement on this one.
4) (patiently) 4a) But you have to have a strong will and stick patiently to your goals. 4b) But you have to have a strong will and stick patiently to your goals patiently.

I gather that 4b was supposed to have only the "patiently" at the end. Here I vote for 4a; there's no reason to move the adverb away from the verb ("stick") it modifies.
Bonus question (not about an adverb): Is there a problem with one or more of the following sentences? 5a) My parents made me clean my room. 5b) My parents made me clean up my room. 5c) My parents made me tidy up my room.

I think some contributors may find 5c unidiomatic. It is certainly the least desirable of the three alternatives. To this American ear, it squeaks by. In colloquial use I'd pick either 5a or 5b; saving a two-letter word doesn't seem sufficient to justify a choice of one over the other.
Thanks in advance!

'Sawright.

Bob Lieblich
Idiom savant (on his saner days)
Dear fellow netizens, I am tutoring a pupil whose English teacher's grading on the test I don't agree with. I ... ... 1b) In fact, his death was one of James' major reasons for turning away from the streets completely ...

I can see another, possibly better choice:
1c) In fact, his death was one of James' major reasons for turning completely away from the streets ...
2) (harder than ever before) 2a) ... and studying, harder than ever before, for school. 2b) ... and studying harder for school than ever before. 2c) ... and studying for school, harder than ever before.

and then I'd select choice 2c.
3) (unfortunately) 3a) Unfortunately, James' childhood was very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city. 3b) James' childhood was unfortunately very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city.

I'd have my own version:
3c) James' childhood unfortunately was very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city.
4) (patiently) 4a) But you have to have a strong will and stick patiently to your goals. 4b) But you have to have a strong will and stick patiently to your goals patiently.

I assume you meant
and stick to your goals patiently.
I'd go with
4c) But you have to have a strong will
and patiently stick to your goals.
Bonus question (not about an adverb): Is there a problem with one or more of the following sentences? 5a) My parents made me clean my room. 5b) My parents made me clean up my room. 5c) My parents made me tidy up my room.

The first one is something I wouldn't say.

Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
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Dear fellow netizens, I am tutoring a pupil whose English teacher's grading on the test I don't agree with. I ... your opinion? Are there any you would consider not "normal"? Can you point out any grammatical rules that might apply?

I see all of your examples as acceptable on grammatical grounds and even on functional grounds. You are asking for subleties of style.
Note: 1) and 2) form a single sentence. 1) (completely) 1a) In fact, his death was one of James' major ... ... 1b) In fact, his death was one of James' major reasons for turning away from the streets completely ...

It depends what you want to emphasize. The last position in a sentence (or independent clause) is a position of emphasis. Many native speakers have never heard this or noticed it consciously, but it's true the word or phrase that comes last generally acquires an extra importance, just by being there. If an unsuitable word is put there, the sentence can sound anticlimactic or lame.
If you think "from the streets" is important, go with la. If you think "completely" is important, go with lb. I suspect you want lb.
2) (harder than ever before) 2a) ... and studying, harder than ever before, for school. 2b) ... and studying harder for school than ever before. 2c) ... and studying for school, harder than ever before.

What is most important that he's studying for school, or that he's studying "harder than ever before"? I suspect the latter, so 2c or 2b.
3) (unfortunately) 3a) Unfortunately, James' childhood was very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city. 3b) James' childhood was unfortunately very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city.

The first position in the sentence is a good place for sentence-modifying adjectives; they don't interrupt anything, they sound natural, and they don't accidentally mislead. They can be put in other places, but they can sound like a bit of an interruption or afterthought. So, 3a.
4) (patiently) 4a) But you have to have a strong will and stick patiently to your goals. 4b) But you have to have a strong will and stick patiently to your goals patiently.

I assume you didn't mean the extra (first) "patiently" in 4b. Either is okay, but 4a sounds just a little better to me; putting it at the end sounds like an afterthought tacked on.
Bonus question (not about an adverb): Is there a problem with one or more of the following sentences? 5a) My parents made me clean my room. 5b) My parents made me clean up my room. 5c) My parents made me tidy up my room.

Best Donna Richoux
An American living in the Netherlands
1) (completely) 1a) In fact, his death was one of ... major reasons for turning away from the streets completely ...

I can see another, possibly better choice: 1c) In fact, his death was one of James' major reasons for turning completely away from the streets ...

Two people have suggested this, but it actually changes the meaning slightly: you're no longer "turning completely," the direction that you're turning is "completely away."
In general, these questions all seem to present a tension between keeping the adverb near the verb and placing it at the end or beginning of the sentence for emphasis, which is just a question of tone. If "completely" is what you want to stress for effect, stick it at the end by itself. If it's not important, keep it with the verb. Both options are correct and idiomatic, but express slightly different intentions.
Dear fellow netizens, I am tutoring a pupil whose English teacher's grading on the test I don't agree with. I ... ... 1b) In fact, his death was one of James' major reasons for turning away from the streets completely ...

I like 1b, but they're both fine and mean the same thing. The first one is slightly inferior for the false scent laid by "completely turning" and for making the reader wait for the object of "for" so you can slip in an essentially extraneous adverb. The difference is strictly stylistic.
2) (harder than ever before) 2a) ... and studying, harder than ever before, for school. 2b) ... and studying harder for school than ever before. 2c) ... and studying for school, harder than ever before.

I like 2b. I would like 2a just fine without the commas, but with them it hobbles. Number 2c is clunky we have him turning away from the streets and studying, by implication studying instead of doing whatever he had been doing on the streets, then we are surprised to find that he had been studying all along, only not as hard as he might have. I call 2c wrong, but the other two differ only in style.
3) (unfortunately) 3a) Unfortunately, James' childhood was very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city. 3b) James' childhood was unfortunately very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city.

The first one is right if the context permits it. The second one doesn't yield a clear meaning upon close examination a rule I made up or read in Fowler, I don't remember which, but a way I use to tell when a sentence needs to be recast. It seems to mean that the childhoods were unfortunately similar when what it should mean is that it is unfortunate that they were similar.
4) (patiently) 4a) But you have to have a strong will and stick patiently to your goals. 4b) But you have to have a strong will and stick patiently to your goals patiently.

I'm sure you meant for 4b to read "stick to your goals patiently." Again, the difference is purely stylistic. I like 4a because it ends more strongly.
Bonus question (not about an adverb): Is there a problem with one or more of the following sentences? 5a) My parents made me clean my room. 5b) My parents made me clean up my room. 5c) My parents made me tidy up my room.

No.

Perchprism
(southern New Jersey, near Philadelphia)
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Thank you for your answer.
Robert Lieblich schrieb:
I'll bet you get a wide range of responses.

I hope so; that's why I made my post easy to answer. I'll post a summary of everyone's responses (and the responses of the teacher) later. You can also reply by email via the Reply-To: address ([email protected] , it should be used automatically if you hit your the "reply by email" button).
4) (patiently) 4a) But you have to have a strong ... a strong will and stick patiently to your goals patiently.

I gather that 4b was supposed to have only the "patiently" at the end.

Indeed, well spotted. It should read:
4b) But you have to have a strong will
and stick to your goals patiently.
Thanks!
Michael

Still an attentive ear he lent Her speech hath caused this pain But could not fathom what she meant Easier I count it to explain She was not deep, nor eloquent. The jargon of the howling main from Lewis Carroll: The Three Usenet Trolls
I wonder who of us had it wrong.

Everyday usage here is "which", not "who". Expressions like "who of us" or "who among us" have a literary sound, and even then are only used when "us" refers to people generally, not a specific group.
Which of the variations given is better, in your opinion? Are there any you would consider not "normal"?

Assuming that the first "patiently" isn't supposed to be there in 4b, all of these are purely questions of style. All the constructions are correct and more or less equivalent.
Note: 1) and 2) form a single sentence. 1) (completely) 1a) In fact, his death was one of James' major ... 2b) ... and studying harder for school than ever before. 2c) ... and studying for school, harder than ever before.

Today I like 1b+2b. Tomorrow I might easily have another choice.
3) (unfortunately) 3a) Unfortunately, James' childhood was very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city. 3b) James' childhood was unfortunately very similar to that of many other youths who grew up in the inner city.

I like 3a. In 3b, I would tend to set off "unfortunately" with a pair of commas, but I think either way is okay.
4) (patiently) 4a) But you have to have a strong will and stick patiently to your goals. 4b) But you have to have a strong will and stick to your goals patiently. (corrected msb)

I like 4a.
Bonus question (not about an adverb): Is there a problem with one or more of the following sentences? 5a) My parents made me clean my room. 5b) My parents made me clean up my room. 5c) My parents made me tidy up my room.

All fine. To me there is a difference in meaning: "tidy" or "tidy up" means putting things where they belong, while "clean" involves the use of a mop, vacuum cleaner, etc.; but "clean up" can have either meaning. I expect that not everyone will agree with this.
"Up", where present, can also be moved to the end without any change of meaning.

Mark Brader, Toronto > "No flames were used in the creation of (Email Removed) > this message." Ray Depew

My text in this article is in the public domain.
Michael Mendelsohn:

"Skitt":
1c) In fact, his death was one of James' major reasons for turning completely away from the streets ...

Dylan B.D.:
Two people have suggested this, but it actually changes the meaning slightly: you're no longer "turning completely," the direction that you're turning is "completely away."

I think this is a distinction without a difference.
Mark Brader, Toronto, (Email Removed) > "...but I could be wromg." Rodney Boyd
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