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As far as I know, it is only possible to put an adverb between "to" and a bare-verb and after the infinitive.

But is it possible that an adverb is put before the infinitive even when the adverb modifies the infinitive as in this example S below?

- S. He began slowly to get off the floor.

An English book says sentence S is correct and the same in meaning as this "He began to slowly to get off the floor".

Is that really so?

Could you answer my question?

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fire1Can an adverb modify an infinitive when the adverb is put before the infinitive?

Yes, especially adverbs of negation like 'not' or 'never'.

It is important not to interrupt your teacher in class.

fire1As far as I know, it is only possible to put an adverb between "to" and a bare-verb and after the infinitive.

After the whole infinitive is better. After 'to' is not so good.

fire1

But is it possible that an adverb is put before the infinitive even when the adverb modifies the infinitive as in this example S below?

- S. He began slowly to get off the floor.

Yes, that's possible, but at the end is best.

He began to get off the floor slowly.

fire1

- S. He began slowly to get off the floor.

An English book says sentence S is correct and the same in meaning as this "He began to slowly to get off the floor".
Is that really so?

Yes, but as already mentioned above, putting 'slowly' at the end is the best solution to this problem.

There are, in fact, situations where the only possible choice is to put the adverb at the end.

Here other choices spoil the word order of the idiom:

I wanted to take them seriously. OK.
I wanted to seriously take them. NO!
I wanted seriously to take them. NO!

Here other choices just sound silly:

She likes to talk fast. OK.
She likes to fast talk. NO!
She like fast to talk. NO!

He is able to sing well. OK.
He is able to well sing. NO!
He is able well to sing. NO!

Here there's some room for variation:

We need to detonate the bomb carefully. BEST.
We need to carefully detonate the bomb. Not completely awful.
We need carefully to detonate the bomb. Worst.

This allowed him to proclaim boldly that the senator was wrong. OK.
This allowed him to boldly proclaim that the senator was wrong. Possible.
This allowed him boldly to proclaim that the senator was wrong. Not so good.

CJ

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CalifJimCalifJim

Thank you very much!

1. We need carefully to detonate the bomb.
2. This allowed him boldly to proclaim that the senator was wrong.

Q1) Then even in your examples 1 and 2 above, do both "carefully" and "boldly" modify the infinitives "to detonate" and "to proclaim"?

Q2) And don't you consider sentences 1 and 2 as wrong even though both adverbs modify the infinitives?

Q3) Other than the negative words "not" and "never", do native speakers sometimes put an adverb before an infinitive like your examples 1 and 2?

Q4) If so, in both examples A and B below, do you consider both adverbs "nowhere" and "everywhere" modify the infinitives "to be found" and "to be seen"?

A. He was nowhere to be found.

B. They are everywhere to be seen.

I would say yes to the four questions, but not very clear about Q4.

fire1

1. We need carefully to detonate the bomb.
2. This allowed him boldly to proclaim that the senator was wrong.

Q1) Then even in your examples 1 and 2 above, do both "carefully" and "boldly" modify the infinitives "to detonate" and "to proclaim"?

Yes.

fire1Q2) And don't you consider sentences 1 and 2 as wrong even though both adverbs modify the infinitives?

I wouldn't say "wrong", speaking of grammar, but I would say "not recommended" and "avoid", speaking of usage and style.

fire1Q3) Other than the negative words "not" and "never", do native speakers sometimes put an adverb before an infinitive like your examples 1 and 2?

No, but "not" and "never" are good examples of exceptions to that general principle.

Native speakers do not usually put an adverb before the infinitive with the intention of modifying the infinitive because too often the adverb sounds much more like it modifies the preceding verb. In the examples below you see adverbs like this. They modify the preceding verb, not the infinitive 'to go' which follows.

Parents and children had to choose seriously to go to a given school.
The ducks will learn quickly to go into the water in this way.
She dressed herself carefully to go out.

fire1

Q4) If so, in both examples A and B below, do you consider both adverbs "nowhere" and "everywhere" modify the infinitives "to be found" and "to be seen"?

A. He was nowhere to be found.

B. They are everywhere to be seen.

They aren't adverbs in the same sense that 'quickly' or 'carefully' are, so they act a bit differently. I hesitate to say that they modify, but I suppose that's how they would be analyzed grammatically. These are adverbs of place, not adverbs of manner.

A. He could not be found in any place.
B. They could be seen in every place.

When you paraphrase them as shown above, and as shown below, you see that maybe the adverb doesn't really modify the infinitive. Maybe the infinitive modifies the adverb?

A. There was no [place where we could find him].
B. There was no [place where we could not see them].

CJ

CalifJimNative speakers do not usually put an adverb before the infinitive with the intention of modifying the infinitive because too often the adverb sounds much more like it modifies the preceding verb. In the examples below you see adverbs like this. They modify the preceding verb, not the infinitive 'to go' which follows.
1. We need carefully to detonate the bomb.
2. This allowed him boldly to proclaim that the senator was wrong.

Thanks a lot!

I'm really sorry to bother you.

I still have a question to ask.

That is, is it possible that a native English speaker clumsily or, for some reason, intentionally put an adverb before an infinitive even when the adverb actually modifies the infinitive like in your examples 1 and 2?

I'm asking this because you said 'no' to Q3, but I seem to have seen such examples written by native English speakers.

Could you make it clear?

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fire1I seem to have seen such examples written by native English speakers.

Well, this is a complicated topic, and speakers don't always take these complications into account when they speak or write, so I'm sure you'll find such examples often enough to puzzle you.

If you do find such examples, just post a new question about the specific sentence where you found it, and someone will help you to analyze it.

fire1Could you make it clear?

I don't think anybody can make it clear. Emotion: smile

It's likely that every example has a little twist that makes it different from any other example, so I don't think there is a nice simple rule like you want.

CJ

CalifJimI wanted to take them seriously. OK
CalifJimShe likes to talk fast. OK.
CalifJimHe is able to sing well. OK.

Are "seriously", "fast" and "well" pieces of new information in sentences above thus being put at the end of those sentences?

anonymous
CalifJimI wanted to take them seriously. OK
CalifJimShe likes to talk fast. OK.
CalifJimHe is able to sing well. OK.

Are "seriously", "fast" and "well" pieces of new information in sentences above thus being put at the end of those sentences?

Of course they represent new information, but then adding any word anywhere in a sentence would be adding new information.

This is more related to our tendency as English speakers to put adverbs of manner at the end of clauses.

CJ

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