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1-A theology professor said, "Churches today grow usually by biological growth...or by transfer growth...In Acts, however, the growth was conversion growth, for the church was just behinning its work."

2-A theology professor said, "Churches today usually grow by biological growth...or by transfer growth...In Acts, however, the growth was conversion growth, for the church was just behinning its work."


As far as I know, adverb of frenguency, most of the time, is preceded by verb. For example, "I sometimes shoot questions in the air." You don't say, "I shoot sometimes questions in the air."

But I found in my example sentence 1 and 2, both word order are quite possible. The essence of the sentence still remains. I need your comment.

Thanks,
Pastel
Comments  
1-A theology professor said, "Churches today grow usually by biological growth...or by transfer growth...In Acts, however, the growth was conversion growth, for the church was just behinning its work."

2-A theology professor said, "Churches today usually grow by biological growth...or by transfer growth...In Acts, however, the growth was conversion growth, for the church was just behinning its work."

As far as I know, adverb of frenguency, most of the time, is preceded by verb. For example, "I sometimes shoot questions in the air." You don't say, "I shoot sometimes questions in the air."

But I found in my example sentence 1 and 2, both word order are quite possible. The essence of the sentence still remains. I need your comment.

JTT: I think virtually all ESLs that come here are familiar with the NORMAL NEUTRAL positioning of adverbs and I'm certain that you are, Pastel. But these little buggers are renowned for slip sliding into many positions.

This may seem strange in a language, English, that is also renowned for its strict word order requirements. Let's just call these guys the black sheep of the family.Emotion: smile

a) "I shoot sometimes questions into [in] the air."

b) "(2) I (1) shoot sometimes questions in the air (3)."

ENLs definitely don't NORMALLY say it, as in a). The ranking for what's most common could probably be shown as in sentence b). But, even the position in a) is possible. It shows an afterthought, a qualification that the speaker feels, needs to be added.

It would probably "look" {= sound like} this in speech;

"I shoot, ... SOMETIMES, questions into the air."

So too, with 1.

1-A theology professor said, "Churches today grow, ... USUALLY, by biological growth...or by transfer growth...In Acts, however, the growth was conversion growth, for the church was just behinning its work."
It shows an afterthought, a qualification that the speaker feels, needs to be added.


Thank you, it's clear as crystal now.

What lovely black sheep of the family.

Pastel
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I would add 'emphasis' to the list of reasons for moving an adverb of frequency; which you might denote thus:

1. 'Churches today grow – usually – by biological growth...'

The intonation in the case of 'emphasis' differs from the intonation in the case of 'afterthought'.

Some writers will also place an adverb in an unusual position for purely stylistic reasons. For instance, in this example, the stress pattern at the beginning of the sentence (— u u — — u u —) is a little too sing-song, and makes an ugly chime between 'grow' and 'growth':

2. 'Churches today usually grow by biological growth...

whereas here:

3. 'Churches today grow usually by biological growth (when the children within a local church family make a personal profession of faith) or by transfer growth (when a newcomer transfers his or her membership from another local church).'

the quieter rhythm avoids undue emphasis on the beginning of the sentence, and so leads the reader/listener on to the rather lengthy clauses that follow. Also, 'grow' carries a weaker stress, and so doesn't 'chime'.

There is yet another reason for moving the adverb: where we have an adverb of frequency in each clause, they quite often follow the verb, e.g.

4. 'Churches today grow sometimes by biological growth (when the children within a local church family make a personal profession of faith), but more frequently by transfer growth (when a newcomer transfers his or her membership from another local church).'


I have no doubt muddied the waters somewhat with these further qualifications. Apologies if so, Pastel.

MrP
Hello! MrP,
There is yet another reason for moving the adverb: where we have an adverb of frequency in each clause, they quite often follow the verb, e.g.

4. 'Churches today grow sometimes by biological growth (when the children within a local church family make a personal profession of faith), but more frequently by transfer growth (when a newcomer transfers his or her membership from another local church).'


I don't know why I smiled when my eyes met these two words, "quite often". I think you know what I'm saying.[G]Yes, quite often is the right choice.

I sometimes log in to(??? or on) Hotmail to check if there're any messages resting in the inbox, but more frequently I compose a new message to a loving friend far away.

MrP, your explanation is interesting. And I totally agree with you about the chime and rhythmn, in the case of two closely pronunciations as in "grow" and "growth." But other than that, I understand what JTT said.

Yes, you have muddied the water (why would you say waters?) but I'm as happy as a pig in slop. I'd rather be the cat that got her cream.

Thanks,
Pastel

Indeed – JTT's explanation is fine. My alternatives are merely supplementary.

Let me offer a little more slop:

A faintly querying emphasis might be notated thus:

5. 'Churches today grow usually by biological growth...'

And perhaps a better example of 'double adverbs of frequency' (#4) would be:

6. 'Churches today grow sometimes by biological growth, sometimes by transfer growth.'

'Muddied waters' – no, not an inadvertent reference to the bluesman; you can say 'waters' when you mean a natural source or area or expanse of water, e.g.

a) 'Taking the waters' (= visiting a place where a natural source of water is known for its health-giving properties, and drinking the water regularly).

b) 'Still waters run deep.'

c) 'Many waters cannot quench love.'

d) '...in international waters...'

e) '...inshore waters...'

MrP
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Thank you, MrP! I got it.
What about in passive voice?

Cancun is annually visited by an array of tourists...

or

Cancun is visited annually by an array of tourists...?

Does the rule apply to the auxiliary "to be" or only the verb?

How about

Their demands can sometimes be extreme.

or

Their demands can be sometimes extreme. ?