As a general rule, Spanish adverbs (and adverbial phrases) usually are placed near the word they modify. While in English it is common to considerably separate an adverb from the word it modifies, that usually isn’t done in Spanish.

For example, note the following sentence: Aprobó facilmente el examen de geometría euclidiana. (She passed the Euclidian geometry test easily.) The adverb, facilmente, comes immediately after the verb, aprobó. It would not be placed at the end of the sentence as is common in English.


It is possible in Spanish to place the adverb after the object of a verb — but only if the object is made up of just a word or two. For example, one might say “el condado emitió dos licencias previamente (“the county issued two licenses previously”) as well as “el condado ha emitido previamente dos licencias.” But if many more words follow the verb, the adverb can’t be tacked on afterward. For example, “el condado emitió previamente dos licencias de matrimonio para parejas jovenes” (the county issued two marriage licenses for young couples previously) is acceptable, while placing previamente at the end of that sentence would not be typical of Spanish.

Adverbs can be placed before or after the word they modify, depending on how they are used:

An adverb that modifies a verb usually is placed afterward. (If it comes before the verb, it is usually to add emphasis.)

Examples: El líder rebelde declaró el sábado que suspenderá por un día o dos un planeado ataque. (The rebel leader declared Saturday he would suspend a planned attack for a day or two.) La economía se basa principalmente en tres empresas. (The economy is based principally on three businesses.)

In an exception to the above rule, no always precedes the verb it negates, and other adverbs of negation (such as nunca) frequently go before the verb they refer to.

Examples: No quiero ir al cine. (I don’t want to go to the movies.) María nunca habla de su vida personal. (María never talks about her personal life.)

An adverb that modifies another adverb comes before the adverb being modified.

Examples: Comió muy lenta. (He ate very slowly.) Pueden moverse tan rápidamente como la luz. (They can move as quick as light.)

An adverb that modifies an adjective comes before the adjective.

Examples: Estoy muy contento. (I am very happy.) Fueron significamente diferentes. (They were significantly different.)

An adverb that modifies an entire sentence often comes at the beginning of the sentence but can go elsewhere.

Examples: Quizás tú y yo encontremos algo. (Perhaps you and I will find something.) Evidentemente, en este caso existen dos puntos de vistas. En este caso, evidentemente, existen dos puntos de vista. (Evidently, in this case there are two points of view.) Sharon posiblemente retrasará su viaje. Posiblemente, Sharon retrasará su viaje. Sharon retrasará posiblemente su viaje. (Possibly, Sharon will postpone her trip.)

via Placement of Adverbs – Learn Spanish Language.

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