To achieve good English, another internal requirement is the correct use of some adverbs. Some of the adverbs are placed before or after the verbs they modify. If this requirement is not followed, a reader, who is conversant with good English, will be at once struck with the defect in the quality of English.
Below are a few adverbs which are always placed before the verb they modify: 1- Frequently, 2- Seldom, 3- Rarely etc. We should say ‘I frequently visited him’ and not as ‘I visited him frequently.’ Also ‘he seldom comes late’ is correct, while ‘he comes seldom late’ is incorrect. The use of adverb ‘rarely’ is also worth noting. It is good English to say ‘he rarely makes a mistake’ rather than to say ‘he makes a mistake rarely.’
It is good English to say ‘he is always happy‘ and not as ‘he always is happy.’ Here the adverb ‘always’ is placed after the verb ‘is’ and not before it. Another example is ‘he is never late to school.’ Here also the adverb ‘never’ is placed after the verb ‘is’ and not before it.
In the same way, a sentence acquires different meanings according to the position of the word ‘only’ in it. Below is a sentence containing ‘only’ which gives different meanings according to the position of ‘only’ in it. The sentence is as follows:
a) Only he promised to help me in my distress.
b) He only promised to help me in my distress.
c) He promised only to help me in my distress.
d) He promised to help me only in my distress.
Now look at the first sentence. It means only he and nobody else promised to help me in my distress. Second sentence means he only promised to help…..distress but did not keep up his promise. Third sentence means he promised to help me only……distress. Fourth sentence means he promised to help….only in my distress and in nothing else.
So while speaking or writing good English, utmost care must be taken to put the proper word in a proper position in a sentence. Another adverb, whose correct use helps good English is ‘ago.’ It is an adverb of time and it signifies ‘from the present time backwards.’ For instance: