Placing Adverbs within Sentences

In simple tenses and moods (present, imperfect, future, conditional, subjunctive), adverbs are generally placed directly after the verbs they modify.

  • Il parle français couramment. (He speaks French fluently.)

  • Je partirai immédiatement. (I'll leave immediately.)

  • Vous avez travaillé rapidement. (You worked quickly.)

Some longer adverbs are placed at the beginning of the sentence: D'habitude il court très vite. (Generally, he runs very quickly.) A general rule is to place these longer adverbs in the same position in a French sentence as you would place them in an English sentence.

In the passé composé, adverbs generally follow the past participle. Some of the more common adverbs — bien, mal, souvent, toujours, déjà, and encore, and adverbs of quantity — usually precede the past participle, as in the following examples:

  • Il est sorti rapidement. (He went out quickly.)

  • J'ai déjà vu ce film. (I already saw that movie.)

  • Elle a acheté beaucoup de livres. (She bought a lot of books.)