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Which of the following is correct?

  1. It has been changed already
  2. It already has been changed
  3. It has been already changed
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1  
I'd like to add "It has already been changed" to the list. :) –  Damkerng T. Feb 10 at 16:55
1  
Enough already! But let's not forget Already it has been changed. They're all perfectly valid - it just depends where you want the precise emphasis to fall. –  FumbleFingers Feb 10 at 23:26

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

None of the above. Try, "It has already been changed."

Option 3) is definitely wrong. Option 1) is correct, but emphasizes "already". My version emphasizes the change. "The menu has already been changed, but the customers are still complaining about the lack of variety."

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1 is typical, 2 is rare, and 3 is foreign-sounding. There's also the very common "It has already been changed" which you have left out.

The more I think about this, the more it seems that the placement of adverbs in sentences like these is idiomatic and varies from word to word. I got to thinking about "It has been carefully changed" and "It has been changed carefully", which both work for me. Putting carefully in other places sounds to me like something that might occur in poetry or songs but not in general usage.

Perhaps someone else has more insight into rules that I can find. It seems to me that the placement is often more a matter of style than correctness.

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2  
+1. "It already has been changed" seems very natural to me, but "it carefully has been changed" is totally weird. –  Abby T. Miller Feb 10 at 17:42
    
I can't agree with "2 is rare". As Abby says, it's a perfectly natural usage. And according to Google Books, already has been changed occurs 24,800 times, whereas has been changed already only gets 1930 hits. Even has been already changed gets 2550 hits, but none is "better" in any absolute sense. –  FumbleFingers Feb 10 at 23:36
    
Fair enough. I'm just going with reactions based on personal experience (when would I say "it's been changed already", "it's already been changed" and "it's been already changed"). I note that the ngram viewer doesn't find occurrence of any of the phrases when you put the word "it" in front of them, and my reactions to the phrases in the books are not the same. For example, "some abiding cause of changing what already has been changed" doesn't sound rare, and "so that what has been already changed will seem small by comparison" doesn't sound foreign to me. –  BobRodes Feb 14 at 20:04

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