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President Nixon, accompanied by newsmen, made a helicopter tour yesterday of the devastated areas. He declared five states to be disaster areas—Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia.

New York Times The Times of the Seventies

I would've expected "made a helicopter tour of the devastated areas yesterday".

What makes the change of the word order grammatical?

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    This example is grammatical and some would say clearer than placing the adverb at the end of the sentence. When the size of the phrase that comes between the verb and its adverb is quite large, we can reorder things to keep the verb and its adverb in closer proximity to each other. "made a helicopter tour of the devastated areas yesterday" So, yesterday made, made yesterday, and made a helicopter tour yesterday are all viable. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 5 '16 at 17:38
  • Ah, yep! I forgot about that. Thanks for reminding me. – Kinzle B Oct 5 '16 at 17:40
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This is more a question of good style than proper grammar, but in this case you're correct that expressions of place should come before expressions of time:

President Nixon, accompanied by newsmen, made a helicopter tour of the devastated areas yesterday.

This sounds better, but the original still gets the meaning across.

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