I often hear people say:

A: She is beautiful

B: She certainly is.

but we say "They are definitely suited for each other." & don't say "They definitely are suited..." because it sounds wrong.

So, when can we put an adverb before "be" verb?

  • 1
    "They definitely are suited for each other" doesn't sound wrong to this US English speaker. It's a slightly unusual word order that emphasizes are, but it isn't wrong. – stangdon Mar 24 '17 at 11:24
  • I don't think we can make up a rule for why an adverb appears less common in some places. That slot is certainly available because you normally do hear things like "They generally are not suited for . . . ". – It's Over Mar 24 '17 at 11:27

Adverbs can be used in that position. It may be slightly unusual.

When you say "They are definitely suited..." the adverb can be understood to be modifying the adjective "suited" But if you place it before "are" you are modifying the verb "are", and the linking verb doesn't carry much meaning. It may be slightly odd to be modifying a linking word.

But just as "they certainly are" is correct, you can say "they definitely are suited... ". It is not ungrammatical.

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