Consider the following sentences:

I currently work as a soccer coach and have helped a number of players to considerably improve their technique.


I currently work as a soccer coach and have helped a number of players improve their technique considerably.

Which sentence is structured more clearly? My gut is that the first one is better because the adverb "considerably" is closer to the verb it's describing "improve." I've seen similar questions on the ACT that involved having the adjective as close as possible to the "expressed noun."

  • 1
    I'll submit that the best (least ambiguous) place to put it is in a split infinitive "... to considerably improve ..." ;)
    – amI
    Dec 8, 2018 at 18:29
  • Idiomatically, the preposition to is required in the first example but is optional in the second. Dec 8, 2018 at 19:39
  • Thanks, but do you agree that one example is better than the other? On the ACT, there are several questions that are clearly right or wrong based on how close a description is to an expressed noun.
    – user27343
    Dec 8, 2018 at 20:32

2 Answers 2


The goal of adverb placement is not always to place it as close as possible to the verb it modifies. For example, it would be completely reasonable to say, "Currently, I work as a soccer coach." Moving the adverb to the front of the sentence could be useful for the broader piece of prose, especially if the surrounding sentences all started with the personal pronoun "I."

If these were the two options on the ACT, the first would be less ambiguous. However, it is hard for me to imagine these both being options on the ACT.


The first is structured more naturally; the second puts a lot of emphasis on the word “considerably,” which is fine if that’s the point.

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