In his early matches he was not quite good.

But if I would like to say the same:

When he was playing { gap } he wasn't quite good.

Should I put early as an adverb in the gap?

  • When he was playing earlier he wasn't quite good? – Bella Swan Mar 20 '19 at 9:53

Not sure if the adverb early works after the verb in this sentence. I would say

When he was first playing, he wasn’t very good.

Or maybe more idiomatically,

When he first started playing, he wasn’t very good.

I’ve also replaced “not quite good” with “not very good”. The latter is a common euphemism meaning “actually quite bad”.

| improve this answer | |
  • Early does work as an adverb in that position, but it would give the sentence a different meaning: when he was playing early [in the morning] (or earlier than he usually played), he wasn't good. – Juhasz Mar 20 '19 at 3:26
  • @Juhasz definitely. Using early in the second sentence would change the context to earlier in the day, versus in the first sentence which seems to indicate that at the beginning of his career he wasn't very good. We lack context from the OP to know which one he actually means. – user9570789 Mar 20 '19 at 4:54
  • "In his early matches" could mean at the start of a tournament or other event, or it could mean early in his career. "His early play wasn't very good" has the same ambiguity. – David Siegel Mar 20 '19 at 5:08

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