Praising all alike is praising none.

This sentence is fine.

But if I say

Praising alike all is praising none.

This is a bit weird. Why?

Is there any rule that governs placing adverbs in a sentence?


In general, modifiers should be placed closest to the object that they are modifying.

The first sentence is correct because the placement of "alike" to modify "to praise" has to come after the collective noun "all" because "praise all" is a verb phrase. So, while the adverb is not right next to the verb it is modifying, it's as close as possible.

To see why the second example is awkward and incorrect, we can use a more familiar1 phrasing:

We praised him highly.

is correct, in contrast with

We praised highly him.

1 I only say this because this sentence is more of an aphorism than something you would write in a day-to-day context.

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