1. He thought carefully about his decision.
  2. He carefully thought about his decision.

In general, how do I determine if an adverb should be placed before or after a verb?

In this example, which is the better example?

  • 2
    Do you mean 'adverb' (not adjective)?
    – BillJ
    Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 7:43

2 Answers 2


An adverb usually follows the verb, but can precede it, possibly giving emphasis to it. Google Ngram Viewer shows that 'he carefully thought' is about half as common as 'he thought carefully'. 'You' and 'they' are similar, but 'she carefully thought' is only about one-tenth as common as 'she thought carefully' and there is no record of 'we carefully thought' at all.


In this case the word "carefully" is an adverb; a word that describes the verb. These words usually end in "ly", such as quickly, happily, quietly. To answer your question, you should place the adverb after the verb it describes, so in your question, (1) is correct.

  • 1
    Good on you for saying "carefully" is an adverb, but adverbs can also precede the verb.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 9:10

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