In the following sentence where should I place the adverbs all day long

The courtiers used to tell the king how efficient an administrator he was.

  • Where would you place the phrase? – Ronald Sole Jul 6 at 11:10

First, it depends on what you mean. If you mean that the courtiers reassured the king that the time of day had no material effect on the king's great administrative efficiency, then the only place to put "all day long" is within the clause relating to the king's efficiency. This meaning, however, would be much more clearly expressed by the clause "that, all day long, he was a quite efficient administrator."

If, on the other hand, you mean that the courtiers were frequently complimenting or flattering the king, then "all day long" should be placed in the clause relating to the courtiers' behavior. To avoid interrupting the main thought, phrases used adverbially are normally placed before the verb's subject or after the verb's object. Here, however, placing the phrase anywhere except before the subject of the independent clause either interrupts the complete thought or creates a potential ambiguity over which clause is being modified. Thus, the best placement is at the very beginning of the sentence:

All day long, the courtiers told the king how efficient ...

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