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I'm looking for information about the position of adverbs of manner in a sentence. I looked up several pages related to adverb placements here, here, here and here.

As I understood, adverbs of manner normally go at the end of a sentence/clause, or they could be placed at mid-position in a sentence. So, if the sentence has an auxiliary verb within then the adverb could be placed:

  • Mid position: The adverb is placed between the auxiliary verb and the main verb.
  • End position: The adverb is placed at the end of the clause/sentence.

Thus, are the following two sentences correct? if the two sentences are correct, then do they both have the same meaning?

  1. Recently, people were withdrawing their money gradually from their bank accounts to transfer it to an external country.

  2. Recently, people were gradually withdrawing their money from their bank accounts to transfer it to an external country.

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  • Hi, welcome to ELL! +1 for the details and cited sources.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 6:48
  • @EddieKal thank you. I hope my question could be answered Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 7:06
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    To me, the first suggests that people were withdrawing money a little at a time, the second that the number of people who did so was gradually increasing. (This is only my interpretation, not any kind of rule.) Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 8:03
  • ...and both versions could be seen as ambiguous. To express my second meaning, you could say "Gradually, more and more people were withdrawing..." Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 8:58
  • @KateBunting Interesting. So, in the way that the two sentences are written, it is not clear what the adverb is modifying, although the position of the adverb could suggest that it is modifying the "withdraw" verb and not the number of people? Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 14:46

1 Answer 1

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They both have the same meaning, although the second sentence sounds more natural.

Based on the position of gradually, you might say that the first sentence emphasizes the withdrawal (gradual withdrawals) and the second sentence emphasizes the people (people gradually withdrawing), but that would be very subtle if it's true.

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