South African track star Oscar Pistorius has been granted bail over the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The decision was made after a four-day hearing, with the magistrate ruling the prosecution had not made a strong enough case that Pistorius would try to flee the country. He’ll next face court on June the fourth. (ABC News)

Can the adverb ‘next’ be placed before its modified verb, face?

  • 3
    Obviously it can, since ABC News just used it that way. They couldn't have put it directly after face anyway - it has to either go where it is, or after face court. No real difference - just a stylistic choice. Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 0:23
  • Here are lots more examples, too.
    – J.R.
    Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 0:35
  • 2
    Note that it is next which modifies, not the following verb; and the head of the verb phrase is 'll, not face Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 0:44
  • @StoneyB: Good point - so there's a third valid alternative position. "He next will face court on June the fourth." Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 2:51

1 Answer 1


Adjuncts are often placed between an auxiliary and its lexical verb, especially if the adjunct is ‘light’ - consists of only a few words.

  • I have already seen that movie.
  • You should really make an effort to see that movie.
  • He will probably see that movie tomorrow.
  • We have certainly seen movies like this one before.
  • You can most conveniently see that movie at the Roxy.

Adjuncts of place are rarely placed in this position. Heavier adjuncts and even subordinate clauses are permitted there; but these must be used with discretion or readers will lose their way:

  • You may occasionally, from that place, under the right weather conditions, and if you have a sufficiently powerful telescope, see Jersey.

This sort of thing is a common vice in academic writing.


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