In interrogative sentences, the adverb should come before the auxiliary verb or after it?

For example, my friend told me "I am confused with this issue". and I pondered whether I have to say:

What exactly does confuse you?


What does exactly confuse you?

1 Answer 1


Exactly modifies what (you want to know just what it is that confuses your friend), so you can say

What exactly does confuse/confuses you? or

Exactly what confuses you?

  • +1 Kate's answer is correct for this particular example, but the question is about adverbs in interrogatives in general, and as with just about all rules about adverbs, they don't generalize for all adverbs in that context. This particular rule probably applies to all adverbs used to describe the level of precision, like "exactly, precisely, roughly, generally, etc.", but even that's not sure.
    – gotube
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 22:42

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