He did not personally offend anyone.

He did not offend personally anyone.

I want to say that he did not give a personal offense to anyone.

So which one is right here and what is the difference ? I have no clue but I just feel the first sentence is correct.

Thank you in advance



This is a Standard sentence Structure:

S + V(t) + DO + (ADV)

In your sentence, the personally qualifies the offence. i.e.

"He did not offend anyone on a personal level." This is not the same as "he did not offend anyone." They might have been offended professionally or on principle. (although those things are not necessarily implied)

By changing the position of the adverb, you are changing what is being modified by it, and thus the meaning. "He personally did not offend" implies that he offended over the phone, perhaps. That is "not in person."

He did not offend personally anyone is incorrect, as it rudely splits the Verb and the DO. "I like thankfully rainy days." It feels to me the same way a split infinitive feels. you might be able to set it apart with commas He did not offend, personally, anyone. But that leaves the meaning ambiguous (which might be good for humor)

  • Your first sentence "He did not personally offend anyone" feels more right because Adverbs of Manner (how something was done, and which "personally" in this context would fit) would either go after the BE verb and before the other verb OR at the end of the sentence. staff.washington.edu/marynell/grammar/AdverbPl.html Also, it captures "personal offense". Offense is modified by personal to explain what kind it is. – Ivan Wohner Dec 30 '15 at 22:35
  • @ Ivan Wohner.. Thank you for explanation. It is helpful. – Gamal Thomas Jan 1 '16 at 5:16

Short answer, Both are correct.

Actually there are lots of discussions on where to place an adverb in a sentence depending on the meaning and the usage. In your case I personally prefer placing it at the end of the sentence to indicate that you are by personally referring to "anyone":

He did not offend anyone personally.

For more: Where Do Adverbs Go?

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