Positioning Spanish Adverbs Properly

By Gail Stein

Adding adverbs to your Spanish vocabulary can bring precision to your sentences — but not if you don’t know where to position them. Spanish adverbs should be used only to describe a verb, another adverb, or an adjective so that your audience has a better understanding of how or to what degree or intensity an action is being performed.

You generally place adverbs directly after the verb they modify. So the question Do you speak Spanish eloquently? looks like this when translated into Spanish: ¿Hablas español elocuentemente? Likewise, in a regular declarative sentence, the adverb tends to take the same place. Thus, to express Miguel frequently asks questions in Spanish, you’d say Miguel hace preguntas frecuentemente.

Sometimes, however, the position of the adverb is variable and is placed where you’d logically put an English adverb. For example, the English sentence Fortunately, I received the package looks like this in Spanish: Afortunadamente, yo recibí el paquete.