Learn English – Auxiliary verb and adverb ordering


(I'm not really sure if the title is a correct definition of my problem at all)

I'm not a native English speaker, and I'm used to say:

Spaghetti suddenly can talk

But I've seen a phrase from a native speaker

Spaghetti can suddenly talk

I don't want to rush to conclusions based on one example, so please tell me what's the correct way to say such sentences and how incorrect is the other way (informal or maybe rough error)?

Best Answer

Ignoring the fact that nobody would suggest that spaghetti can talk, suddenly or not, the phrases

Suddenly spaghetti can talk.


Spaghetti suddenly can talk.

mean that there is a sudden change after which spaghetti are able to talk. By contrast the natural meaning of

Spaghetti can talk suddenly.

should mean that spaghetti are able to talk in a sudden manner.

The most common form

Spaghetti can suddenly talk.

is slightly ambiguous between the two, but probably is usually intended to take the former meaning.

The four phrases are correct, though the most common is also most ambiguous.

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