Adverbs to start a sentence

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Kwiziq community member

19 September 2018

1 reply

Adverbs to start a sentence

Can you start à sentence in French with an adverb?

Anxieusement, j'ai demandé: “Je ne comprends pas, qu'est-ce que vous avez fait? Est-ce légal ?

Sérieusement, il y a dix-huit temps de verbe différents en français !

This question relates to:
French lesson "Position of most adverbs"


Kwiziq language super star

21 September 2018


Hi William,

Normally adverbs which modify verbs (and adjectives) will follow (or precede) them in the sentence.

In the case of adverbs which end in 'ment' , they will almost always follow the verb they refer to, with the exceptions of 'heureusement' or 'malheureusement' which can be used at the beginning of a sentence or on their own as an exclamation.

Malheureusement, il allait trop vite = Unfortunately, he was driving too fast

There are some link adverbs (ainsi, à peine, aussi, du moins, peut-être, sans doute) which  can head a sentence and sometimes they will be followed by an inversion of subject and verb. e.g. 

Ainsi nous a-t-il surpris! 

Peut-être va-t-il revenir...

Placing the adverb in the wrong place in French will sound like 'yoda speak' of 'Star Wars' fame and it is very instinctive...

Hope this helps!

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