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VP adverbs

VP-adverbs can usually be used in the syntactic frame that is given below, followed by an application in example (2).

Syntactic frame: en and PRONOUN doen doesdit it ADVERB.


Example 1

Mell en Jeff loop haastig by die kroeg in.
Mell and Jeff walk hurriedly at the bar in
Mell and Jeff hurriedly walk into the bar.
Example 2

Mell en Jeff loop by die kroeg in en hulle doen dit haastig.
Mell and Jeff walk at the bar in and they do it hurriedly
Mell and Jeff walk into the bar and they do it in a hurry.

As in various cases discussed elsewhere, this is also an example of an adjective used adverbially.

Six subclasses of VP-adverbs can be distinguished. VP adverbs normally follow clause adverbs:

  1. Manner vinnig quickly
  2. Time vroeg early
  3. Frequency dikwels often
  4. Place hier here
  5. Degree geweldig enormously
  6. Preference graag eagerly
  7. Position of VP adverbs with respect to clause adverbs.



Manner adverbs, which constitute a large class of VP adverbs, indicate the way in which the action expressed by the verb is performed. An example is given below, followed by the VP-adverb test:

Example 3

Sy het vinnig opgestaan.
she have.AUX quickly stand.up.PST
She got up quickly.
Example 4

Sy het opgestaan, en sy het dit vinnig gedoen.
she have.AUX stand.up.PST, and she have.AUX it quickly do.PST
She got up, and she did it quickly.


Time adverbs provide information about the temporal dimension of the verb. An example is given below, in which the clausal time adverb gisteraand last.night is followed by the VP time adverb vroeg early.

Example 5

Ek het gisteraand vroeg gaan slaap.
I have.AUX last.night early go sleep
I went to bed early last night.

VP-adverb test:

Example 6

Ek het gisteraand gaan slaap en ek het dit vroeg gedoen.
I have.AUX last.night go sleep and I have.AUX it early do.PST
I went to bed early last night, and I did it early.

Clausal adverb test:

Example 7

*Dit is vroeg so dat ek gisteraand gaan slaap het.
it is early so that.COMP I last.night go sleep have.AUX
It is early so that I went to bed last night.


Frequency adverbs provide information about the frequency of occurrence of events. It it not always easy to distinguish frequency adverbs from time adverbs, since such adverbs are often ambiguous between a clausal reading and a VP reading. The adverb dikwels often, for example, passes both the clausal test and the VP test:

Example 8

Sy lag nie dikwels oor hom nie.
she laugh not often over him PTCL.NEG
She doesn’t often laugh about him.

VP adverb test:

Example 9

Sy lag oor hom en dit doen sy nie dikwels nie.
she laugh over him and that.COMP do she not often PTCL.NEG
She laughs about him en she doesn't do so often.

Clausal adverb test:

Example 10

Dit is nie dikwels so dat sy oor hom lag nie.
it be.PRS not often so that.COMP she over him laugh PTCL.NEG
It isn’t often the case that she laughs about him.


Adverbs of place provide information about the location of the event described by the VP. These adverbs pass the VP test but not the clausal test:

Example 11

Hy hardloop gereeld daar.
he run regularly there
He regularly runs there.

VP adverb test:

Example 12

Hy hardloop gereeld en dit doen hy daar.
he run regularly and that.COMP do he there
He regularly runs and he does so there.

Clausal adverb test:

Example 13

*Dit is daar so dat hy gereeld hardloop.
it be.PRS there so that.COMP he regurarly run
It is there so that he regularly runs.


Degree adverbs provide information about the degree of the situation or event described by the VP. Degree adverbs must be considered VP adverbs on semantic grounds, seeing that they do modify the VP, although they fail the test for VP-adverbs:

Example 14

Hulle het dit geweldig geniet.
they have.AUX it enormously enjoy.PST
The enjoyed it enormously.

Clausal adverb test:

Example 15

*Dit is geweldig so dat hulle dit geniet het.
it be.PRS enormously so that.COMP they it enjoy.PST have.AUX
It is enormously so that they enjoyed it.


There is only one adverb of preference, with suppletive degrees of comparison:

Example 16

graag / liewer / die graagste
eagerly / preferably / most preferably

Some examples are given below:

Example 17

Ek doen dit graag.
I do it eagerly
I like to to it. / I will gladly do it.
Example 18

Sy skryf liewer as om daaroor te praat.
she write rather PTCL.SIMT for.COMP there.over PTCL.INF talk.INF
She rather writes than talking about it.
Example 19

Watter spesery gebruik jy die graagste in jou kos?
which spice use you the preferable·SUPL in your food
Which spice do you like to use most in your food?

Position of VP adverbs with respect to clause adverbs

VP adverbs normally follow clause adverbs, although there are certain exceptions to this generalisation.

Compare the next two examples:

Example 20

Sy het blykbaar vanoggend vroeg opgestaan.
she have.AUX apparently this.morning early stand.up.PST
She apparently got up early this morning.
Example 21

*Sy het vroeg blykbaar opgestaan.
she have.AUX early apparently stand.up.PST
She early apparently got up.

However, in the case of left movement, for example to emphasise a VP adverb, the clause adverb may follow the relevant VP adverb, as in this example:

Example 22

Sy het vanoggend blykbaar vroeg opgestaan.
she have.AUX this.morning apparently early stand.up.PST
She got up this morning apparently early.
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