Lots of interesting language questions came up in the Writing Groups this week. Here’s a selection in the next few posts.
(1) What is the best position for also in a sentence?
Also is very common in academic writing. It means that you are adding information to previous information. Also is an adverb, and it prefers to be in the middle of the sentence, not at the beginning, perhaps because it usually only refers to part of the sentence, not the whole thing. Compare:
1. We also discovered a new method that … (also tells us about a second discovery)
2. However, further research is needed to … (however introduces the entire sentence)
It seems unusual to start a sentence in writing with also because it does not show a clear logical connection to the previous sentence (it’s like saying “oh, and another thing …”). However, the “mid” position is normal, as it is for most adverbs. The guidelines for finding the correct mid position are:
1. subject / ADVERB / main verb (We also found that …)
2. subject / modal/auxiliary / ADVERB / main verb (We have also found that … )
3. subject / auxiliary 1 / ADVERB / aux 2 / main verb (There has also been .. / It can also be seen that …)
4. subject / BE as a main verb / ADVERB (It is also true that …)
(An auxiliary verb is a helping verb like be, have, do or a modal verb like can, could, may, might; auxiliaries are always followed by a main verb.)
So, this helps answer the question I was asked: which is better?
1. There also has been (NO)
2. There has also been (YES!)
Source: Thanks to the Cambridge Grammar of English for sorting this one out!