Are these sentences correct:

1) John on Monday talked about Darwin.

2) Tim at midnight called me up to see if I was OK.


Gratefully,
Navi

Original Post

Hi navi,

In English we’d normally place time adverbials at the end position.

1. John talked about Darwin on Monday.
2. Tim called me up at midnight to see if I was OK.

Less frequent but also possible is the front position.

1. On Monday John talked about Darwin.
2. At midnight Tim called me up to see if I was OK.

But mid-position right after the subject, as seen in your example sentences, is incorrect. 

(I’m not a native speaker but would like to share my views as a teacher of English in Hong Kong.)

@navi posted:

1) John on Monday talked about Darwin.
2) Tim at midnight called me up to see if I was OK.

Hello, Navi—At the very least, those sentences need the adverbial prepositional phrase (PP) following their respective subjects to be set off with commas, to render the PPs parenthetical and give them the quality of afterthoughts:

1a) John, on Monday, talked about Darwin.
2a) Tim, at midnight, called me up to see if I was OK.

In (1a) and (2a), the PP set off with commas is not integrated with its clause but stands apart from the sentence as a disjointed appendage clumsily attached. Maybe the speaker adds the PP while stopping to clear his throat.

Kinto is right that end position and front position are better for such adverbials. In Kinto's first variation of (2), interestingly, "at midnight" comes not at the end of the sentence but at the end of the matrix clause. Another possibility for (1):

1d) John talked on Monday about Darwin.

In that variation, "on Monday" receives prominence and would likely be stressed. Sentence (1d) could be compared to the cleft sentence "It was on Monday that John talked about Darwin."

Add Reply

×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×