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“Probably” is a mid-position adverb. It should come after auxiliary verbs. Why do you violate this rule in Prep 3, Unit 6, lesson 4, when you say “He probably isn’t the thief because he is a good man”?
Sender Mr Ahmed
Position Teacher

Yes, probably (and other adverbs of certainty) usually appear in mid-position. They usually go before one-part verbs, after auxiliary verbs, and after forms of be

The sentence you ask about does not violate the rule because it does not have an auxiliary verb. It has a linking verb (be).
He probably saw the thief. (one-part verb)
He has probably caught the thief. (auxiliary and main verbs)
He is probably a thief. (be)
However, in negative sentences these adverbs generally come before not if they emphasize the negative. They may also come before the first auxiliary verb, but they always come before do. With a contracted negative (as in the example sentence), the adverb can only go before the contracted verb.
He probably didn’t see the thief. (negative with do)
He probably will not catch the thief. OR He will probably not catch the thief.
He probably won’t catch the thief. (contracted verb)
See here for more. Also see Adverbs in the Archives for related questions.
ed. 19/11/11


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Sender  Maged Samir

What is the answer to this question? “It’s possible that he was a thief.” Rewrite using “possibly”.

Editor’s reply:
Possibly is an adverb of certainty. Like other adverbs of certainty, it usually takes a mid position as described above. See possibly in LDOCE.

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