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I was doing a Duolingo lesson and this was the question: We'll have to study a lot before taking the baccalaureate exam.

I assumed the answer is Nous devrons beaucoup étudier avant de passer le bac. But was marked wrong. The answer was: Nous devrons étudier beaucoup avant de passer le bac.

I don't know why. There have been other cases too, where the adverb was not placed as I expected it, especially when there are two adverbs, like:

Il est souvent en retard au travail vs Il est en retard souvent au travail.

Perhaps these are unrelated to the first case but just wanted to give more examples. Appreciate your guidance.

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  • It comes up often on this site: Duolingo insists on one specific phrasing even when there are multiple correct answers. It's a common defect of Duolingo. Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 22:36

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Both sentences are correct, the first one sounds slightly better.

  1. Nous devrons beaucoup étudier avant de passer le bac.
  2. Nous devrons étudier beaucoup avant de passer le bac.

In real conversation, people actually say:

  1. On devra beaucoup étudier avant de passer le bac.

Regarding the "late at work" example, souvent en retard is by far more idiomatic but the second form might be heard too.

  1. Il est souvent en retard au travail.
  2. Il est en retard souvent au travail.

Also:

  1. Souvent, il est en retard au travail.
  2. Au travail, il est souvent en retard.
  3. En retard au travail, il l'est souvent.
  4. Souvent, au travail, il est en retard.
    ...

French allows some flexibility in such sentences.

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