Adjuncts

'Adjunct' is a word from the Latin that means 'join'. They are any elements in the structure of a clause that is not part of its core. Let's learn about them!

intermediate
Adjuncts in the English Grammar

What Are Adjuncts?

Adjuncts (also called adverbials) are optional elements in a sentence that provide extra details. Their removal typically does not disrupt the basic grammatical structure of a sentence. The sentence remains grammatically correct, and its core meaning may still be understood.

Elements of a Clause

We have five main elements in the structure of a clause:

  1. Subject (S)
  2. Verb (V)
  3. Object (O)
  4. Complement (C)
  5. Adjunct

Adjuncts tell us where, when, why, how, or for how long an action happened.

Marcus helped Bill in the restaurant on Tuesday.

Where and when

Yesterday, Clara saw a ferret in the garden.

Every morning, the supermarket opens at seven o'clock.

I was late because the traffic was heavy.

Why

Adjuncts: Forms

An adjunct can be:

He drove away quickly. (a single word)

The river was flowing quite quickly. (an adverbial phrase)

I always buy my groceries from the market on Main Street. (a prepositional phrase)

I'm going skiing next week. (a noun phrase)

I can still recall that day, even though it was so long ago.

Adjuncts: Types

Here are the main types of adjuncts:

At 9:00 AM, I watch the morning news.

The concert started just after midnight.

They sat around the bonfire.

The poverty is a major issue in California.

Collin visits her grandparents every week.

We have English lessons twice a week.

Camilla smiled happily.

The painting was drawn masterfully.

She is very talented.

The movie was fairly good.

  • Reason Adjuncts (also called adverbs of reason)

She left the party because she was late.

Since it is raining, we cannot play outside.

Warning

While adjuncts can be removed without affecting the sentence's grammaticality, some adjuncts significantly may affect the sentence's meaning. Frequency Adjuncts (e.g., "never," "always", ''rarely") and degree adjuncts (e.g., "enough," "too") can alter a sentence's meaning when added or removed. Here are some examples:

She didn't try hard enough. vs. She didn't try hard.

He rarely exercises. vs. He exercises.

Adjuncts: Positions

using adjuncts in a sentence

Adjuncts can appear in different positions within a clause, depending on the sentence structure. They can come at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a sentence. For example:

In my dreams, I saw a monster trying to kill me. (adjunct in the initial position)

The fox quickly ran away. (adjunct in the middle position)

I went to sleep at midnight. (adjunct in the final position)

Adjuncts Vs. Complements

Adjuncts and complements are not the same things:

  • Adjuncts are not necessary, and add extra information to the sentence.
  • Complements are necessary in order to complete the meaning of the sentence.

Take a look at the examples:

He put the toys in the box. (complement)

The verb 'put' must have a complement indicating a place. Without the complement (in the box), the clause would not be complete. We cannot just say 'He put the toys.'

I sat in a chair and started reading a book.

The verb 'sit' does not need a complement to complete its meaning. Therefore, 'in a chair' is an adjunct and can be omitted.

Adjuncts vs. Post-modifiers

The differences between an adjunct and a post-modifier are that:

  • An adjunct adds extra information to a clause.
  • A post-modifier gives information about the noun.

I went to the café on 5th Street and ate a sandwich.

'On 5th Street' is a post-modifier and it is a part of the object noun phrase. It tells us which café we are talking about.

I went to the café at noon to have lunch.

'At noon' is an adjunct and it can be omitted from the clause without harming the overall meaning of the sentence.

Dangling Modifiers

Dangling (also called misplaced) modifiers are the adjuncts that are either placed too far away from the word or phrase they are modifying or too close to another word or phrase. In such cases, it can be unclear what the adjunct is modifying. Look at these examples:

Taking long walks frequently improves health.

In this sentence, it is difficult to tell if 'frequently' is modifying 'taking long walks' or 'improving health.'

Frequently taking long walks improves health.

If we place the adjunct in a better position, we can clarify the meaning of the sentence.

We drank the beers that we had brought slowly.

This sentence suggests that we brought the beers slowly.

We slowly drank the beers that we had brought.

Noun Adjuncts

A single noun can be an adjunct. Noun adjuncts (also called noun modifiers) are nouns that modify other nouns. It is sometimes used as a way of creating a compound noun. For example:

Melissa made some chicken soup for dinner.

In this sentence, 'chicken' is the noun adjunct, and it modifies the word 'soup', creating the compound noun 'chicken soup'. If we left out 'chicken', only the meaning of the sentence would change, but the sentence would still be grammatically correct.

Tip!

Noun adjuncts can also create single-word compound nouns, as in businessman, where the word 'business' modifies the word man.

Adjectival Adjuncts

Adjectival (also called attributive) adjuncts are adjectives that come immediately before the noun they describe. We can remove them without compromising grammatical correctness. For example:

Melissa played with her black kitten.

In this sentence, 'black' is the adjectival adjunct, and it modifies the word 'kitten'. If we omit 'black', it does not affect the grammar of the sentence.

The kitten that was black was playing.

However, in this sentence, 'black' is not an adjunct, it is integral to the meaning of the sentence.

Review

Adjuncts are words, phrases, or clauses that are added to sentences to give more information. They can often be removed from the sentence with no change in the structure or meaning.

Comments

Loading recaptcha

You might also like

Direct Objects

Generally, an object is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that usually comes after the verb. In this article we will talk about the direct objects.

Indirect Objects

As you know, there are three different groups of objects in English. This article is about indirect objects and their functions.

Objects of Prepositions

Objects of prepositions are used when we know there must be an object after the prepositions.

Complements

In grammar, complements are words, phrases, or clauses that are essential to complete the meaning of a given expression. Here, we will study them thoroughly!

Subject Complements

Subject complements are placed after linking verbs. Follow the article to learn more about them.

Object Complements

Some verbs can take a nominal structure or an adjectival structure as an object complement for the direct object of the transitive verb.
LanGeek
Download LanGeek app