Adjuncts for intermediate learners

'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!

Adjuncts in the English Grammar

What Are Adjuncts?

Adjuncts, also known as adverbials, are used to add extra information to a sentence. They are not essential, and the clause would still be meaningful and complete if they were removed.

Adjuncts: Uses

Adjuncts add extra information to the clause, indicating when. where, why, and how an action happened or was done. Study the following examples carefully:

Yesterday, I saw John on Maxwell Avenue.

As you can see, the highlighted words are extra and if we remove them, the sentence is still complete.

Ariana refused the proposal because she thought it unnecessary to accept such vague ideas.

My sister suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, screaming her lungs out.

Adjuncts: Structure

Adjuncts are not limited to a specific structure. They can be adverbial phrases, prepositional phrases, noun phrases, or adverbial clauses. Below you can find an example for each group:

She writes fast. (a single word)

Can you send it to me the day after tomorrow? (a noun phrase)

She paints quite beautifully. (an adverbial phrase)

I'm waiting for you at the drug store. (a prepositional phrase)

Adjuncts: Types

There are many different types of adjuncts in English. Below is a list of some of the most common ones along with examples. Take a look:

Marty sang a song for me the other day.

She's still crying in the middle of the night.

I saw her coming out of the room ferociously.

Miley published her novel happily.

I was looking for you in the basement.

He is usually alone in his mansion.

She goes mountain climbing once a month.

We go to the office five days a week.

Some adjectives can also function as adjuncts and give extra information about the noun they are modifying. Take a look at the following examples:

Anna is patting a fluffy dog on the street.

Here, 'fluffy' is an extra information and it is not needed to make the sentence complete. So it is an adjectival adjunct.

The fluffy dog is growling at the brown one.

As you can see, if we remove the adjectives from this sentence, it will no longer make sense.


Nouns can also function as adjuncts. When a noun modifies another noun, it is used as an adjunct. Take a look at the following example:

I want to make some tomato soup for tonight.

As you can see, 'tomato' is modifying 'soup' and if we remove it, the sentence would still be meaningful and complete.

Position in Sentences

Adjuncts can be used in different parts of a sentence based on the structure of the clause. They can be placed at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the clause. Take a look at the following examples:

I saw a black rabbit in the garden. (at the end)

She hurriedly ran to the supermarket. (in the middle)

Yesterday, I went to the pool. (in the beginning)


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