Adjuncts

An adjunct is a word, phrase or clause that can be removed from a sentence without making it grammatically incorrect. An adjunct is used to add extra information to a sentence, which creates an extra meaning and makes the sentence more specific.

Adjuncts Adjuncts

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Table of contents

    Here are some examples of adjuncts:

    Word :

    • In the example: 'We went shopping yesterday, the word' yesterday 'is the adjunct'.

    Phrase:

    • In the example: 'We went shopping last night, the phrase' last night 'is an adjunct'.

    Clause:

    • In the example: 'We went shopping after we ate dinner, the clause 'after we ate dinner' is an adjunct'.

    In each case, the phrase 'We went shopping' remains grammatically correct. The removal of the word, phrase, or clause does not create any grammatical errors. Thus, they are adjuncts.

    Adjuncts have many functional purposes, but the primary attribute of an adjunct is it is used to modify another form, word, phrase or clause. Its purpose as a modifier is to add specificity or meaning to a sentence. Although it may not be necessary to include in a sentence, the descriptive functions of adjuncts can add heightened understanding or context to a sentence.

    Adjuncts Extra information tag StudySmarterFig. 1 - Think of adjuncts as extra information.

    Types of adjuncts

    There are three main types of adjuncts. These are as follows:

    Adverbial adjuncts

    Noun adjuncts

    Adjectival adjuncts

    Let's look at these in more detail!

    Adverbial adjuncts

    Typically, an adjunct is an adverb or adverbial phrase that modifies a verb/action. An adverbial adjunct is not always an adverb, but it is a modifying phrase that establishes the context in which the action described by the verb takes place.

    Adverbial adjuncts can have different functional meanings that they contribute to a phrase or sentence. When used for this purpose, an adjunct can indicate place, time, manner, degree, frequency, or reason. We will go through each of these and provide examples to explain why they are used to modify the verb in a sentence:

    Place

    Place adjuncts can provide context as to where something being described in a sentence is occurring.

    Examples of adjuncts of place:

    • Could you charge my phone over there?

    • They were sightseeing around the city.

    • Wherever it is, I plan to visit.

    Time

    Time adjuncts can provide context about when something being described in a sentence is occurring.

    Examples of adjuncts of time:

    • Yesterday we flew to France.

    • I walk to the bus stop at 8 am.

    • I got up to leave when the bell rang.

    Manner

    Manner adjuncts can provide context about how something being described in a sentence is occurring.

    Examples of adjuncts of manner:

    • He slowly placed the book on the counter.

    • John's arms were strong like a wrestler's.

    • Angrily, I threw my bag at him.

    Degree

    Degree adjuncts can provide context about the extent of an action or event.

    Examples of adjuncts of degree:

    • The professor is as strong as she is brave.

    • She was not as lonely as she could have been.

    • As smart as she was, she was not prepared for the exam.

    Frequency

    Frequency adjuncts can provide context as to how frequently something being described in a sentence is occurring. It differs from a Time adjunct, which measures when something being described in a sentence is occurring!

    Examples of adjuncts of frequency:

    • We go swimming every weekend.

    • I went to France seven times last year. *

    • Last night I dreamed you came back.

    * There are two frequency adjuncts here - 'seven times' and 'last year.'

    Reason

    Reason adjuncts can provide context as to why something being described in a sentence is occurring.

    Examples of adjuncts of reason:

    • You can leave early because the teacher is off sick.

    • As it is my birthday, I will be buying myself a watch.

    • Sam will be punished because of what he did.

    Adverbial adjuncts examples

    Adverbial adjuncts can come in different forms. Below are different forms of adverbial adjuncts and examples of their application within a sentence:

    Single-word adverb:

    • She clapped excitedly.

    As a singular adverb, 'excitedly' is the single adverb.

    Adverbial phrases:

    • She clapped very excitedly.

    As a phrase built around a noun, 'during the wedding' is the noun phrase.

    Adverbial clauses:

    • She clapped, even though she was unhappy.

    The independent clause acting as an adverb here is 'even though she was unhappy.'

    Noun phrases:

    • She clapped during the wedding.

    As a phrase built around a noun, 'during the wedding' is the noun phrase.

    Prepositional phrases:

    • She clapped at the end.

    The phrase 'at the end' is prepositional as it has a preposition 'at' and the subject it governs 'the end.'

    Noun adjuncts

    A noun adjunct is an optional noun that modifies another noun. This is called a compound noun. Again, in order for a word, phrase or clause to be a noun adjunct, the sentence must still be grammatically correct when the noun adjunct is removed.

    Noun adjuncts examples

    Some examples of noun adjuncts are as follows:

    • In the word 'farmhouse', the noun 'farm' is an adjunct, as it modifies 'house' - farmhouse is a single-word compound noun.

    • In the phrase 'chicken soup', the noun 'chicken' is the adjunct, as it modifies 'soup'.

    • In the phrase 'toy soldier', the noun 'toy' is the adjunct, as it modifies 'soldier'. The only reason toy is included is to add context to the noun 'soldier', it is thus not necessary to the phrase.

    In the sentence 'He was chased by the policeman', the word 'policeman' is a single-word compound noun. Removing the noun adjunct 'police' does change the meaning of the sentence, but does not make it grammatically incorrect.

    Adjectival adjuncts

    An adjectival adjunct is simply an adjective that comes immediately before the noun it describes in a sentence. They can also be referred to as attributive adjectives. Its removal from the sentence will not compromise the grammatical correctness of the sentence.

    Adjectival adjuncts examples

    Take the following sentence: The red door would not close.

    The adjectival adjunct here is 'red'.

    However, if the sentence was 'The door that is red would close', red is no longer an adjectival adjunct as its removal from the sentence would make the sentence grammatically incorrect.

    A few more examples of adjectival adjuncts are:

    • The fluffy white rabbit hid under the bed.

    • Her dark eyes connected with mine.

    • He threw his sharpened spear.

    Important things to note about adjuncts

    There are a couple of important things to take into account when looking at adjuncts. These are:

    1. Adjunct positions
    2. Misplaced modifiers

    Let's explore these in more detail:

    Adjunct positions

    The position of the adjunct within a phrase, clause, or sentence depends upon what is best for the sentence structure. It may be best to place the adjunct at the initial, middle, or final position of the sentence. Take these examples:

    Initial position:

    • Quickly, the fox scampered up the tree.

    Middle position:

    • The fox quickly scampered up the tree.

    Final position:

    • The fox scampered up the tree quickly.

    It is also important to note that there can be two or more adjuncts at different positions within a sentence. There are two adjuncts in this example:

    • Quickly, the fox scampered up the large oak tree.

    There is a single-word adverb in the initial position and an adjectival adjunct in the middle position.

    Additionally, when moving an adjunct to the front of a sentence, it must be followed by a comma to prevent grammatical errors. Consider how 'quickly' is only followed by a comma when the adjunct is at the initial position of the clause or sentence. Here is another example:

    • We went to eat while you were getting ready.

    The adverbial adjunct is 'while you were getting ready'. To move it to the initial position, the sentence should now read:

    • While you were getting ready, we went to eat.

    Misplaced modifiers

    It is important to remember that not placing your adjunct next to whatever it is modifying can cause ambiguity and confusion regarding your intention.

    • Listening to audiobooks quickly improves attentiveness.

    Here, it is unclear whether the adverb 'quickly' is modifying 'audiobooks' or 'improves attentiveness' - thus, it is unclear whether it is listening to audiobooks quickly that improves attentiveness, or if it is listening to audiobooks which quickly improves attentiveness.

    To prevent ambiguity, the sentence should read like so:

    • Quickly listening to audiobooks improves attentiveness

    or

    • Listening to audiobooks improves attentiveness quickly

    Adjuncts - Key takeaways

    • An adjunct is a word, phrase or clause that can be removed from a sentence without making it grammatically incorrect.

    • Adverbial adjuncts modify a verb and can have the functional purpose of providing the context of time, place, degree, frequency, manner and reason.

    • A noun adjunct modifies another noun and an adjectival adjunct modifies a noun.

    • An adjunct can function in the initial, middle and/or final position of a sentence or clause.

    • If an adjunct is moved to the initial position of a sentence, it must be followed by a comma.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Adjuncts

    What is the definition of an adjunct?

    An adjunct is a word, phrase or clause that can be removed from a sentence without making it grammatically incorrect.

    What are the types of adjuncts?


    The types of adjuncts are adverbial adjuncts, adjectival adjuncts and noun adjuncts.

    What is an example of an adjunct?

    In the sentence 'We went shopping yesterday', the word ‘yesterday’ is the adjunct. 

    Why are adjuncts used in English?

    Adjuncts are used to provide extra information in a sentence, which adds extra meaning. 

    How many types of adjuncts are there?

    There are three main types of adjucts; adverbial, noun, and adjectival.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Which of the following is the adverbial adjunct in the sentence: ‘The dog barked excitedly’?

    Where do noun and adjectival adjuncts appear in a sentence?

    Adjuncts add extra meaning to a sentence.True or false?

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