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Definition: Adverbials are elements of a clause or (sometimes a sentence) which can be a single word, a
phrase or a clause telling something about the sentence or the verb of the sentence.
Adverbials operate at sentence level as sentence elements, as in the examples below:

She ate breakfast yesterday morning. (SVOA)

She speaks fluently. (SVA)

Adverbial Types According to Functions:

Adverbials do three main jobs (Functions):
1. Many of them provide additional information, answering questions such as:
 Where?
 When?
 How?
 Why?
These adverbials are referred to as adjuncts.
John helped me with my homework.

2. Some adverbials help to link sentences or ideas in a text.

These adverbials are referred to as conjuncts. (Mostly known as transitions)
John helped so I was, therefore, able to do my homework.

3. Other adverbials enable the writers or speakers to make little comments about what they are
communicating or on part of a text.
These adverbials are known as disjuncts.
Surprisingly, he passed all of his exams.

4. The Adverbials which render the sentence ungrammatical or meaningless if removed. (Thus
known as Obligatory Adverbials too)
These adverbials are referred to as Adverbials Complements.
Ali put the flowers in a vase.

Adverbial Types According to Form:

Adverbials Can Be (Forms):
 a single word, normally an Adverb
She speaks softly. (Adverb)

 a phrase, normally a Noun Phrase or Prepositional Phrase functioning as adverb

Ahmad Shah waked on the road. (Prepositional Phrase)
Ahmad Shah walked last night. (Noun Phrase)

 a clause, normally an Adverbial Clause (expressing Reason and Condition)

Ahmad Shah went to the clinic because he was sick. (Adverbial Clause)

By: Abdullah Farhad

Some more information about Adverbials:
An adverbial is a construction that modifies, or describes, verbs. When an adverbial modifies a verb, it
changes the meaning of that verb. Word groups other than adverbials can also modify verbs: for
example, a prepositional phrase, an infinitive phrase, or a nominal clause.

In every sentence pattern, the adverbial is a clause element that tells where, when, why, or how. There
can be more than one adverbial in a sentence. In addition, the same adverbial can be removed to
different positions in a sentence.

One way to analyze sentence structure is to think in terms of form and function. Form refers to a word
class—such as noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and preposition—as well as types of phrases, such as
prepositional phrase, nominal clause, and adverbial clause. Function refers to the function of the form in
a sentence. For example, the function of a prepositional phrase in a sentence may be adverbial; that is, it
modifies a verb.

Distinguishing an Adverbial from an Adjunct

All adjuncts are adverbials, but some adverbials are not adjuncts.
 If the removal of an adverbial does not leave a well-formed sentence, then it is not an adjunct.
 If the adverbial modifies within a sentence element, and is not a sentence element in its own
right, it is not an adjunct.
 If the adverbial is not grammatically tied to the sentence, it is not an adjunct.

E.g. Mr. Navid, however, voted against the proposal. (Adverbial Conjunct not Adjunct)

Other types of Adverbials:

 Directional and Locative Particles: “In”, “out”, and other prepositions may be used adverbially
to indicate direction or location:

Superman flew in. (directional)

Are you in? (Locative)
The car drove out. (Directional)
The ball is out. (Locative)

 Negators: In some models of grammar, negators such as “not” and “never” are considered
adverbs and their function that of negating adverbial.

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 Expletives: Often ignored, expletives may take up many adverbial syntactic functions.
Pragmatically and semantically, they often serve as intensifiers, boosting the content of the
clause they appear in.

What the hell are you talking about?

I didn’t bloody well do that!
You are freaking lying!
You bloody well know that smoking’s not allowed here.
I don’t know what on earth you say.
He got sodding killed.

Adverbial Forming Adverbials Functioning as
Sentence Elements Sentence Elements

A Single-word An Adverb Adjuncts

A Noun Phrase Conjuncts

A Phrase

A Prepositional Phrase

Adverbial Complements
A Clause An Adverb Clause (Obligatory Adverbials)

Adverb Particles

NOTE: The adverbials are briefly described through the above chart. And the explanations are available
above the chart.

By: Abdullah Farhad

Adverbials and Relevant Topics
Here, you will get to know Adverbials in detail and the relevant grammatical points or topics to

Adverbials Function as:

1. Adjuncts: In linguistics, an Adjunct is any word, phrase, or clause joined to
another word or phrase to qualify or modify it. It could be of two kinds, Adverbial, if it modifies
a verb or verb phrase, or adnominal, if it modifies a noun or noun phrase.

 An Adverbial Adjunct is a sentence element that establishes the circumstances in which

the action or state expressed by the verb takes place.

 The following sentence uses the Adjunct of Time and Place.

Yesterday I met Ahmad Shah in a restaurant.

 This definition can be extended to include Adjuncts that modify Nouns or other Parts of
Speech (See Noun Adjuncts)

The large dog in the garden is very friendly.

 Adjuncts are always extra nuclear; that is, removing an Adjunct leaves a grammatically
well-formed sentence. They can thus be contrasted with complements. All Adjuncts are

Adjunct Forms: An Adjunct can be a single word, phrase or a clause.

 A single word
She will come tomorrow.

 A phrase
She will leave in the morning.

 A clause
She will leave after she has had breakfast.

By: Abdullah Farhad

Semantic Functions of Adverbial Adjuncts: Adverbial Adjuncts establish
circumstances for the nuclear of a sentence, which can be classified as followings:

 Temporal: Temporal Adjuncts establish when, for how long or how often an action
happened or existed.
He arrived yesterday. (Time point)
He stayed for two weeks. (Duration)
He comes here every year. (Frequentive)

 Locative: Locative Adjuncts establish where, to where or from where a state or action
happened or existed.
She sat on the table. (Locative)
She drove to London. (Directional)
She came from Peshawar. (Directional)

 Modicative: Modicative Adjuncts establish how the action happened or the situation
existed, or modifying its scope.
He ran with difficulty. (Manner)
He stood in silence. (State)
He helped me with my homework. (Limited)

 Causal: Casual Adjuncts establish the reason for, or purpose of, an action or state. (Why)
The ladder collapsed because it was old. (Reason)
She went out to buy some bread. (Purpose)

 Instrumental: Instrumental Adjuncts establish the instrument of the action.

Nazar Mohammad wrote the letter with pencil.

 Agentive: Agentive Adjuncts establish the agent of the action.

The letter was written by Nazar Mohammad.

 Conditional: Conditional Adjuncts establish the conditions in which the sentence

becomes true.
I would go to Herat, if I had the money.

 Concessive: Concessive Adjuncts establish the contrary circumstances.

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We went swimming although it was cold.

Adverbial Adjuncts “VS” Adverbial Complements

 An Adjunct must always be a removable i.e. Extra nuclear, element of the sentence. In
the sentence below the phrase “in the park” can be removed and a well-formed sentence

She drank a beer in the park. (Locative Adjunct)

 In the sentence below, however, the phrase “in the park” is part of the nucleus of the
sentence, but can not be removed. If removed, the sentence will remain grammatically
not well-formed.
It is thus not an Adverbial Adjunct, but Adverbial Complement.

She is in the park. (Locative Complement)

Noun Adjunct/ Adnominal:

 In grammar, a Noun Adjunct is or Attributive Noun is a noun that modifies another
noun and is optional---- meaning that it can be removed without changing the grammar of
the sentence. For example, in the phrase “chicken soup” the Noun Adjunct “chicken”
modifies the noun “soup”. It is irrelevant whether the resulting compound noun is spelled
one or two parts. “Field” is a Noun Adjunct in both “field player” and “Fieldhouse”.
 Adjectival Noun is a term that was formerly synonymous with Noun Adjunct, but is now
usually used to mean an adjective used as a noun.
 Noun Adjuncts were traditionally mostly singular (e.g. “trouser press”) except when there
were lexical restrictions (e.g. “arms race”), but there is a recent trend towards more use of
plural ones, especially in UK English. Many of these can also be and/ or were originally
interpreted and spelled as plural possessives (for example “chemicals’ agency”, “writers’
conference”, “Rangers’ hockey game”), but they are now are often written without the
apostrophe although this is criticized by some authorities.
 Expressions with plural possessives are increasingly interpreted as compound nouns with
a plural noun Adjunct even in cases where this is incorrect because the form cannot be
interpreted as not being a possessive, e.g. “mens club” for “men’s club”.
 Sometimes even style guides contradict themselves. The authoritative Chicago Manual of
Style (CMOS) says one may freely decide between "participants manual", "participants'
manual", and "participant's manual", yet also states that only "guys' apartment" is
standard, rejecting "guys apartment" and "guy's apartment".
 Fowler’s Modern English Usage states in the section POSSESSIVE PUZZLES: 6. five
years’ imprisonment, three weeks’ holiday, etc. years and weeks may be treated as
possessives and given an apostrophe or as adjectival nouns without one. The former is

By: Abdullah Farhad

perhaps better, as to conform to what is inevitable in the singular--- a year’s
imprisonment, a fortnight’s holiday.

2. Conjuncts: A Conjunct is an Adverbial Adjunct that adds information to the sentence that is
not considered part of the propositional content (or at least not essential), but which connects
the sentence with the previous parts of the discourse. Rare though it is, conjuncts may also
connect the following parts of the discourse.

 It was raining. Therefore, we stayed home.

 He failed the test. However, he is intelligent.
 You are such a dork. Still, I love you from the bottom of my heart.

A Coordination structure connects two words, two phrase, or two clauses together, usually
with the help of a Coordinating Conjunction.

 Ahmad and his brother bought a motor oil, spark plugs, and dynamite.
 Take two of these and call me in the morning.

Here we discuss the first kind of conjunct:

Conjunct Forms: A Conjunct can be a single word, phrase or a clause.

 A single word (often an adverb)
Consequently, they failed the final test.

 A phrase
As a result, they failed the final test.

 A clause
Taking that reason into account, they failed the final test.

Semantic Functions of Adverbial Conjunct: English Conjuncts often have the

following Functions.

 Listing: Indicating that what follows is a list of propositions.

To begin with, I have to tell you that I am most displeased with your performance in
the show. I also think you did a bad job painting the house. You are a lousy cook. You
smell. Your hat is … etc

 Enumerative: Indicating items on a list of propositions.

By: Abdullah Farhad

First, we have buy bread. Second, we need to take the car to the garage. Third, we
have to call your dentist and make an appointment.

 Additive: Indicating that the content of the sentence is in addition to the preceding one.
He has no money. In addition, he has no means of getting any.

 Summative: Summing up, or concluding, on the preceding sentence/ sentences.

Ahmad is intelligent and hard working. Besides, he does his homework. To sum up, he
he is the best student of this class.

 Appositive: Rephrasing the preceding sentence.

The French love music. In other words, music is appreciated in France.

 Resultative/ inferential: Indicating that the content of the sentence is a result of the
events expressed in the preceding sentence.
Miss Gold lost her job. She, therefore, had no money.

 Antithetic: Indicating that the content of the sentence is in contrast to the content of the
preceding sentence.
It is said that water flows uphill. On the contrary, it flows downhill.

 Concessive: Indicating that the content of the sentence exists despite the content in the
preceding sentence.
It was very cold. I went for my morning walk, however.

 Temporal: Indicating temporal relation between the content of the sentence with the
preceding sentence.
I had lunch. Meanwhile, my friend had his hair cut.

3. Disjuncts: The term Disjuncts refers to:

 Logical Disjunction
 In astrology, the term Disjuncts, or quincunx is an aspect made when two planets are
150 degrees, or five signs apart. Whenever this aspect appears in a horoscope, it requires
adjustments to be made to ensure success in the endeavors referred to by the planet,
house and sign.

 In biology, a Disjuncts Distribution is one in which two closely related taxa are widely
separated geographically.

 In linguistics, a Disjuncts, according to Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics, is an

Adverbial, seen as an element belonging to the periphery of its clause and for example:
qualifying, commenting on, or giving authority for the remainder. (Mathews 1997)

By: Abdullah Farhad

Perhaps he is there.
Honestly, I can’t do it.

 Reference: Matthews, P.H. Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York:

Oxford University Press INc., 1997

 Or in other words, in Linguistics, a Disjunct is a type of Adverbial Adjunct that

expresses information that is not considered essential to the sentence it appears in, but
which is considered to be the speaker’s or writer’s attitude towards, or descriptive
statement of, the propositional content of the sentence. For instance:

Honestly, I didn’t do it.

Fortunately for you, I have it right here.
In my opinion, the green one is better.

 Sometimes, the same word or phrase can be interpreted either as Disjunct

or as a simple Adjunct.
They honestly worked in an underground diamond mine run by expert engineers.

 More generally, the term Disjunct can be used to refer to any sentence element that is
not fully integrated into the clausal structure of the sentence. Such elements usually
appear peripherally (at the beginning or end of the sentence) and are set off from the
rest of the sentence by a comma (in writing) or a pause (in speech).

 A specific type of Disjunct is the sentence adverb (or Sentence Adverbial), which
modifies a sentence, or clause within a sentence, to convey the mood, attitude or
sentiments of the speaker, rather than an adverb modifying a verb, an adjective, or
another adverb.

 Modifying the whole sentence:

Unfortunately, when I got to the super market, it had run out of the
vegetable I like.

 Modifying a clause within a sentence:

I liked the red car in the forecourt, but unfortunately, when I got to the dealer,
it was already sold.

 “Unfortunately,” thus communicates the regret or disappointment the speaker

experiences and so manifests as a sentence adverb the sentiments of the speaker.
 “Unfortunately” is, however, only one of many sentence adverbs that can modify
a speaker’s attitude. Other includes “mercifully,” gratefully,” oddly,” admittedly,” etc.

By: Abdullah Farhad

 Hopefully: In the last forty years or so, a major controversy has arisen over the
proper usage of the adverb hopefully. Some grammarians began to object when they first
encountered constructions like: hopefully, the sun will be shining tomorrow. Their
complaint stems from the fact that the term “Hopefully” dangles, and can be understood
to describe either the speaker’s state of mind, or the manner in which the sun will shine.

 One of the reasons the sentence adverb usage seems more acceptable these days is
that its semantics are reminiscent of the German “hoffentlich” (it is to be hoped that)
which implies (in the context of the first example) that the speaker hopes the sun the sun
will shine. Furthermore, it is the because of their conciseness, avoiding the need to put
into several words what can be said in one, that the use of sentence adverbs is
establishing more and more in colloquial speech.

 Merriam-Webster gives a usage note on its entry for "hopefully", in which the
editors point out that the Disjunct sense of the word dates to the early 18th century and
had been in fairly widespread use since at least the 1930s. Objection to this sense of the
word, they state, only became widespread in the 1960s. The editors maintain that this
usage is "entirely standard.”

4. Adverbial Complements: An Adverbial Complement is an adverbial that is obligatorily

subcategorized for by a verb, such that if removed, it will
yield an ungrammatical sentence.

 She put the cheese back.

 She put the cheese.

Adverbial Complements of Caused Motion Verbs like “put” are adverbial Complements.

Theoretical Approaches:
 Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar describes adverbial Complements as
part of the Verbs’ Sub-categorization Frame, which is why they are obligatory
arguments. In this theory, adverbial complements are stored in the lexicon as part
of the grammatical competence relating to the verb.
 An alternative description, along the lines of the Construction Grammar is that
they are parts of certain Argument Structure Construction- in this case the
caused motion constructions which are specifically compatible with the semantics

By: Abdullah Farhad

of the verb. Here, Adverbial Complements are stored in the grammar as part of
the Caused Motion Construction which is a sign in its own right.
 Another Construction-based theory combines the two arguing that certain senses
of verbs co-occur so frequently with certain argument structure constructions, that
the argument structures are also stored as part of the grammatical competence
relating to the verb. These small argument structure constructions are called mini-
constructions. So, in this case of “put” in accordance with this theory, Adverbial
Complements are both part of the argument structure construction and stored as
information regarding the verb itself.

By: Abdullah Farhad