English Grammar

Adjunct in English grammar with Classification and illustration


In English grammar, an adjunct (pronounced A-junkt) is a word, phrase, or clause—usually, an adverbial—that is integrated within the structure of a sentence or clause (unlike a disjunct) and yet can be omitted without making the sentence ungrammatical. Adjective: adjunctive or adjectival. Also known as an adjectival, adverbial adjunct, adjunct adverbial, and optional adverbial. In The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics (2007), Peter Matthews defines adjunct as “[a]ny element in the structure of a clause which is not part of its nucleus or core. E.g., in I will bring it on my bike tomorrow, the nucleus of the clause is I will bring it; the adjuncts are on my bike and tomorrow.” Adjunct in English grammar with Classification

An adjunct is a word or group of words that gives extra information to a sentence; but, when removed makes no harm to its grammar.


I will call you at least by tomorrow.
I have almost completely forgotten to take my passport.
We played soccer in our school garden on Wednesday.

“in our school garden” is the first adjunct. Adjunct in English grammar with Classification
“on Wednesday” is the second adjunct.

Classification of Adjuncts

1-As a Single Word

I saw Ted yesterday.

We will have to use the stairs as the lift will be out of order tomorrow.

2-As a Phrase

I usually review vocabulary in the evenings.

In the afternoons, we have a tea break.

I brush my teeth every morning.

3-As a Clause

We finished our assignments before we went out.

When the president arrived, the meeting had already started. Adjunct in English grammar with Classification

Characteristics of Adjuncts (Optional Adverbials)

  • “[A]dverbials occur widely in clauses as optional elements.
    Optional adverbials add additional information to the clause, covering a wide variety of meanings, such as place, time, manner, extent, and attitude.”
    (D. Biber, et al., Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Longman, 2002)

    • Optional adverbials can be added to clauses with any type of verb.
    • They are usually adverb phrases, prepositional phrases, or noun phrases.
    • They can be placed in different positions within the clause—in final, initial, or medial positions.
    • More than one of them can occur in a single clause.
    • They are rather loosely attached to the rest of the clause. Whereas the verb phrase is central, the adverbial is relatively peripheral (except in those clause patterns that require adverbials).

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