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What Are Adjuncts? (with Examples)

What Are Adjuncts? (with Examples)

An adjunct is a word or words (i.e., a phrase or a clause) which can be removed without making the sentence grammatically wrong.

An adjunct is usually an adverb used to modify a verb. When used as an adverb, an adjunct will usually indicate a time, a manner, a place, a frequency, a reason, or a degree. For example:

Time Adjuncts (Adverbs of Time)

Here are some examples of time adjuncts:
  • The alarm went off again yesterday.
  • In the morning, he will veto the bill.

Manner Adjuncts (Adverbs of Manner)

Here are some examples of manner adjuncts:
  • Present your case carefully.
  • Simon drinks his pints like a demon.

Place Adjuncts (Adverbs of Place)

Here are some examples of place adjuncts:
  • Here the situation is completely different.
  • She buries all her toys wherever Ollie buries his.

Frequency Adjuncts (Adverbs of Frequency)

Here are some examples of frequency adjuncts:
  • She comes here often.
  • Every Tuesday, the shop opens at eight o'clock.

Reason Adjuncts (Adverbs of Reason)

Here are some examples of reason adjuncts:
  • As it's Friday, you can stay up another hour.
  • Expect the tent to leak because it's been in my garage for 30 years.

Degree Adjuncts (Adverbs of Degree)

Here are some examples of degree adjuncts:
  • You're not as poor as you could have been.
  • She is as smart as she is brilliant.
Beware

Placing Your Adjunct

Place your adjunct next to whatever it is modifying to avoid ambiguity. Look at this example:
  • Cycling uphill quickly strengthens your calf muscles.
  • (This is not wrong, but it's ambiguous.)
Does quickly modify Cycling uphill or strengthens?

This is called a squinting modifier. This is a better version:
  • Cycling uphill strengthens your calf muscles quickly.
Top Tip

Use a Comma When It's at the Front

Adjuncts cause few problems for native English speakers. The main grammar point is whether to use a comma.

When an adjunct is at the front of a sentence (especially when it's made up of more than one word), it is usual to use a comma.
  • A mouse ran across the floor while you were on the phone.
  • (no comma required - adjunct at the end of the sentence)
  • While you were on the phone, a mouse ran across the floor.
  • (comma expected - adjunct at the start)
  • It is a better standard of living in the north of Scotland.
  • (no comma required - adjunct at the end of the sentence)
  • In the north of Scotland, it is a better standard of living.
  • (comma expected - adjunct at the start)
Read more about commas and adjucts.