Adjunct: Definition, Purpose, Usage and Examples

What does the adjunct do to a sentence? Is an adjunct necessary to complete a sentence? Find out the answers to these questions and all about adjuncts, their meaning, definition, purpose and usage in this article. Furthermore, go through the number of examples given, and try to analyse the different ways in which an adjunct can be used.

Table of Contents

What Is an Adjunct? – Meaning and Definition

An adjunct is any adverb, adverbial clause, adverbial phrase or prepositional phrase that gives more information primarily about the action in the sentence. However, it can also qualify another adjective, an adverb or even a complement.

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines an adjunct as “an adverb or a phrase that adds meaning to the verb in a sentence or part of a sentence”, and according to the Cambridge Dictionary, an adjunct is “an adverb or phrase that gives extra information in a sentence”. The Collins Dictionary defines an adjunct as “a word or group of words which indicates the circumstances of an action, event, or situation. An adjunct is usually a prepositional phrase or an adverb group.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides us with two definitions of an adjunct, also giving us a hint of its functions as well. According to them, an adjunct is “a word or word group that qualifies or completes the meaning of another word or other words and is not itself a main structural element in its sentence”, and “an adverb or adverbial phrase (such as heartily in “They ate heartily” or at noon in “We left at noon”) attached to the verb of a clause especially to express a relation of time, place, frequency, degree, or manner”.

When, Where and Why Use Adjuncts in a Sentence?

An adjunct is used in a sentence when you want to convey some extra information about the action taking place in the sentence. Furthermore, it can be used to provide information about when, where, why, how and how often an action is happening. It can also let the reader/listener know extra information about a quality by answering the question – to what extent.

Unlike the subject, verb and object, adjuncts do not have to stick to a particular position in a sentence. It can be placed anywhere in the sentence – the beginning, middle or end according to the kind of information it provides.

Another fact that you should know about adjuncts is that there can be any number of adjuncts in a sentence. This is why there can be sentence structures like ASVA, SVOAA, ASVOA, SVAA and so on. Take a look at the following sentence examples to understand how adjuncts are used to form the different sentence structures.

Examples of Adjuncts

Here are a few examples of sentence structures with adjuncts for your reference.

Examples of Adjuncts Answering the Question ‘Why’

  • They were not able to make it in time due to the heavy rains.
  • Ritu could not complete her science project as she was sick.
  • We decided to take a cab to the railway station since we had some extra luggage.
  • He said he wanted to take a rest because he was exhausted.
  • Due to the sudden rise in COVID cases, all schools and colleges were asked to conduct online classes.

Examples of Adjuncts Answering the Question ‘Where’

  • There was an unknown vehicle parked in front of our house.
  • We will be meeting our school friends at the new Chinese restaurant.
  • The environment club will be performing a street play near the food court.
  • You will be able to find a stationery store opposite the bus stand.
  • Deborah found her daughter hiding under the dining table.

Examples of Adjuncts Answering the Question ‘When’

  • Last year, I was the Vice President of the Youth Association.
  • We have planned to visit our grandparents next month.
  • Yesterday, we had pasta for dinner.
  • We will be reaching the airport in half an hour.
  • When the clock strikes twelve, we will shout ‘Happy birthday’.

Examples of Adjuncts Answering the Question ‘How’

  • The little boy ran quickly on seeing the dog.
  • Seena lazily picked up one paper at a time.
  • It is too cold here.
  • Brittany danced gracefully at the show today.
  • Naveen spoke so emotionally that everyone in the audience had tears rolling down their cheeks.

Examples of Adjuncts Answering the Question ‘How Often’

  • Every once in a while, we make it a point to take a trip.
  • The school releases a newsletter every two months.
  • The teachers were asked to wear the uniform saree every Monday.
  • On Wednesdays, there are many offers and pocket-friendly combos at KFC.
  • The review team comes to work only on alternate days.

Examples of Sentences Containing Multiple Adjuncts

  • We get together every month and go on a picnic in order to relieve our stress.

(Every month – adjunct answering the question ‘how often’ and in order to relieve our stress – adjunct answering the question ‘why’)

  • The students were asked to gather in the auditorium around 11 a.m.

(In the auditorium – adjunct answering the question ‘where’ and around 11 a.m.– adjunct answering the question ‘when’)

  • Have you ever been to Paris in the fall?

(To Paris – adjunct answering the question ‘where’ and in the fall – adjunct answering the question ‘when’)

  • As soon as we reach Coimbatore, we will be leaving for Coonnoor together.

(As soon as we reach Coimbatore – adjunct answering the question ‘when’ and for Coonnoor – adjunct answering the question ‘where)

  • On Tuesday, at eight ‘o’ clock, the team has to be ready with their presentations.

(On Tuesday and at eight ‘o’ clock – adjuncts answering the question ‘when’)

Check Your Understanding of Adjuncts

Go through the following sentences and identify the adjuncts.

1. As soon as you come home, make sure you remind me about the things you need.

2. Check out the notice that is put on the board for more information about the audition.

3. Immediately after the event, we will be leaving for Mumbai.

4. She wrote very legibly.

5. Harini is always very focussed on what she wants to do.

6. Nobody knew anything about the boy from India.

7. During the summer vacation, we will be visiting our grandparents’ house.

8. They could not attend the meeting because of the heavy workload.

9. Ann sang beautifully at her brother’s wedding reception.

10. My mother took me to the hospital as I was very sick.

 

Now, check the answers given below to see if you have identified the adjuncts correctly.

1. As soon as you come home, make sure you remind me about the things you need.

2. Check out the notice that is put on the board for more information about the audition.

3. Immediately after the event, we will be leaving for Mumbai.

4. She wrote very legibly.

5. Harini is always very focussed on what she wants to do.

6. Nobody knew anything about the boy who left for India.

7. During the summer vacation, we will be visiting our grandparents’ house.

8. They could not attend the meeting because of the heavy workload.

9. Ann sang beautifully at her brother’s wedding reception.

10. My mother took me to the hospital as I was very sick.

Frequently Asked Questions on Adjuncts

What is an adjunct?

An adjunct is any adverb, adverbial phrase or a prepositional phrase that gives more information primarily about the action in the sentence. However, it can also qualify another adjective, an adverb or even a complement.

What is the definition of an adjunct?

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines an adjunct as “an adverb or a phrase that adds meaning to the verb in a sentence or part of a sentence”, and according to the Cambridge Dictionary, an adjunct is “an adverb or phrase that gives extra information in a sentence”. The Collins Dictionary defines an adjunct as “a word or group of words which indicates the circumstances of an action, event, or situation. An adjunct is usually a prepositional phrase or an adverb group.”

How can adjuncts be used in a sentence?

Adjuncts can be placed anywhere in the sentence – the beginning, middle or end according to the kind of information it provides.

What is the function of an adjunct?

An adjunct can be used to provide information when, where, why, how and how often an action is happening. It can also let the reader/listener know extra information about a quality by answering the question – to what extent.

Give some examples of adjuncts.

Here are a few examples of sentences containing adjuncts for your reference.

  • We get together every month and go on a picnic in order to relieve our stress.
  • The teachers were asked to wear the uniform saree every Monday.
  • Due to the sudden rise in COVID cases, all schools and colleges were asked to conduct online classes.
  • The little boy ran quickly on seeing the dog.
  • We have planned to visit our grandparents next month.
  • The environment club will be performing a street play near the food court.