An adjunct is an adverbial, that is, a unit of language that performs the function of an adverb. What is unique or special about an adjunct is that it is part of the clause structure; that is, the adjunct is an element of the clause.
i. Teachers work hard.
ii. The students are playing in the field.
iii. My aunt arrived yesterday.
iv. Sometimes we watch television.
In sentence (i) above, ‘hard’ is part of the sentence structure without which the complete meaning of the sentence will be lost. In sentence (ii) ‘in the field’ completes the meaning of the verb ‘are playing’. Similarly, in sentence (iii) ‘yesterday’ completes the meaning of the verb ‘arrived’. In sentence (iv) ‘Sometimes’ adds to the meaning of the whole sentence.
The point being made is that the adjunct contributes significantly to the total meaning of the sentence.
UNITS THAT CAN BE ADJUNCTS
The following units can function as adjuncts:
1. Adverb phrases.
- Obi plays very well.
- Ada arrived yesterday.
2. Noun phrases.
- We shall play the match next week.
- She has travelled home.
3. Prepositional phrases.
- The farmers are working in the garden.
- He climbed the tree with great care.
FUNCTIONS OF ADJUNCTS
Adjuncts perform the same functions as adverbs. They normally tell us ‘where’ ‘when’, ‘how’, to what extent?’ etc. the action of the verb is performed. They also modify adjectives as well as prepositional phrases.
It is necessary to illustrate these functions.
1. Modifier of Verbs.
- My brother has returned home. ( ‘home’ modifies ‘has returned’).
- He returned with joy. (‘with joy’ modifies ‘returned’)
2. Modifier of Adjective.
- The man is quite honest. (‘quite’ modifies ‘honest’)
- Mr. Ibe is a very competent teacher. (‘very’ modifies ‘competent’)
3. Modifier of adverb.
- She laughs too loudly. (‘too’ modifies ‘loudly’)
- He spoke rather insolently. (‘rather’ modifies ‘ insolently’)
4. Modifier of Prepositional phrases.
- The boy is right in the room. (‘right’ modifies ‘in the room’)
- The punch landed directly on his forehead. (‘directly’ modifies ‘on his forehead’)
TYPES OF ADJUNCTS
There are several types of adjuncts but some of the major ones are discussed below:
1. Place Adjuncts
Among other things, place adjuncts indicate place, position and direction.
Examples of place adjuncts
Above, anywhere, everywhere, far, here, there, home, near, under, etc.
The following sentences contain place adjuncts.
- The man lives in the city.
- When i came, she was not there.
- He goes anywhere he likes.
2. Time Adjuncts
Time adjuncts normally answer the question ‘when?’
The following are some time adjuncts: yesterday, tomorrow, now, nowadays, just, presently, afterwards, before, lately, soon, then, etc.
- The man has just arrived.
- Our party will take place tomorrow.
- The rain is falling now.
3. Manner Adjuncts
Manner adjuncts normally answer the question ‘how’. Below are examples of manner adjuncts:
quickly, slowly, insolently, with ease, badly, well, in a careless manner, in the style of touts, stylishly, etc.
- The man talked to me carelessly.
- The athlete runs very fast.
- People urinate indiscriminately in our towns.
4. Intensifying Adjuncts
Intensifying adjuncts normally indicate an increase in intensity.
Below are some examples: definitely, completely, very much, certainly, frankly, honestly, obviously.
- The army completely overan the enemy.
- We very much need your services.
- I just can’t understand it.