Adverbials When we speak about adverbials we have to start by saying that the adverbial element has a broader area of functions that the other four elements in a clause, that is to say, subject, verb, object and complement. In English grammar an adverbial is a single word or a group of words that generally modifies the verb and tell us an additional information abut time, place or manner of the action which is described in the rest of the sentence, for example: Dan was successfully finishing his exam essay when time ended up.
There can be more than one adverbial in a clause and they can be moved to different positions. The following examples illustrate how adverbials can be put mainly in three positions: 1 . Soon she wanted to go home. – This is the front-position. 2. I will certainly come to your birthday. – This is the mid-position. 3. Christopher did his driving exam badly. – This is the end-position. According to “A student’s grammar of the English language” by S. Greenberg and R. Quirk, one of syntactic functions of adverbs is the adverbial function.
In particular we an distinguish between four tapes of adverbials: adjuncts, subjects, disjunctions and conjuncts. While adjuncts and subjects are more strictly related to the structure of the sentence (but the removal of one of this elements does still leave a grammatically well-formed clause), for example: Suddenly he returned back to the office. I haven’t yet started my homework. Adjuncts and conjuncts meaning has a minor importance from the grammatical point of view.
In fact, disjunctions usually express an assessment or a disagreement or a comment of the speaker about a specific topic: Jane will probably arrive at 5. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good show. And conjuncts express the speaker’s appraisal or estimate “of the relation between two linguistic units”: She has the sore throat, however, she still wants to take an ice-cream. As we mentioned above adverbials can also be formed by more than one word. In this case, like with adverbs, adverbials are divided in four main categories: adjuncts, subjects, disjunctions and conjuncts.
First of all, it is important to analyses the semantic roles of these categories of adverbials. We can see that adverbials can express efferent types of spaces, like position, direction or distance, for example: student 39053446 A vase full of flowers were on the table. The group was going down the river. Den would be able to go so far from his home. Adverbials can also express time, like position: Clara was born in 1993. Frequency: They went to ski very often. Different type of processes, for example manner: The teacher was speaking very quietly. R instrument and agency: According to rules of etiquette, you have to eat with fork and knife. Edibleness was written by James Joyce. Then we can identify different type of contingency that could express, for example, the cause of an event, the reason, the purpose or the condition and the modality that changes the sentence according to emphasis, approximation or restriction. Now let have a look on the grammatical functions of four types of adverbials. We can divide adjunct in two groups: predication adjuncts and sentence adjuncts.
The first ones are clearly concerning with the post-operator unit and are divided in their turn into obligatory adverbials (the removal of the adverbial makes the clause meaningless) ND optional adverbials (it mean that if the adverbial is removed, the sentence can be still acceptable). Sentence adjuncts are generally characterized by a comma and occupy the front position in a clause. For this reason this type of adverbials might be seen as minor and peripheral elements in a sentence, for example: During the summer time, I went to visit my grandparents. Also subjects have two types of orientation.
There are wide orientation, which includes viewpoint and courtesy subjects, for example: In my opinion, he deserves an Oscar. Gussy kindly put the letter on the table. ND narrow orientation, which includes item subjects (that concern manner semantic area) and emphasizes, for example: She really wanted to know the truth! Intensifiers, like: I completely forgot your Birthday! Or focusing subjects that are used to underline a particular part of a sentence and, therefore, are placed immediately before that part, for example: Only my teacher knows how to involve all the pupils.
As we saw before, adjuncts and subjects add crucial information about a linguistic unit, meanwhile, disjunctions and conjuncts may be omitted, so they have more Raphael function. Regarding disjunctions, there are two subcategories: style disjunctions (related to modality and manner and to respect): I can tell you, honestly, that I expect more attention from you. To be frank, I idiot appreciate the film at all. I could not, personally, make it on my own. And content disjunctions (related to certainty and to evaluation): Shakespeare is undoubtedly one of the most talented writers of all times. Ken stupidly left his keys inside the car.