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Using Postpositional Phrases as Disjunct Adverbials

Traditional grammars notionally define adpositions as words that “link to other words, phrases, and clauses” and that “express spatial or temporal relations.” In addition to prepositions, the second type of adposition in the English language is the postposition. In contrast to prepositions that precede a prepositional complement, postpositions follow a postpositional complement.

In grammar, a disjunct adverbial is a word or phrase that provides additional information to frame an entire clause. Disjunct adverbials denote the attitude of the speaker toward or judgment of the proposition such as truthfulness of manner of speaking. In addition to adverb phrases and prepositional phrases, postpositional phrases sometimes function as disjunct adverbials in English. Examples of postpositional phrases as disjunct adverbials include the following:

  • Joking aside, we must decide on a plan of action by the end of the week.
  • Jokes aside, you need to finish studying for the test.
  • My opinion notwithstanding, the students must study harder for the standardized tests.


Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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