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Using Prepositional Phrases as Adjunct Adverbials

Traditional grammars notionally define the preposition as a word that “links to other words, phrases, and clauses” and that “expresses spatial or temporal relations.” A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition plus another word, phrase, or clause functioning as the prepositional complement.

In grammar, an adjunct adverbial is a word, phrase, or clause that modifies an entire clause by providing additional information about time, place, manner, condition, purpose, reason, result, and concession. In addition to adverb phrases and noun phrases, prepositional phrases frequently function as adjunct adverbials in English. Examples of prepositional phrases as adjunct adverbials include the following:

  • The children waited in line.
  • The couple is walking their dog along the beach.
  • She failed the test because of her illness.
  • The jogger ran under the boardwalk.
  • He finished his essay despite his procrastination.
  • The little girl piled her toys next to the table.

References

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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