FORM AND
FUNCTION
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Certain parts of a sentence may convey information about how, when, or where something happened:

He ate his meal quickly (how)
David gave blood last week (when)
Susan went to school in New York (where)

The highlighted constituents here are ADJUNCTS. From a syntactic point of view, Adjuncts are optional elements, since their omission still leaves a complete sentence:

He ate his meal quickly ~He ate his meal

David gave blood last week ~David gave blood

Susan went to school in New York ~Susan went to school

Many types of constituents can function as Adjuncts, and we exemplify these below.

David gave blood last week
Next summer, we're going to Spain
We've agreed to meet the day after tomorrow

NPs as Adjuncts generally refer to time, as in these examples.

They ate their meal too quickly
She walked very gracefully down the steps
Suddenly, the door opened

Susan went to school in New York
I work late on Mondays
After work, I go to a local restaurant

PPs as Adjuncts generally refer to time or to place -- they tell us when or where something happens.

Subordinate clauses can function as Adjuncts. We'll begin with some examples of finite subordinate clauses:

 Clauses functioning as Adjuncts EXAMPLES Finite While we were crossing the park, we heard a loud explosion I was late for the interview because the train broke down If you want tickets for the concert, you have to apply early My car broke down, so I had to walk Nonfinite To-infinitive clause Bare infinitive clause -ing clause -ed clause Small clause To open the window, you have to climb a ladder Rather than leave the child alone, I brought him to work with me Being a qualified plumber, Paul had no difficulty in finding the leak Left to himself, he usually gets the job done quickly His face red with rage, John stormed out of the room

You will notice that these clauses express the range of meanings that we looked at earlier (in Subordinate Clauses: Semantic Types). In all cases, notice also that the Adjuncts express additional and optional information. If they are omitted, the remaining clause is still syntactically complete.

We have now looked at the following grammatical functions:

Subject
Predicate
Predicator
Direct Object
Indirect Object

In the following sentences, identify the functions of the bracketed strings:

 1. Recently, [finding a job] has become very difficult Subject Predicate Predicator Direct Object Indirect Object Adjunct 2. Amy sings [very sweetly] Subject Predicate Predicator Direct Object Indirect Object Adjunct 3. I've left [my keys] in the car Subject Predicate Predicator Direct Object Indirect Object Adjunct 4. Robert promised [me] that he'd send a postcard Subject Predicate Predicator Direct Object Indirect Object Adjunct 5. Playing football [is his only pastime] Subject Predicate Predicator Direct Object Indirect Object Adjunct

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