Grammar Glossary::subjuncts (sub-class of adverbial


• Subjuncts are one of the four types of adverbial; the others are: adjuncts, conjuncts, and disjuncts.

• There are many types of subjunct, but they are all “subordinate” to other elements of clause structure. In other words, although they are separate adverbial elements — not parts of other elements — they are not as “central” to clause structure as, for example, adjunct adverbials are.

• The subordinate role played by subjuncts differentiates them sharply from adjuncts. One aspect of this difference is the fact that they cannot generally be the focus of certain grammatical operations. For example, adjuncts such as “happily” or “sadly” can be contrasted with one another in “alternative interrogation” in questions such as “Did Harry smile happily or sadly when Jill told him she loved him?” but if an attempt is made to contrast subjuncts in this way as in “Does Jill deeply or slightly love Harry?” the results are unacceptable.

• It is often possible for the same word to act as a subjunct in one context but not in another.

• For example, in the sentence, “Sadly, Sara packed her clothes and left the next morning,” the adverb sadly is acting a subjunct. However, in the sentence, “Later, Sara spoke sadly about those terrible days,” it is an adjunct, and in “Sadly, Sarah never learnt the real truth,” it is a disjunct.

examples from some of the sub-classes of subjuncts

viewpoint: geographically, ethnically, morally, psychologically, politically  

-“Jill was not injured in the attack, but psychologically it had a terrible effect on her.”

courtesy: kindly, cordially, graciously, please  

-“Will you kindly refrain from smoking in this room?”

subject-oriented item subjuncts: sadly, bitterly, frankly, deliberately, reluctantly, consistently, intentionally, on purpose  

-“Reluctantly Jill agreed to meet Tom and talk things over.”

time subjuncts: already, still, yet, just, ever, never  

-“As far as Jill knows, Harry has not yet spoken to his lawyer.”

emphasizers: actually, certainly, clearly, definitely, indeed, really, obviously, frankly, honestly, simply, literally  

-“Even Jane was surprised that Jill had actually spent the weekend with Harry.”

intensifiers: absolutely, fully, thoroughly, deeply, bitterly, almost, nearly, practically, rather, barely, hardly, enough, kind of, slightly, not at all  

-“Dick could hardly stop himself from laughing when he heard the story.”

focusing subjuncts: alone, exactly, just, only, purely, simply, mainly, particularly, at least, specifically, again, also, even, further, too, as well  

-“At the party only Dick was friendly to Jill.”