A word, phrase, or clause--usually an adverbial--that is integrated within the structure of a sentence (unlike a disjunct or sentence adverb) and that can be omitted without making the sentence ungrammatical. Adjective: adjunctive or adjunctival.
Etymology:From the Latin, "join"
Examples and Observations:
- I need your answer by tomorrow.
- She spoke quickly.
- I have almost completely forgotten the incident.
- "adjunct(-ival) A term used in grammatical theory to refer to an optional or secondary element in a construction: an adjunct may be removed without the structural identity of the rest of the construction being affected. The clearest examples at sentence level are adverbials, e.g. John kicked the ball yesterday instead of John kicked the ball, but not *John kicked yesterday, etc.; but other elements have been classed as adjunctival, in various descriptions, such as vocatives and adjectives. Many adjuncts can also be analysed as modifiers, attached to the head of a phrase (as with adjectives, and some adverbs)."
(David Crystal, A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. Blackwell, 1997)
- "[A]dverbials occur widely in clauses as optional elements.
- Optional adverbials can be added to clauses with any type of verb.
- They are usually adverb phrases, prepositional phrases, or noun phrases.
- They can be placed in different positions within the clause--in final, initial, or medial positions.
- More than one of them can occur in a single clause.
- They are rather loosely attached to the rest of the clause. Whereas the verb phrase is central, the adverbial is relatively peripheral (except in those clause patterns that require adverbials).
(D. Biber, et al., Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English, 2002)