VIII. The Adverbial Modifier

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VIII. The Adverbial Modifier

Words in this function modify verbs, adjectives and adverbs,
specifying the circumstances of a happening.

Adverbial modifiers may be expressed by an adverb, anoun
with a preposition, an infinitive, an ing-iorm with a conjunction
or a preposition, a participle with a conjunction, an adjective with
a conjunction and an absolute construction.

According to their meaning, adverbial modifiers are sub-
divided into:

1) adverbial modifiers of place and direction,

e.g. He found himself in a lonely street.

The procession moved slowly towards the embankment.
He'll be here

Adverbial modifiers of time,

e.g. I'llgive you a telephone call tonight.
Bring him back on Sunday.
He kept silent a long time before answering.
When tired,
he has his supper in his room.

3) adverbial modifiers of frequency,

e.g. He seldomspoke with such frankness.
She has music lessons twice a week.

4) adverbial modifiers of degree,

e.g. He came back home prettylate last night.
The night was very still.
He knows his subject perfectly.

Adverbial modifiers of manner,

e.g. She was crying bitterly.
came here by taxi.
He opened the door with difficulty.
They walked very fast.
The bus passed us without stopping.

Adverbial modifiers of attending circumstances,

e.g. Itis very romantic to take a walk by moonlight.
I don't feel like going out in this weather.
She looked up at him, herface smiling happily.
He lived all by himself in an old house on the river, with all

his family gone and forgotten.
looked round the room, thesense of being watched acute


Adverbial modifiers of description,

e.g. Fay's eyes continually moved in his Father's direction, as

though seeking his approval.
The shop was freshly painted, with a large green awning to

protect the window.
He stood there very quietly, his hand outstretched.

Adverbial modifiers of purpose,

e.g. Idid my best to preventher from making a mistake.

Adverbial modifiers of cause,

e.g. Our flight was delayed owing to the storm.

Adverbial modifiers of comparison,

e.g. Shesat still like a statue.
He was as ugly as a monkey.

I've got a more difficult problem to solve than finda new

Adverbial modifiers of consequence,

e.g. He had to read only the first ten pages to knowwhat the

book was about.

He was clever enough to understandit.
Iwas too tired to gofor a walk.

12) adverbial modifiers of concession,

e.g. When he returned his wife was still at the table, though pre-
paring to go.

Whatever the reason,she should have come.
Though tired,he agreed to show us the garden.

Adverbial modifiers of condition,

e.g. He said he would do it if necessary.

But for the rain, I'dhave gone off an hour ago.
To look at her,you wouldn't believe she was a famous ac-

Adverbial modifiers of exception,

e.g. He had no choice but to obeythe orders.

IX. The Attribute

Words in this function modify nouns (and sometimes pro-
nouns) giving them some kind of characteristic.

Attributes may be expressed by an adjective, a pronoun, a
noun in the genitive or common case, a noun with a preposition,
an infinitive, an ing-form, a participle and, occasionally, an ad-

Depending on the closeness of the syntactic ties between the
attribute and its noun, we distinguish closeand loose attributes.
Close attributes form a tight sense unit with their nouns. Loose
attributes are less tightly connected with their nouns. Adding
more information to or explaining what is being said in the sen-
tence, they are regarded as a more independent member of the
sentence and, hence, often separated by a comma from the rest of
the sentence.

Close attributes,

e.g. A largecat jumped down the windowseat.
They gave eachchild a bigapple.
I'd like anothercup of tea.
Iborrowed twopounds from Jane'sbrother.
Isaw by theirfaces that they had learned something new.
was an act of despairon her part.
She admired his way of doingthings.

He is not a man torely on.

The clouds were lit by the setting sun.

She saw the lightedwindows of the cottage.

It was a pleasure to listento him.

Itwas no use talkingto her.

The thenheadmaster introduced the rule.

2) Loose attributes,

e.g. Happy and carefree,the children ran down the hill.

You behave like a schoolboy afraid ofhis teacher.

Paintedgreen, the house was almost invisible on the forest-
covered hill.

Craig took the baby out of the pram and lifted it high in the
air. The baby, tryingto tug at his moustache, crowed glee-

X. The Apposition

Words in this function modify nouns, explaining and spec-
ifying their meaning by giving them another name.
Appositions are usually expressed by nouns.

e.g. Ann, the daughterof the landlady, was always ready to baby-
sit for us.

I asked Miss Grey, a neighbour and an old friend of mine,to

The Glory, a British steamship,was to arrive on Monday

XI. Independent Elements of the Sentence

Independent elements of the sentence are not directly connect-
ed with any part of the sentence — they express the speaker's at-
titude to or comment on what is being said in the sentence as a
whole. In this function we usually find parenthetic expressions,
viewpoint, attitudinal and formulaic adverbs.

e.g. To tell the truth, Ididn't like her at first.
It isn't quite correct, strictly speaking.
She will probablytell you about it herself.
It was a rainy day but fortunatelyit was not cold.

Historically, the king's death was a minor event, but it be-
came widely known owing to its tragic circumstances.
Willyou kindlykeep me informed?

Syntactic Complexes

The subject-predicate relationship may be found in an English
sentence not only between the grammatical subject and the finite
predicate but also in some phrases consisting of at least two ele-
ments — a subject and a predicative. Such phrases, usually
known as syntactic complexes,differ from the real subject and
the predicate of the sentence in that they lack a finite verb and
therefore what is expressed in them cannot be directly related to
reality. It is done indirectly — by means of the phrase being syn-
tactically connected with the predicate proper.

Syntactic complexes may be of the following kinds:

I. The ComplexObject — a syntactic construction which is
lexically dependent and found after a limited number of verbs in
the Active Voice (see "Verbs", §§ 193, 222, 249; "Nouns", §21;
"Adjectives", § 7). The complex object consists of a noun in the
common case or an indefinite pronoun or a personal pronoun in
the objective case serving as an object in the sentence, and a pred-
icative which may be expressed by a noun, an adjective, an ad-
verb, an infinitive with or without the particle to, an ing-form
and a participle.

e.g. His humour made him awelcome guest.

When they came they found the house empty.

I don't want any light on.

Why don't you get somebody to explainit to you?

I watched her moveaway from us.

I felt him looking at me now and again.

I had never before seen the game played.

II. The Complex Subject —a syntactic construction which is
lexically dependent and found with a limited number of verbs in
the Passive Voice (see "Verbs", §§ 192,221, 248; "Nouns", § 21;
"Adjectives", § 7). The complex subject consists of a noun in the
common case, an indefinite pronoun or a personal pronoun in the

nominative case serving as the subject of the sentence, and a (sub-
jective) predicative which may be expressed by a noun, an adjec-
tive, an adverb, an infinitive, an ing-form and a participle.

e.g. Bob Skinnerwas made the leader of the team.
The doorwas painted green.
Everybodywas found in.
Theywere expected to agree.
The childrenwere left playing on the floor.
The carwas last seen parked at the hotel.

III. The Prepositional Infinitive Phrase —a syntactic con-
struction which consists of a noun in the common case, an indefinite
pronoun or a personal pronoun in the objective case, and a predica-
tive expressed by an infinitive. The whole of the phrase is joined to
the rest of the sentence by a preposition. Usually it is the preposi-
tion for, but sometimes the choice of the preposition is determined
by the verb the phrase depends on. (See also "Verbs", § 166.)

e.g. He held out the papers for me tosee.

He was looking for someone to helphim.

Her whole life had been spent listening to other people talk.

They appealed to him togive upthe idea.

I arranged with the womandownstairs to keepthe place clean.

You can rely on Father to forgetnothing.

Prepositional infinitive phrases may perform different func-
tions in the sentence.

e.g. For him to swearwas such a rarity that David was not only

shocked but thoroughly startled, (subject)
All he wanted was for me to get outof his sight, (predicative)
We were waiting for the train to arrive,(prepositional object)
The boy stood aside forus togo by. (adverbial modifier of

I was too young for them to tellme the truth, (adverbial

modifier of consequence)
It was an easy plan for Roger to fulfil,(attribute)

IV. The ing-Complex —a syntactic construction which consists
of a possessive pronoun or a personal pronoun in the objective case

or a noun in the common or genitive case, and a predicative ex-
pressed by an ing-form. (See also "Verb", § 166.)

The ing-complex may perform different functions in the sen-

e.g. At first she hadn't been sure that his coming here had been
a good thing, (subject)

The only thing I am afraid of is the family being too sure of
themselves, (predicative)

That's a risk I just can't think of your taking, (prepositional

He could not approve of Guy's hiding himself away, (preposi-
tional object)

Not a day had passed without that young man coming to at
least one meal, (adverbial modifier of attending circum-

Of course you understand that after John breaking his ap-
pointment I'm never going to speak to him again, (adverbi-
al modifier of time)

I ought to have realized the possibility of such a thing hap-
pening, (attribute)

V. The Absolute Construction — a syntactic construction
which also consists of at least two elements — a subject and a
predicative, but differs from the other syntactic complexes in
that its grammatical connection with the rest of the sentence is
much looser. It is often marked off by a comma. Absolute con-
structions function as adverbial modifiers of attending circum-
stances and description and may be joined to the sentence either
asyndetically or with the help of the preposition with or without.

The first element of the absolute construction is usually a
noun or a pronoun; the second element may be expressed by an in-
finitive, an ing-iorm, a participle, a noun with or without a prep-
osition, an adjective or an adverb.

e.g. With nothing to do, the actors stood about and made small


She ran up the stairs, her heart thumping painfully.
I wouldn't dare go home without the job finished.
He sat motionless, his hands over his eyes.
I can't sleep with the radio on.

The Structure of the Composite Sentence

A composite sentence consists of two or more simple sentences
joined together. The component parts of a composite sentence are
called clauses. The relationship between the clauses may be that
of coordination and subordination.

In the case of coordination we have a compound sentence
whose clauses are independent of each other syntactically. They
may be joined by some coordinating conjunctions (e.g. and, but,
or, yet, for,
etc.) or asyndetically.

e.g. He was very busy now and they saw few of their friends.

I haven't got much news to convey but there are some things
to add.

I began to miss London, yet I was not coming back.

You can boil yourself an egg, or I'll make you a cheese sand-

He asked for food — there was none. My parents are quite
young, they live their own life.

In the case of subordination, one of the syntactic functions
within a simple sentence is expressed by a clause thereby forming
a complex sentence.

Cf. I know the girl's name, (object)

I know what the girl's name is. (object clause)

She learned to play tennis at school, (adverbial modifier of

She learned to play tennis when she went to school, (adverbi-
al clause of time)

The basic structure is called the principal clause; the clause
performing some syntactic function within the principal clause is
termed a subordinate clause.

Structurally and semantically, subordinate clauses are subor-
dinated to principal clauses and may be joined to them by means
of conjunctions, conjunctive words, asyndetically and sometimes
by means of the sequence of tenses.

Conjunctions (a) differ from conjunctive words (b) in that the
former are not members of either the principal or subordinate
clause while the latter perform some function within the subordi-
nate clause.

e.g. a) I know (that) he isright.
Iwas out whenhe came.

She had only a cup of tea becauseshe was not hungry.
b) He knew whohad brought the letter.
They knew when Iwould come.

He showed me the watch thathe was given as a birthday

Subordinate clauses may perform various functions within the
principal clause. In comparison with the corresponding members
of the simple sentence they can be said to be more expressive
since they have a finite form in their structure.

For practical purposes of learning English, it is necessary and
sufficient to distinguish the following kinds of subordinate clauses:

1) subject clauseswhich perform the function of subject and
may be introduced by the conjunctions that, if, whether and
such conjunctive words as who, what, which, when, why, how and

e.g. That you may meet him at the partyis quite possible.
What I need nowis someone to do the job.

2) predicative clauseswhich perform the function of pre-
dicative and may be introduced by the same conjunctions and con-
junctive words as subject clauses (see above).

e.g. His only desire was that his family shouldn't interfere with

his plans.
The question was why no one had heard the shot.

3) object clauseswhich modify verbs and adjectives as objects
to them and may be introduced by the same conjunctions and con-
junctive words as subject clauses (see above).

e.g. I thought (that) they were joking.

We were sorry (that) we had missed Father by a few minutes.
It was announced over the radio that the flight was delayed.
It was urgent that we should take a decision.
is very lucky that you're calling me now.
wish you hadn't asked me that.

Hefound it important that they should start on the job
right away.

They took it for granted that his theory was correct.

Nobody knew what she meant.

He could not understand why they insisted on such a decision.

Time will show if (whether) he is right.

Itwas not clear what had happenedand who was injured.

4) adverbial clauseswhich function as adverbial modifiers to
verbs and adjectives within the principal clause and may be of the
following kinds:

a) adverbial clauses of timewhich are introduced by the con-
junctions when, while, as, until, till, before, after, since, as soon
as, as long as
and some others,

e.g. When they reached the village,Jane got out of the taxi and

looked about her.
I won't leave until you come.

b) adverbial clauses of place and directionwhich are in-
troduced by the conjunction where,

e.g. They stopped where the road turned to the river.

c) adverbialclauses ofcause which are introduced by the con-
junctions because, as, since and some others,

e.g. He was glad to talk to her because it set her at ease.

d) adverbial clauses of purposewhich are introduced by the
conjunctions so that, that, in order that, lest,

e.g. He spoke loudly and clearly so that all could hear him.

e) adverbial clauses of conditionwhich are introduced by the
conjunctions if, in case, unless and some others,

e.g. If we start off now,we'll arrive there by dinner time.

f) adverbial clauses of concessionwhich are introduced by the
conjunctions though, although, even if, even though and wh-pro-
nouns, ending in -ever,

e.g. Although it was very late,she kept the dinner warm on the


Even if the faultis all his, Imust find a way to help him.
Whatever happens,she won't have it her own way.

g) adverbial clauses of consequencewhich are introduced by
the conjunctions that, so ... that, such ... that,

e.g. He was soembarrassed that he could hardly understand her.

h) adverbial clauses of comparisonwhich are introduced by the
conjunctions than, as,, not so (as), as if and as though.

e.g. He now took better care of his old father than he had ever

done it before.
Her lips moved soundlessly, as if she were rehearsing.

5) attributive clauseswhich modify nouns within the principal
clause and are introduced by the conjunctive (relative) words that,
who(m), which, whose, as, when, where
and some others as well as
asyndetically (see also "Nouns' § 15),

e.g. I know a man who can help us.

We caught a breeze that took us gently up the river.

All the presents (that) he had given herwere in their usual

Where is the letter (which) I gave you to read?

6) appositive clauseswhich modify nouns within the principal
clause and are introduced by the conjunction that. In form they
look like attributive clauses but in content they are similar to ob-
ject clauses because they explain and specify the meaning of the
noun they refer to. It should be borne in mind that only a limited
number of abstract nouns can be modified by appositive clauses
(for the lists of such nouns see "Verbs", §§ 137-138, 204, 230),

e.g. I had the impression that she was badly ill.

We turned down his suggestion that we should take a boarder.
The thought that she was unhappykept him awake all night.



Infinitive Past Indefinite Participle
abide abode, abided abided
arise arose arisen
awake awoke, awakened awoken
be was, were been
bear bore borne
beat beat beaten, beat
become became become
befall befell befallen
beget begot begotten
begin began begun
behold beheld beheld
bend bent bent
bereave bereaved, bereft bereaved, bereft
beseech besought, beseeched besought, beseeched
beset beset beset
bet bet, betted bet, betted
bid bade, bid bidden,bid
bind bound bound
bite bit bitten
bleed bled bled
blend blended, blent blended, blent
bless blessed, blest blessed, blest
blow blew blown
break broke broken
breed bred bred
bring brought brought
broadcast broadcast broadcast
build built built
burn burnt, burned burnt, burned
burst burst burst
buy bought bought
cast cast cast
catch caught caught
choose chose chosen


Infinitive Past Indefinite Participle
cleave cleaved, clove, cleft cleaved, cloven, cleft
cling clung clung
come came come
cost cost cost
creep crept crept
cut cut cut
deal dealt dealt
dig dug dug
do did done
draw drew drawn
dream dreamed, dreamt dreamed, dreamt
drink drank drunk
drive drove driven
dwell dwelt, dwelled dwelt, dwelled
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
feed fed fed
feel felt felt
fight fought fought
find found found
flee fled fled
fling flung flung
fly flew flown
forbear forbore forborne
forbid forbade, forbad forbidden
forecast forecast forecast
forego forewent foregone
foresee foresaw foreseen
foretell foretold foretold
forget forgot forgotten
forgive forgave forgiven
forsake forsook forsaken
freeze froze frozen
get got got, gotten
give gave given
go went gone
grind ground ground
grow grew grown


Infinitive Past Indefinite Participle
hang hung, hanged hung, hanged
have had had
hear heard heard
heave heaved, hove heaved, hove
hew hewed hewn, hewed
hide hid hidden, hid
hit hit hit
hold held held
hurt hurt hurt
keep kept kept
kneel knelt, kneeled knelt, kneeled
knit knitted, knit knitted, knit
know knew known
lay laid laid
lead led led
lean leant, leaned leant, leaned
leap leapt, leaped leapt, leaped
learn learnt, learned learnt, learned
leave left left
lend lent lent
let let let
He lay lain
light lit, lighted lit, lighted
lose lost lost
make made made
mean meant meant
meet met met
mislay mislaid mislaid
mislead misled misled
mistake mistook mistaken
misunderstand misunderstood misunderstood
mow mowed mown, mowed
outdo outdid outdone
outgrow outgrew outgrown
overbear overbore overborne
overcast overcast overcast
overcome overcame overcome
overdo overdid overdone

Infinitive Past Indefinite Participle
overhear overheard overheard
overtake overtook overtaken
overthrow overthrew overthrown
partake partook partaken
pay paid paid
put put put
read read read
rebuild rebuilt rebuilt
recast recast recast
relay relaid relaid
rend rent rent
retell retold retold
rid rid, ridded rid, ridded
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
rise rose risen
run ran run
saw sawed sawn, sawed
say said said
see saw seen
seek sought sought
sell sold sold
send sent sent
set set set
sew sewed sewn, sewed
shake shook shaken
shear sheared shorn,sheared
shed shed shed
shine shone, shined shone, shined
shoe shod shod
shoot shot shot
show showed shown, showed
shrink shrank, shrunk shrunk
shut shut shut
sing sang sung
sink sank,sunk sunk
sit sat sat
slay slew slam
sleep slept slept
slide slid slid
sling slung slung


Infinitive Past Indefinite Participle
slink slunk slunk
slit slit slit
smell smelt, smellcd smelt, smelled
smite smote smitten
sow sowed sown, sowed
speak spoke spoken
speed sped, speeded sped,speeded
spell spelt, spelled spelt, spelled
spend spent spent
spill spilt, spilled spilt, spilled
spin spun,span spun
spit spat, spit spat, spit
split split split
spoil spoilt, spoiled spoilt, spoiled
spread spread spread
spring sprang, sprung sprung
stand stood stood
stave staved,stove staved, stove
steal stole stolen
stick stuck stuck
sting stung stung
stink stank, stunk stunk
strew strewed strewn, strewed
stride strode stridden
strike struck struck
string strung strung
strive strove, strived striven, strived
swear swore sworn
sweep swept swept
swell swelled swollen, swelled
swim swam swum
swing swung swung
take took taken
teach taught taught
tear tore torn
tell told told
think thought thought
thrive thrived, throve thrived
throw threw thrown
thrust thrust thrust
tread trod trodden, trod
undergo underwent undergone

Infinitive Past Indefinite Participle
understand understood understood
undertake undo undertook undid undertaken undone
upset wake upset woke, waked upset woken, waked
wear wore worn
weave wed wove wedded, wed woven wedded, wed
weep win wind wept won wound wept won wound
withdraw withdrew withdrawn
withhold withheld withheld
wring write wrung wrote wrung written



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