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Hi there teachers,

-I'm having trouble understanding the difference between adjuncts and supplements in/of a sentence. I know what they are, but I don't know how I should distinguish them with each other. Adjuncts are optional constituents of a predicate functioning adverbially, modifying, in some way the predicator of the predicate. Supplements are

extra elements adding a comment to the sentence. Assuming these definitions are correct, I sense a similarity between them, not any difference. They both add something, which is what a modifier, an adverb do as well, to the meaning of a sentence. Then, what is the difference between them?


Thank you.

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Supplements can be realised by a wide range of categories (see below), but I sense that it's just the supplementary adjuncts that you're asking about. There are some key differences:

1. Adjuncts are dependents; they are modifiers of the verb or VP whereas supplements are not dependents, not modifiers (see 4.)

2. Modifiers are tightly integrated into the structure of the clause, whereas supplements are only loosely attached, not integrated into the syntactic structure of the sentence, and usually set apart by punctuation like commas or dashes. In the clearest cases, supplements have the character of interpolations or appendages.

3. In speech they are normally marked off by a slight pause.

4. Supplements are not modifiers; rather they are semantically related to some element called their 'anchor'.

Here are a few examples:

[1a] The kids were playing happily outside. (modifier)

[1b] Happily, the kids were playing outside. (supplement)

[2a] We made a decision after considering all the facts. (modifier)

[2b] All things considered, we made the right decision. (supplement)

[3a] Max read the report to see if there was anything to worry about. (modifier)

[3b] Having read the report, Max was sure he had nothing to worry about. (supplement)

In those pairs, the supplement is not integrated into the structure of the sentence, but just loosely attached by punctuation.

Other categories, like non-defining relative clauses are also supplements:

Ed said he'd finished his homework, which I knew to be untrue.

As are supplementary appositive noun phrases:

The murderer, the man with the scar, will be arrested soon.

We said that supplements are not modifiers; rather, they relate to a semantic 'anchor'. In the last example, the supplement has the NP "the murderer" as anchor. And in the relative clause example, the anchor is the entire preceding clause.

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I found definitions for these. They are quite distinct. In the definition of "supplement" there is a supplement (underlined).

Supplements are interpolations (words that interrupt the flow of thought) or appendages (words that are "loosely" attached at the beginning or end of the clause). In writing, they are often set off by commas, dashes, parentheses or colons. In speech, they are intonationally distinct or separate from the rest of the clause.

Adjuncts are one of the five major elements of clause structure. The other four are subject (s), verb (v), object (o) and complement (c). Adjuncts (a) are some times called adverbials.

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Comments  
BillJSupplements are also adjuncts, but of the non-modifying kind.

So, supplements are also a part of the predicate?

Also, it may be quite easy for a native speaker and grammarian like you to recognize whether an adjunct is functioning as a modifier (modifying adjunct) or whether it is functioning as supplement (supplementary adjunct).

But it is not that easy for learners like me.

For example:

-Being frustrated, she decided to kill herself.

-Hopefully, it will rain today.


In sentences like these, one might get confused in deciding whether being frustrated and hopefully are modifying

adjuncts or supplementary adjuncts.

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LaboriousSo, supplements are also a part of the predicate?

No.

LaboriousBut it is not that easy for learners like me. For example: -Being frustrated, she decided to kill herself. -Hopefully, it will rain today. In sentences like these, one might get confused in deciding whether being frustrated and hopefully are modifying adjuncts or supplementary adjuncts.

"Being frustrated" and "hopefully" are supplements in your examples They are separated from the rest of the clauses by commas, and in speech there would be a slight pause.

Please re-read my previous answer -- I have edited it to make things clearer.