Subjunct (Grammar)

A type of adverb (or sentence adverb) that expresses a condition or hypothesis. In A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985), Randolph Quirk et al. distinguish subjuncts from these other adverbials:

Examples and Observations:

  • "[Subjuncts] amplify or intensify or diminish another sentence element, and they carry less weight than it does:
    He just stopped talking.
    She is certainly intelligent.
    She scarcely knows me.
    Of the four categories of adverbs, subjuncts are the most consistent with the traditional idea of adverbs."
    (B. Haussamen, Revising the Rules. Kendall, 1993)
  • "H.W. Fowler speaks of the position of adverbs, saying: 'The word adverb is here to be taken as including adverbial phrases (e.g. for a time) and adverbial clauses (e.g. if possible), adjectives used predicatively (e.g. alone), and adverbial conjunctions (e.g. then), as well as simple adverbs such as soon and undoubtedly.' These five lines might have been spared if the writer had made use of my simple word, subjunct."
    (Otto Jespersen, The Philosophy of Grammar, 1925)
  • "[Randolph] Quirk et al distinguish between adjuncts, disjuncts, subjuncts and conjuncts in terms of their centrality or peripherality in the clause. . . .

    "Of course as a subjunct is illustrated in (1) where it is subordinate to the subject in the clause:
    (1) Many young people of course prefer hip hop to rock music.
    It can also be subordinate to the whole clause:
    (2) Many young people may of course prefer hip hop to rock music.
    Subjuncts 'have to a greater or lesser extent, a subordinate role in relation to one of the other clause elements or to the clause as a whole. They exhibit considerably less semantic and grammatical independence than disjuncts and are more closely integrated in clause structure . . .' (Hoye 1997: 155)."
    (Karin Aij, "Does English Have Modal Particles?" Corpus Linguistics: Refinements and Reassessments, ed. A. Renouf. Rodopi, 2009).
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    Nordquist, Richard. "Subjunct (Grammar)." ThoughtCo, Apr. 3, 2017, Nordquist, Richard. (2017, April 3). Subjunct (Grammar). Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "Subjunct (Grammar)." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2018).