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Notwithstanding the success achieved by Napoleon in the initial stage of

the war of 1812he was finally defeated.

Though frightenedhe carried it off very well. (Cronin)


12. The adverbial modifier of purpose.


Ham sometimes walked with us to show us the boats and ships.(Dickens)

They opened the way for her to come to him.(Douglas)

They cleared swamp growth for planting.(Eliot)

§ 35. Ways of expressing the adverbial modifier.

It can be expressed by:

1. An adverb.


Rachel turned instinctivelyto prevent a possible intruder from entering.



2. A noun with or without accompanying words.

Next daythe morning hours seemed to pass very slowly at Mr. Pellet’s. (E.


They walked mileswithout finding any habitation.


3. A prepositional phrase.


The red dust spread up and out and over everything.(Wells)

I walked straight up the lane. (Bennett)


4. A noun, pronoun, adjective, infinitive, participle, or prepositional phrase with a subordinating conjunction.


Mary swims better than her sister.

My sister plays tennis better than I.

If necessary,she must see Mr. Bridgenorth. (Gaskell)

He shrank back, his arms lifted as though to ward offphysical violence.


While waiting for the water to boil,he held his face over the stove.


Sometimes he (Martin), when with her,noted an unusual brightness in her

eyes. (London)


5. A participle or a participial phrase.

Having decided to accept his sister’s counselMarcellus wasanxious to

perform his unpleasant duty. (Douglas)

Turning away,she caught sight of the extra special edition of The Signal.


When questioned,she explained everything very carefully.


6. Absolute constructions.

(a) The Nominative Absolute Participial Construction.


He had wrapped her up with great care, the night being dark and frosty.


Dehn burst in, the terror of the streets written on his face.(Heym)


(b) The Nominative Absolute construction.


He stopped and turned about, his eyes brightly proud.(Douglas)


(c) The Prepositional Absolute Participial Construction.


He looked at Mr. Micawber attentively, with his whole face breathing short

and quick in every feature.(Dickens)


(d) The Prepositional Absolute construction.


He rushed forward, with fury in his looks, and fire in his eye.


7. A prepositional phrase or construction with a gerund.


His father looked up without speaking. (Lindsay)

Nellman was arrested by the FBI... for “being a member of the Communist

Party”. (Daily Worker)

On her going to his house to thank him,he happened to see her through a

window. (Dickens)

I left the room without anybody noticing it.


8. An infinitive, an infinitive phrase, or an infinitive construction.


They rose to go into the drawing-room.(Galsworthy)

So, on the following evening, we again assembled, to discuss and arrange

our plans. (Jerome)

He put the picture on the table for George to get a better view of it.





It is not always easy to discriminate between different parts of the sentence expressed by prepositional phrases.

The following parts of the sentence are apt to be confused: (1) a prepositional indirect object and an adverbial modifier; (2) an attribute and an adverbial modifier.

1. A prepositional indirect object and an adverbial modifier of place and manner.


Kate removed her eyes from the window and gazed directly at Papa.(Cronin)

Decimus had been born in Rome.(Douglas)


In the first example the prepositional phrase at Papa is a pre; positional indirect object as the noun denotes a living being.

In the second example the prepositional phrase in Rome is an adverbial modifier as the noun denotes an inanimate object and the question is: Where had he been born?

When the noun in the prepositional phrase denotes an inanimate object, very often two ways of analysis are possible.


His wife was sitting before a very little fire. (Galsworthy)


The prepositional phrase before a very little fire can be treated either as an adverbial modifier or an object.

2. An attribute and an adverbial modifier of place.


I thought you were going to a party at the club.(Douglas)

The party will take place at the club.

In the first example at the club is an attribute as it modifies a noun. It answers the question: What party?

In the second sentence the same prepositional phrase modifies a verbal group, consequently it is an adverbial modifier of place.

These examples do not cover all the dubious cases in analysis, they only serve to show that there are many border-line cases.




§ 36. Detached parts of the sentence are those secondary parts which assume a certain grammatical and semantic independence. This phenomenon is due to their loose connection with the words they modify.

Loose connection may be due to the position of these words, the way they are expressed, their meaning, or the speaker’s desire to make them prominent. In spoken language detached parts of the sentence are marked by intonation, pauses, and special stress; in written language they are generally separated by commas or dashes. Adverbial modifiers, attributes, and prepositional indirect objects may stand in loose connection to the word they modify, i. e. they may be detached (loose) parts of the sentence. The adverbial modifier is more apt to stand in loose connection than any other part of the sentence.



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