English Grammar Basic Grammar and syntax

What are attachments? (with examples)

What are attachments? (with examples)

An adjunct is a word, phrase, or clause that can be removed from a sentence without making the sentence grammatically incorrect.

An adjunct is usually an adverb used to modify a verb. When used as an adverb, an adjunct will generally indicate a time, a manner, a place, a frequency, a reason, or a degree.

Examples of Adjuncts

Here are some more examples of attachments.

Time Adjuncts (Adverbs of Time)

These are some examples of time attachments:

  • The alarm went off again yesterday.
  • In the morning, he will veto the bill.

Manner Adjuncts (Adverbs of Manner)

Estos son algunos ejemplos de adjuntos de modo:

  • Present your case carefully.
  • Simon drinks his pints like a demon.

Place Adjuncts (Adverbs of Place)

Estos son algunos ejemplos de adjuntos de lugar:

  • Here the situation is completely different.
  • She buries all her toys wherever Ollie buries his.

Frequency Adjuncts (Adverbs of Frequency)

Estos son algunos ejemplos de adjuntos de frecuencia:

  • She comes here often.
  • Every Tuesday, the shop opens at eight o’clock.

Reason Adjuncts (Adverbs of Reason)

Aquí hay algunos ejemplos de complementos de razón:

  • As it’s Friday, you can stay up another hour.
  • Expect the tent to leak because it’s been in my garage for 30 years.

Degree Adjuncts (Adverbs of Degree)

Estos son algunos ejemplos de adjuntos de grado:

  • You’re not as poor as you could have been.
  • She is as smart as she is brilliant.

Why Should I Care about Adjuncts?

Aquí hay tres buenas razones para preocuparse por los adjuntos.

(Reason 1) Put your adjunct in the right place.

Place your attachment next to whatever you’re modifying to avoid ambiguity. Look at this example:

  • Cycling uphill quickly strengthens your calf muscles. ❌
    (This is not wrong, but it’s ambiguous.)

Does quickly modify Cycling uphill or strengthens?
This is called a squint modifier, which is a kind of misplaced modifier. Here’s another example of a misplaced attachment creating a misplaced modifier:

  • Simon and his mother were reunited after 52 years in McDonald’s. ❌
    (That’s a long time to spend in McDonald’s! There are two adjuncts in this example, a time adjunct and a place adjunct.)

Aquí hay versiones mejores e inequívocas con adjuntos colocados apropiadamente:

  • Cycling uphill strengthens your calf muscles quickly. ✔️
  • Simon and his mother were reunited in McDonald’s after 52 years. ✔️

(Reason 2) Use a comma with a fronted adjunct.

Attachments cause few problems for native English speakers. The main grammatical point is whether to use a comma.

When an adjunct is at the beginning of a sentence (especially when it is made up of more than one word), a comma is often used.

  • A mouse ran across the floor while you were on the phone. ✔️
    (no comma required – adjunct at the end of the sentence)
  • While you were on the phone, a mouse ran across the floor. ✔️
    (comma expected – adjunct at the start)
  • It is a better standard of living in the north of Scotland. ✔️
    (no comma required – adjunct at the end of the sentence)
  • In the north of Scotland, it is a better standard of living. ✔️
    (comma expected – adjunct at the start)

(Reason 3) Delete unnecessary manner adjuncts ending -ly.

Los escritores profesionales (particularmente los escritores de ficción) usan adverbios que terminan en -ly (típicamente adjuntos de manera) con moderación. Los consideran un desorden innecesario. Este punto de vista es apoyado por el autor Stephen King:

  • The road to hell is paved with adverbs. (Author Stephen King)

Professional writers believe that adverbs ending in -ly are redundant if you choose the right dialogue.

  • Extremely hungry, she looked longingly at the cakes.
    (Professional writers would tut at this.)
  • Ravenous, she stared at the cakes.
    (This is sharper.)

Estas son las tres buenas razones para evitar una terminación adjunta de modo -ly:

(1) The adjunct is a tautology (i.e., needless repetition of an idea).

  • She laughed happily.

(2) The adjunct is“spoon feeding“the reader.

  • She smiled disappointedly.
    (By the time your readers reach this sentence, they should know from context that it’s a disappointed smile. Professional writers would try to show their readers, not literally tell them, that she’s disappointed. Less is more.)

Spoon-feeding with a manner adjunct occurs most commonly with verbs of attribution (e.g., said, declared, whispered).

  • “Get off!“she growled angrily.
    (You should omit the adjunct if it’s implicit from the context.)
  • (3) The adjunct is only there because of a badly chosen word.

    • Shouting loudly, Janet wanted us to know that she was completely annoyed.
      (The adjuncts are necessary because the verbs are not sufficiently descriptive.)
    • Screaming, Janet wanted us to know that she was livid.
      (It is sharper with more-descriptive words and without the adjuncts.)

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