This article follows on from the previous one that focused on adjectives. The aim is again to help you increase the range of your active vocabulary, something essential for level 7 and above. Using a wide range of adverbs helps you to express your meaning more clearly and precisely. This time, we will look at adverbs, specifically adjuncts and disjuncts.

 

Adjuncts v Disjuncts

Adjuncts are adverbs which are a part of a clause as opposed to being ‘outside’ it and commenting on the contents of the clause. Disjuncts have the opposite function.

For example:

He wrote the report quickly. – ‘Quickly’ is an integral part of the clause showing how the subject wrote the report.

He probably wrote the report. – ‘Probably’ is not describing how the subject wrote the report. Instead, the writer is making a comment on the statement ‘he wrote the report’, in this case making a judgment on the probability that the subject wrote the report.

 

Types of adjunct

The main type of adjunct are:

1. Viewpoint

These adverbs can be paraphrased as ‘from the viewpoint of …’

Examples:

Technically, it is not too difficult to hack into a bank account.

It was a terrible setback both financially and psychologically.

 

2. Focusing

These adverbs as the name suggests, are used to draw attention to a particular part of a clause

Examples:

The salesmen especially objected to the decision to cut all employees salaries

( focus on the salesmen)

In that country, you can be fined just for getting angry at a policeman.

(focus on ‘getting angry at a policeman’)

 

3. Intensifiers

These adverbs serve to increase or decrease the impact of some part of the sentence.

Examples:

simply don’t believe that.

He bitterly regretted ever meeting her.

partly agreed with the decision.

 

4. Process

These adverbs are used to describe how the action indicated by the verb was carried out.

Examples:

They argued loudly over the matter.

He suddenly felt afraid.

 

5. Subject

These adverbs describe in some way the subjects attitude to the action of the clause

Examples:

He accepted the punishment in a dignified manner

(Remember that adverbs can be phrases as well as single words)

He was deliberately being difficult.

 

6. Place

These adverbs, mostly prepositional phrases, give information about the location or direction of an action.

Examples:

He lives a short distance from here.

He jumped over the fence.

 

7. Time

These adverbs give information about the time of an action. They can refer to the actual time of an action and also the duration and frequency.

Examples:

Let’s talk about this afterwards.

We need to act immediately.

They try to meet up once a year.

 

Disjuncts

Disjuncts are used to indicate the speaker or writer’s attitude to the form or content of what is spoken or written.

Examples:

Fortunately, nobody failed.

Personally, I don’t think it is such a good idea.

Obviously, he decided not to do something so against his interests.

He should have won but in fact he lost.

 

Note that the same adverb can be both an adjunct and a disjunct.

Example:

He took his work very seriously. (adjunct)

Seriously, he is going to give up his job. (disjunct)

It is important to recognise what type an adverb is as this decides its position in the sentence.

 

Exercise 1

Insert the adverb into the most appropriate position.

1. These results have been questioned. (often)

2. It was 2:00 am when I went to bed. (almost)

3. The questions were answered by the two groups who were surveyed. (quite differently)

4. So, we need to take into consideration three aspects to this problem. (basically)

5. I’m writing to you to ask if I could come and stay this weekend? (just)

 

Exercise 2

Choose the correct adverb in the following.

1. I perfectly / quite agree with you.

2. I was really / very amazed by the reaction of the audience.

3. I definitely / totally think that we should continue to teach music in schools.

4. The opinion people gave depended entirely / absolutely on their socio-economic background.

5. I thoroughly / utterly reject that way of thinking.

 

Exercise 3

The adverbs or adverbials in the following have been put in the wrong sentences . Rearrange them to make correct sentences.

1. Coral reefs are predictably under attack from various pollutants and the effects of global warming.

2. Increasingly all the fans were upset when the popular singer announced his retirement.

3. Understandably, more women enrolled on the engineering course than men.

4. The number of volunteers for working over the holiday was in fact small.

5. Although the college claims to have exceptional academic record, their pass rates are primarily no better than average.

6. The investigation was surprisingly concerned with how to improve the procedure, but this also involved asking questions about the purpose of the procedure.

 

I hope that this and the previous article will encourage you to be more aware of the communicative power of adjectives and adverbs. Make sure to include a wide variety in your essays.

 

If you are serious about taking your IELTS writing to the next level, sign up for your FREE 3 part IELTS writing video course that takes you through both task 1 and task 2. The video lessons are led by our highly experienced UK native IELTS teacher, Katherine. We also provide you with exercises to test your understanding!

 

Sign up your FREE IELTS writing video course by clicking here: https://swoosh-english.thinkific.com/courses/ielts-writing-video-course

 

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Answers to Exercises
Exercise 1
1. These results have often been questioned.
2. It was almost 2:00am when I went to bed.
3. The questions were answered quite differently by the two groups who were surveyed.
4. So basically, we need to take into consideration three aspects to this problem. ( ‘We basically need…’ is also possible)
5. I’m just writing to you to ask if I could come and stay this weekend?
Exercise 2
1. I quite agree with you.
2. I was really amazed by the reaction of the audience.
3. I definitely think that we should continue to teach music in schools.
4. The opinion people gave depended entirely on their socio-economic background.
5. I utterly reject that way of thinking.
Exercise 3
1. Coral reefs are increasingly under attack from various pollutants and the effects of global warming.
2. Understandably, all the fans were upset when the highly popular singer announced his retirement.
3. Surprisingly, more women enrolled on the engineering course than men.
4. The number of volunteers for working over the holiday was predictably small.
5. Although the college claims to have exceptional academic record, their pass rates are in factno better than average
6. The investigation was primarily concerned with how to improve the procedure, but this also involved asking questions about the purpose.

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