Extra Practice – ENGL 4300

An adverbial is a word or construction that modifies, or describes, verbs.

            E.G.- The registrar put my name on the waiting list.

                                              direct object           adverbial


E.G.- Jim set the vase of flowers here.

                                      direct object           adverbial

Compare the following sentences:

In the first, soon is an adverb (as distinct from a noun or verb), and it is an adverbial (as distinct from a subject or object). In the second example, in an hour functions like an adverb (answering “when?”), even though it does not contain an adverb; therefore, a preposition and a noun (preceded by its article) can function together as an adverbial.


Adverbial Objective

Ř  Many English nouns and noun phrases can be used as adverbs. They are called “adverbial objectives.” From the standpoint of word order, an adverbial objective is placed as if it were an objective of a verb, but actually it works as an adverbial modifier of the verb.

Ř  The adverbial objective implies its function (an adverbial) and its form (“object” means noun); therefore, in diagramming, the adverbial objective necessitates what looks like a prepositional phrase structure. In many cases, remember, you can insert a preposition and the sentence will make perfect sense (Vitto, G.B.D., 85).

Time/Duration: answers “when?”
1. I did see him this morning.

2. I’d like to start next Wednesday.  [I’d like to start (on) Wednesday.]

3. I’d like to start the job the day after tomorrow.

3. The parcel arrived last week.
4. They walked two hours. [They walked (for) two hours.]


Some other examples of noun phrases of this use:
every day, next week, next Monday, the day after tomorrow, one of these days, one day, any day in this week, etc.

1. Let’s go some place.
2. He lives next door.
3. She’ll come home soon.
4. We drove northeast.