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Complements and adjuncts

 
 
A sentence consists of a predicate and one or more other constituents. The constituents can be governed by the valency of the verb that functions as the predicate of the sentence. These are the complements. A sentence can also contain constituents that are independent of the predicate. These are the adjuncts.

The description of the sentence structures does not include adjuncts.

Obligatory and optional complements 
Adjuncts


Obligatory and optional complements

The valency of a verb determines the constituents the verb can or must combine with to form a sentence. See Valency of the verb. The constituents of a sentence that, in this way, are governed by the verb are called complements.

Complements can be obligatory or optional. Obligatory complements cannot be omitted. Optional complements can be omitted in certain contexts:

obligatory:  Der Seeräuber vergräbt den Schatz not: Der Seeräuber vergräbt.
Sie wohnt in München. not: Sie wohnt.
Der Patient sieht blass aus. not: Der Patient sieht aus.
 
optional: Ich esse einen Apfel. Ich esse.
Er erzählt dem Kind eine Geschichte.    Er erzählt eine Geschichte.
Sie fährt nach Regensburg. Sie fährt.


Adjuncts

Adjuncts are constituents of a sentence that are not governed by the verb (the predicate). Adjuncts can always be omitted. Unlike complements, they can occur in many different contexts with many different verbs.

The description of the sentence structures does not include adjuncts because, in principle, they can occur in any type of sentence structure.

Adverbial adjuncts

Most adjuncts are adverbial adjuncts. They express time, place, manner, cause, etc. See Adverbial, Meaning.

Sie wohnt schon seit langer Zeit in München.
Der Seeräuber vergräbt den Schatz
auf einer unbewohnten Insel.
Der Patient sieht
wegen eines Rückfalls sehr blass aus.
Ich esse
schnell einen Apfel.
Sie klettert
wahrscheinlich wieder einmal auf einen Hügel.

See also Adverbial adjuncts and adverbial complements.

Free dative

Free datives (more precisely: dativus commodi/incommodi, dativus ethicus) are also adjuncts:

Der Portier trägt dem Gast den Koffer zum Taxi.
Er hat
seiner Mutter die teure Vase zerbrochen.
Komm
mir nicht zu spät!







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