Consider this sentence:

And that is why so many of the richest people in the world were often people who made the most mistakes. J. Paul Getty was known for drilling many dry holes in his quest for oil. He was famous for dry holes. But what made him rich was that he finally drilled one that hit one of the bigggest oil fields in the world. The same is true for Thomas Edison, the man who reportedly failed 10,000 times before inventing the electric light. The reason I say most people are losers is simply because they live their lives unable to afford even one little failure. To be successful, you must be both a banker and a gamblert so you can afford to lose, because every gamler knows that losing is part of winning.

(from Rich Dad's Guide to Becoming Rich… Without Cutting Up Your Credit Cards (2000) by Robert T. Kiyosaki and ‎Sharon L. Lechter)

It seems that this is a appositive clause in which the word that was omitted. What I'm curious about is the phrase unable to afford even one little failure here. I am not sure if the phrase here is a adverbial modifier which modifies because they live their lives. I have Googled it, but was not able to find the answer.

  • It's equivalent to "'The reason (that) I say most people are losers is simply because they live their lives (in a condition in which they are) unable to afford even one little failure." – Max Williams Aug 2 '16 at 11:23
  • The "unable ..." clause modifies "live". The "because they live..." clause is the object of "is", where the subject is "reason". – Hot Licks Aug 2 '16 at 12:22

This is a reply to your actual question, which you followed by a question mark.

Yes, I do believe that the function of that phrase in that sentence is an adverbial modifier. That is to say, it modifies the verb "live," it tells how "they live" their lives.

  • It's very kind of you – Henry Wang Aug 3 '16 at 1:26

I do not believe this is a case of an appositive clause. In the context of the sentence, "unable to afford even one little failure" is just another way of saying "no room for error" or "no margin for error." The speaker is saying that he/she believes most people are losers because their lives are not robust enough to withstand any failure/error/problem.

  • don't you think 'the reason .....' here is an appositive clause? – Henry Wang Aug 3 '16 at 1:26

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