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I was wondering whether an adverbial prepositional phrase can come after the object without it modifying the verb/object in the sentence.

For example,

The storm pelted hail with great ferocity.

In the previous sentence, am I grammatically saying that the pelting hail was ferocious?

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    This question would really benefit from an example sentence. Some of us know good or bad grammar when we see it but are shaky on the nomenclature. – Max Williams Aug 17 '17 at 9:32
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    Yes, reason adjuncts functioning as supplements can, as in "He dropped it, with the result that it stopped working", where the with PP is a supplement. Supplements are not modifiers but loosely attached items not integrated into the structure of the clause. – BillJ Aug 17 '17 at 9:49
  • The question needs improvement, it seems to me. The pelting was ferocious, the hail wasn't, so "the pelting hail," which is actually the noun is not modified, it is the verb that is. HTH. – Kris Dec 15 '17 at 12:45
  • I lately lost a preposition; It hid, I thought, beneath my chair And angrily I cried, "Perdition! Up from out of under there." Correctness is my vade mecum, And straggling phrases I abhor, And yet I wondered, "What should he come Up from out of under for?" -- Morris Bishop – Hot Licks Mar 15 '18 at 17:10
  • You're sayimg the pelting was ferocious. – Spencer May 14 '18 at 22:52
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This is possible with fixed expressions, though a comma is usually used before the adjunct. The adverbial qualifies the whole matrix sentence.

In the final analysis, our results need to improve or we will fail to attract the necessary number of students.

Our results need to improve or we will fail to attract the necessary number of students, in the final analysis.

  • Huh, Edwin Ashworth? – Kris Dec 15 '17 at 12:45
  • @Edwin So the answer to the OP's question is yes, but with a qualifier. The prepositional phrase can modify the main clause (instead of the noun it follows) but it must be preceded with a comma. Right? – Zan700 May 14 '18 at 20:24
  • 'He picked up the shield with a flourish' say would not usually be furnished with a comma. Though 'with a flourish' is ambiguous: either an adjectival post-modifier of 'shield', or an adverbial of manner. The example I chose uses the PP as a pragmatic marker, traditionally a 'sentence adverbial'; these are usually set off by commas. – Edwin Ashworth May 14 '18 at 22:30

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