If I have the following sentence:

"In mid-August, Gignac flew with Soffer on his private jet to Aspen to discuss the hotel purchase."

Focusing in on the "In mid-August," part in terms of its form, would that be better classified as an adverb phrase due to its being an element of time or a prepositional phrase due to its being introducted by the preposition "In" ?

  • 1
    In mid-August is a prepositional phrase functioning adverbially to modify the verb flew (flew when? flew in mid-August). Nov 10, 2021 at 0:29

1 Answer 1


This phrase is both prepositional and adverbial. Some prepositional phrases are adverbial. Such as "In the morning" or "In the middle of the night."

  • Right. Prepositional is part of its form -- it starts with a preposition. Adverbial is part of its function -- it works as a temporal adverb in the sentence. Form and function are not mutually exclusive. Nov 10, 2021 at 0:55
  • When I hear "adverbial" I think function, for form I go with "adverb phrase". In this light I think in terms of form, prepositional makes the most sense. This website then mixes adverb phrase and adverbial together and gives "in the springtime" as an example, so that is all kinds of confusing: completeenglishgrammar.com/…
    – Haven Hash
    Nov 10, 2021 at 1:15
  • I very much prefer the term 'adjunct' to 'adverbial'. I think it is very unsatisfactory to have a function term that is morphologically derived from a category term. Adverb is a word category, and adverb phrase (a phrase headed by an adverb) the corresponding phrase category. Adverbial is a function and may be realised by an AdvP (He spoke quickly), a PP (He spoke with enthusiasm), an NP (He’s speaking this evening). AdvPs do not always function as adjuncts: they may function as modifier in AdjPs (It was quite amazingly expensive), etc.
    – BillJ
    Nov 10, 2021 at 7:30
  • ... cont Adverbial phrase is quite often used for any phrase functioning as adverbial and hence likely to be confused with adverb phrase.
    – BillJ
    Nov 10, 2021 at 7:31

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