What type of adjunct is the prepositional phrase 'at all costs' (as in the below sentence)?

Orders were given that the fugitive should at all costs be slain.

I am inclined to regard this adjunct as being a conditional one, since it appears to connote a sense of urgency: if the fugitive is not slain, then there will be dire consequences. At the same time, it would not to my mind seem implausible to gloss 'at all costs ' as being a manner adjunct, with the slaying of the fugitive (understood as a future event) being carried out desperately, the slayer doing all that is needed to perpetrate the act (even if that puts them in peril).


1 Answer 1


This is an exhaustive conditional adjunct.

The meaning is similar to whatever the cost may be.

It does not actually say anything about the manner in which the fugitive is slain - slowly or quickly, painfully or painlessly, etc. - only making clear that the slaying must take place no matter the price paid to make it happen.

If we use the adjunct as a response to a question, it seems the only way to interpret it is as a conditional adjunct.

Should the fugitive be slain?

Yes, at all costs.

In what manner should the fugitive be slain?

?At all costs.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.