In the morning, he drove to work.

Now he knew what to do.

Having read about supplements and modifiers (two types of adjunct), I have started to become confused. Supplements are considered to be non-essential, and the easiest way to identify them is to acknowledge their association with commas. However, none of the examples provided have addressed fronted adverbs and prepositional phrases, such as the ones above. They are always obvious supplements: sentence adverbials, non-restrictive participle clauses, non-restrictive appositives, absolute constructions, etc.

'Now' and 'In the morning' can be placed in different positions, and because of their shortness (the two examples being no more than three words), the commas are optional. I would say that they modify 'drove' and 'knew', respectively. This being the case, are they modifiers with and without commas?

  • 2
    The comma is not a foolproof test for supplementation. "In the morning" and "now" are temporal adjuncts in clause structure.
    – BillJ
    Feb 13, 2022 at 7:55
  • Thanks, Bill. Please could you write this as an answer, and I'll accept it.
    – MJ Ada
    Feb 13, 2022 at 13:44
  • 2
  • @EdwinAshworth They are useful, thanks. However, my question is primarily focused on identifying supplements. These examples were intended to clarify whether commas are an inarguable indicator of an adjunct being supplementary. As BillJ clarified, they are not.
    – MJ Ada
    Feb 13, 2022 at 20:05
  • 1
    Commas, being part of printed material, are not indicators of anything in English grammar. Feb 14, 2022 at 2:22


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