In linguistics, an adjunct is an optional, or structurally dispensable, part of a sentence, clause, or phrase that, if removed or discarded, will not structurally affect the remainder of the sentence. Example: In the sentence John helped Bill in Central Park, the phrase in Central Park is an adjunct.
A more detailed definition of the adjunct emphasizes its attribute as a modifying form, word, or phrase that depends on another form, word, or phrase, being an element of clause structure with adverbial function. An adjunct is not an argument (nor is it a predicative expression), and an argument is not an adjunct. The argument–adjunct distinction is central in most theories of syntax and semantics. The terminology used to denote arguments and adjuncts can vary depending on the theory at hand. Some dependency grammars, for instance, employ the term circonstant (instead of adjunct), following Tesnière (1959).
The area of grammar that explores the nature of predicates, their arguments, and adjuncts is called valency theory. Predicates have valency; they determine the number and type of arguments that can or must appear in their environment. The valency of predicates is also investigated in terms of subcategorization.