Definition: A disjunct is a type of adverbial that expresses information that is not considered essential to the sentence it appears in, but which is considered to be the speaker's or writer's attitude towards, or descriptive statement of, the propositional content of the sentence.

For example:

  • Fortunately, we managed to get there on time.
    * "Fortunately" shows us that the speaker was pleased about the result of the action.

More generally, the term disjunct can be used to refer to any sentence element that is not fully integrated into the clausal structure of the sentence. Such elements usually appear peripherally (at the beginning or end of the sentence) and are set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma (in writing) and a pause (in speech).

Disjuncts are evaluative
They express the speaker's:
Judgement of the truth of the utterance (modal disjuncts)
For example:

  • probably, certainly, maybe
The speaker's evaluation of a fact (fact-evaluating disjuncts)
For example:
  • fortunately, actually, to my surprise
The speaker's comment on his/her own wording of the sentence
For example:
  • briefly, in other words, to tell you the truth
Or the speakerís comment on the subject referent (subject-evaluating disjuncts) For example:
  • Wisely, she spent the money
    * She was wise to spend the money'


  • Honestly, I couldn't believe it.
  • Unfortunately, Kim has had to leave us.
  • Honestly, I didn't do it.
  • Fortunately for you, I have it right here.
  • In my opinion, the green one is better.
  • Frankly, Martha, I don't give a hoot.

© 2007-2021 - All Rights Reserved