Beyond a doubt this man is honest.

"Beyond a doubt" seems to be a phrase here and I believe it's a noun phrase, but I'm told it's not. Its a adverb phrase how?

What is it?

  • 2
    Where did the quote come from? Who told you it’s not a noun phrase? Why do you think it is? Your question could be greatly improved if you did an edit and furnished those details.
    – J.R.
    Jul 29 '17 at 12:03

In classical parlance, it's a sentence adverbial. It gives the speaker's (here immovable) opinion about the truth of the statement in the (following) matrix sentence. I'd call it a pragmatic marker subclass modality (the word 'modal' here means 'addressing the speaker's view of the truth value of the attached proposition'). Compare 'Allegedly', 'Clearly', 'Arguably', 'Possibly' ....

  • since i am a beginner and English is a foreign language to me, what you mean here is, it modifies the meaning of adjective "honest" so its adverb or if you mean something else please dilute you sentence.
    – srbh
    Jul 30 '17 at 3:33
  • Consider the two-sentence extremely close paraphrase: 'The man is honest. There is no doubt about that.' This shows that 'Beyond a doubt,' is just a way of tacking on a comment from the speaker about how correct they believe the information in their matrix question to be (or how much they'd like the hearer to believe it's true!) So these modal additions refer to the (alleged truthfulness) of the statement in the matrix sentence. It's pointless saying they're an adverb or whatever – they're adjuncts. Jul 30 '17 at 7:54
  • By adjuncts you mean " adjective conjunction". If it is then it neither conjuncts the senescence nor adds any meaning to the subject man. What i am told is "beyond a doubt" is an adverb phrase but i can't figure out how?
    – srbh
    Jul 30 '17 at 8:17
  • No. By adjunct I mean the broadest definition given by Collins '3c. part of a sentence that may be omitted without making the sentence ungrammatical'. CGEL deals comprehensively with these strings. / Some would call both variants 'Doubtlessly' / 'Beyond a doubt' in 'X[,] this man is honest' a 'sentence adverbial' as it contextualises the whole matrix sentence (as the two-sentence variant shows). There's a traditional dustbin class for words that don't fit in any of the other well-recognised categories: they're all called 'adverbs'; phrases ... Jul 30 '17 at 13:45
  • doing the same jobs are grouped with these as 'adverbials' by the traditionalists. I prefer the grammars that treat 'sentence adverbials' as not really classifiable within the matrix sentence. Jul 30 '17 at 13:47

"Beyond a doubt" acts as adverb in that it modifies the adjective "honest."

The sentence means

"The man is certainly honest"

where an adverb replaces the phrase.

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