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"He writes the word on the board."

If adverbials are simply about the verb, then “on the board” in “He writes the word on the board” can be explained as either an adverbial or an complement, for on the board simply describes writing.

But evidently, “on the board’ is a complement, not an adverbial. In my understanding, adverbials are more inclined to the subject and meanwhile very related to the verb. So “on the board” cannot be an adverbial, for if it is, it will mean the man is standing on the board.

However in most grammar books, adverbials are described as merely “modifying or defining the sentence or the verb”, no subject here. I mean can “modifying the verb” be understood as adverbials are inclined to the subject or not?

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    "How the object is acting the verb" doesn't make any sense to me. I don't actually know what you're asking. On the board is a prepositional phrase; it has nothing to do with an adverb. In he writes sloppily, sloppily is an adverb that modifies the writing. There is no adverb in your example sentence. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 17 '19 at 2:01
  • @JasonBassford Some frameworks use the term "adverbial" in the same sense as "adjunct". A PP and an AdvP, therefore, can both function as adverbial. Inorganic_Salt, please explain what you mean by "acting the verb". – user178049 Jul 17 '19 at 3:05
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    Also note that the example sentence does not mean he is standing on a board. To express that, you would need to say he writes the word while standing on the board. In fact, while standing on the board could be considered an adverbial phrase. But not just on the board in the example sentence (which mentions nothing about standing in the first place). – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 17 '19 at 3:22
  • Sure, if we separate the two as follows, "A complement is a necessary element, whereas an adverbial is an optional element," then this is definitely a complement. Is there some reason why this is important to you? – Andrew Jul 17 '19 at 19:16
  • Sorry I mistook”object” for “subject, I actually mean “subject. I edited my Q so it’s easier to understand. It’s so kind of you to spend time on my question. @JasonBassford I know the sentence is usually understood as "the word is on the board',(also we can avoid ambiguity easily even if ambiguity occurs) but I wanna know can “modifying the verb” be understood as adverbials are inclined to the subject or not? Thanks so much – Inorganic_Salt Jul 18 '19 at 5:04

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