he would go alone to the quarry, collect a load of broken stone and drag it down to the site of the windmill unassisted. (source: Orwell, George. Animal Farm (p. 43). Sanage Publishing House.)

I just can't understand why the word "unassisted" is used. In my opinion, there should be an adverb instead of an adjective to modify the verb 'drag'. So I search the dictionary, and I find another case.

He has made a good recovery and is now able to walk unassisted.

Finally, I think it's something about the linking verb. I'm not quite sure.

  • Unassisted just means "without anyone else's help", as opposed to assisted by [someone]. Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 8:25

1 Answer 1


The word "unassisted" in both of your examples seems to be analogous to the word "young" as discussed in this question on Linguistics Stackexchange:

Linguistics Stackexchange "predicative adjuncts..."

"The adjectives in question do indeed behave in a unique way. They are dependents of the verb, but they are predications over the subject (or object), e.g
He died young.
The adjective young is a direct dependent of the verb died, but it is a predication over the subject he, i.e. it assigns the property of youngness to he. In other words, young is behaving like an adverb/adjunct syntactically because it is a direct dependent of the lexical verb died, but it is definitely an adjective insofar as it looks like an adjective and is assigning a property to a (pro)noun."

[some italics added to quote]

It looks as if it isn't exactly either an adjective or an adverb. You could say that it modifies all of the rest of the sentence.

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