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In a web-site, I happen upon a sentence I can’t understand grammatically.

Famished from the journey, John decided to hunker down with his horse.

They mark that a front part is an adjective phrase.

I think this phrase can be changed into the following

Because John was famished from the journey, John decided to hunker down.

So I think the front part (Famished from the journey) is an adverbial phrase. Is it wrong?

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  • You're confusing form and function. "Famished" is an adjective and "famished from the journey" is its phrasal equivalent (i.e. an adjective phrase). Its function in the sentence is adjunct (your 'adverbial').
    – BillJ
    Sep 7 at 6:45
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An adjective phrase is a group of words headed by an adjective that describes a noun or a pronoun. G-Monster

this would be an adjective phrase

"starved from the journey"

A phrase is a group of words that stand together as a single grammatical unit, typically as part of a clause or a sentence. A phrase does not contain a subject and verb and, consequently, cannot convey a complete thought

The subject of a sentence is the person or thing doing the action or being described.

Because John is famished from the journey, John decided to hunker down. is a sentence.

But John was famished from the journey

is not a phrase as it contains a subject.

Also your sentence is not a correct one as we repeat John and we do not need to.

John, famished from the journey, decided to hunker down.*

A sentence is a set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate, conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command, and consisting of a main clause and sometimes one or more subordinate clauses. G-Monster

Note

famished from the journey

would still be an adjective phrase, contained in the sentence however we place it within that sentence.


Dogs covered in mud are not allowed upstairs.

covered in mud is the Adjective Phrase

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  • It highlights the need to distinguish word/phrase category and function. "Famished from the journey" is clearly an adjective phrase but, importantly, its function in the sentence is that of 'adverbial' (aka adjunct). 'Adverbial' is a function that may be realised by an AdvP ("He spoke quickly"), a PP ("He spoke with enthusiasm"), an NP ("He’s speaking this evening"). And in the OP's example, it's realised by an AdjP.
    – BillJ
    Sep 7 at 7:03
  • @BillJ I am not so sure of the poster's level of English but I think we need to easy him into the correct construction.
    – Brad
    Sep 7 at 7:24
  • Do you think the OP is confused about what a phrase is?
    – gotube
    Sep 8 at 17:20
  • @gotube Yes. Quote, I think this phrase can be changed into the following... Because John was famished from the journey, John decided to hunker down.
    – Brad
    Sep 9 at 2:49
  • @gotbube by the way, what abbreviation is the OP? let me know
    – bak1936
    Sep 23 at 11:01
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Your sentence is not a close enough paraphrase of the first.

In the original sentence, there is no meaning of "because". It's certainly implied that he stopped travelling because he was hungry, but it's not explicit. John is merely described as "famished", and the reader is led to infer that's his reason for stopping.

So a better paraphrase would be:

John was famished from the journey, and he decided to hunker down.

Here, it's still only implied that John stopped because he was hungry, and "famished from the journey" is clearly an adjective phrase.

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