I know that I can place the adjuncts at the end of a sentence.

For an example:

He talks about the topic without knowing much about it.

But now I've seen a sentence that was:

He talks, without knowing much about it, about the topic.

First of all, isn't that against the word order Subject-Verb-Object? Is that grammatical? And where is a good source about placing adjuncts in sentences? Googling it, I didn't find one.

  • The pronoun "it" has refers to "the topic", which in the second case follows the pronoun. That's at least unusual. I don't get your SVO question. The subject is "He", which is directly followed by the verb "talks". Clearly that makes it SVO, not VSO.
    – MSalters
    Aug 23, 2022 at 13:14
  • In the second sentence there should be no comma after "talks" Aug 23, 2022 at 13:17
  • @LukeSawczak: I'm pretty sure there has to be, else the pronoun "it" becomes ungrammatical. As I pointed out in my first comment, "it" refers to "the topic". In your example, the sentence would end '... about it, about the topic". That would be a transcription of a speaker correcting himself, noticing that used pronoun "it" wasn't introduced yet. To fix that error, the speaker rewords the end of the sentence.
    – MSalters
    Aug 23, 2022 at 13:26
  • @MSalters Ah, I misparsed the sentence. You're right: with the comma, we delay the object. This is plausible but stumped me enough that I instead parsed it as a regular sentence plus a clarification, as you noted. Aug 23, 2022 at 13:35

1 Answer 1


You may place an adjunct that acts as an adverb between verb and complement or between subject and verb

They accepted, without validation, his assertions

They, without validation, accepted his assertions

are both grammatical. They both strike me as relatively awkward. The unusual placement might be used for emphasis, but I personally would prefer

Without any serious attempt at validation, they simply accepted his assertions

as providing emphasis because subject, verb, object is, as you say, the standard word order. And of course, you can put the adjunct at the end.

Your first example is quite awkward with the two “about”s.


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