How does an absolute phrase grammatical function in a sentence?

Does it act as noun, adjective or adverb?

Is the entire absolute phrase used as adverb?

  • It's none of those. Please see my answer.
    – BillJ
    Oct 8, 2022 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


Absolute clauses are adjuncts that function as supplements, loosely attached elements set off by intonation and (usually) by punctuation.

[His hands gripping the door], he shouted out for help.

In this example the bracketed supplement qualifies as an absolute construction because it has a subject, and is subordinate in form but has no syntactic link to the main clause ("He shouted out for help").

Thus, its category is non-finite clause and its function is adjunct.

Note that supplements are not modifiers; rather, they refer to a semantic 'anchor', in this case "he".

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