Recently I saw a sentence about protest from kuer

The original sentence is as follows:

This week, the protesters in Sao Paulo were allowed to walk unimpeded and there were no police on the streets.

Based on my knowledge and the Grammar rules, "unimpeded" is an adjective. An adjective is mostly used to modify nouns and it can also follows linking verbs(Appear, be, become, feel, get, go, grow, look, prove, remain, seem, smell, sound, stay, taste, turn.).

"walk" here is obviously neither a linking verb nor a noun. Indeed, it acts as a simple verb in my example sentence. 

Therefore, you can only use an adverb to modify the verb "walk", not an adjective "unimpeded". Adjectives cannot be used to modify verbs.

I have done a couple of searches on google. I do see some native English speakers write "walk unimpeded". I am wondering what's wrong with them. Did I miss something ?

  • 1
    "Unimpededly" is a very rare word. It's really not used in modern English. Here is what the OED says "The earliest known use of the adverb unimpededly is in the 1840s. OED's only evidence for unimpededly is from 1846, in the writing of Edgar Allan Poe, fiction writer, poet, and critic."
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 11:48
  • 1
    Google ngrams shows a few other examples, but most are from pretty obscure old translations of Plato, and some religious texts about Hinduism.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 12:03

1 Answer 1


These adjective complements are asked about from time to time. They are adjectives, and describe the subject, not adverb to modify the verb. So in "The protestors were allowed to walk unimpeded" It means the protestors were unimpeded, and so they were allowed to walk. The word "unimpeded" describes the protestors, not the manner in which they walked.

  • Thanks for you detailed explanation. I see what you mean. Due to my ignorance, I never see any grammar books demonstrating this type of sentence structure (subject+verb+object+adjective) just like the example you gave me. Based on my limited knowledge, the structures like "She is extremely beautiful", "She is beautiful" and "She looks beautiful" are widely and commonly taught. Therefore, When I saw that structure for the first time, I am so amazed and surprised. For this specific usage of an adjective, is there a formal terminology in grammar ? I will check it . Thank you very much.
    – baktbd
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 7:36
  • The sense is "They were allowed to walk without being impeded". Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 7:59
  • Thanks Kate Bunting
    – baktbd
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 13:30

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