© 2017 Steve Campsall
Nouns are always modified by an adjective or adjective like word; but other words can be modified grammatically, even whole sentences
This is done by using adverbs and adverbial phrases.
These give detail usually regarding time, place, manner or cause, i.e. when , where and how the action occured.
The drunken young man slipped awkwardly into a ditch although he seemed unhurt.
How (i.e. in what manner...) did the man slip?
He slipped... awkwardly into a ditch.
A word that adds extra information or detail to the action told by the verb is called an adverb and, not surprisingly, if it is a phrase, it is called an adverbial phrase.
Remember, the group of words that includes the finite verb chain + adverbial phrase slipped awkwardly into a ditch is often labelled as the verb phrase.
Notice that the sentence above contains two adverbials - the adverb, awkwardly which tells about the manner of the action and the prepositional phrase, into a ditch which tells about the place of the action.
It's true that labelling the whole unit as a single verb phrase makes learning rather easier! This is why grammarians invented the term verb chain.