Unit 9.1

Circumstantial Complements



The complements of the verb [complementos del verbo] can be an attribute, direct complement (DC), indirect complement (IC) and circumstantial complements.

The circumstantial complement [complemento circunstancial] expresses or informs about some circumstance (of place, time, manner, quantity or degree, cause…) in which the action, process or state to which the verb refers takes place.


Circumstantial Complements (CC) have the following characteristics:

  • they can be formed by adverbs, adverbial, prepositional or nominal syntagms, or by a subordinate clause;
  • their position in the sentence is flexible: they can be at the beginning or the end of the sentence;
  • Two or more circumstantial complements can be used within a sentence.

Depending on their meaning, different types of CC can be distinguished. The most common are of:

  • place: can be expressed with prepositional and adverbial syntagms, but never nominal;
  • time: it can be described with adverbial, nominal and prepositional syntagms;
  • manner or mode: can be expressed with adjectival adverbs, adverbial phrases and prepositional phrases;
  • quantity or degree: can be said with adverbs of quantity or degree and adverbial phrases;
  • cause: can be expressed with causal adverbs, prepositional phrases…


CC Place:

  • Todo el mundo mira como los niños juegan a la pelota en el parque;


  • Me comí una lata de atún ayer;


  • La chica corrió muy deprisa hacia la botella de agua;

CGrade and CQuality:

  • El reloj que te compraste valía mucho y el mío que era malo solo fueron diez euros;


  • Rechacé la oferta por no ser lo suficientemente buena.


Circumstantial complements (CC) have the function of determining different circumstances about the place, time, etc., in which the action of the verb takes place. They have different uses, and the most common ones are de:

  • place (answers the question ¿Dónde?): adds information about the place where the verb action takes place;
  • time (¿Cuándo?): adds information about when the verb action takes place;
  • manner or mode (¿Cómo?, ¿De qué manera?, ¿De qué modo?): adds information about how the action is performed;
  • quantity or degree (¿Cuánto?): adds information about the quantity with which the action is performed;
  • cause (¿Por qué?): adds information about the cause of the verb action.


In Spanish, the circumstantial complement expresses or informs about some circumstance (of place, time, manner, quantity, cause …) in which the action, process or state to which the verb refers takes place.

For example:
— «¿Dónde robaron en la tienda?»= place where the rob takes place;
— «¿Cuándo robaron en la tienda?» = the time at which the rob occurs;
— «¿Cómo robaron en la tienda?»= add information about how the rob was carried out;
— «¿Cuánto dinero robaron de la tienda?»= reports the amount of money stolen;
—«¿Por qué robaron en esa tienda?»= the reason why the rob occured.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.


The exercises are not created yet. If you would like to get involve with their creation, be a contributor.


This book is available in:
Español (original) | français | Italiano | Polskie