A surplus participant in relation to an event (or state/situation).

An Ancillary participant accompanies another participant in the context of the event. The Ancillary’s participation is presented as similar to/in accordance with—but of secondary importance to—that of the other participant.

Sometimes called comitative.

Prototypical prepositions are with, without, along_with, together_with, and together:

A participant may be considered surplus/secondary for just the function or also at the scene level. Ancillary is the function for adpositions like with that signal asymmetric togetherness or co-participation. More specific spatial and configurational (possession, part-whole, membership, etc.) relations take precedence at the scene level:

Some predicates have a role of primary semantic importance expressed via a with-PP.1 In such cases, Ancillary should be the function only. However, for many predicates it may be difficult to decide whether Ancillary should also be the scene role. As a diagnostic, we test whether together_with can be used—if not, there is another role of primary importance to the scene.2

Pure Ancillary (scene and function)#

These license together-insertion:

  • I am admiring the paintings (together) with my friend
    [we probably infer that “friend” is paired with “I”, and thus also admiring or at least viewing the paintings, but this requires pragmatics]

  • I am admiring the paintings (together) with the statues (= I am admiring the paintings, and the statues as well)
    [we infer that “statues” is paired with “paintings”, and thus also being admired, but this requires pragmatics]

  • (Together) with the president, the prime minister signed the declaration
    [explicit: president is together with somebody in the context of signing; inferred: president is together with the prime minister, and they probably both signed]

  • I was traveling (together) with my friend/infant 015

  • my travels (together) with my friend 016

  • I fought (together) with her to cure cancer. (= we fought on the same side) 017

Ancillary function only, predicate-licensed scene role#

These resist together-insertion:

See further examples at Theme.

Item in one’s possession#

If the object denotes an item that the governor has on hand in their possession, then the construal PossessionAncillary is used:

Xi bring/take/... Y with PRONi#

This construction involves a with-PP that is coreferent with the subject. The most basic meanings of these argument structures bundle motion, possession, location, and accompaniment. In such cases, the with is analyzed as LocusAncillary:3

  • I brought my backpack/friend with me. (LocusAncillary)
    [emphasizes that the backpack/friend is located with the speaker]

    • I brought my backpack/friend.

When the verb in this construction bears an extended meaning of stative or abstract accompaniment, with may be more appropriately analyzed as EnsembleAncillary:


The word together, when not followed by with, can denote reciprocal accompaniment and is analyzed like with each other:

Versus Ensemble#

Ancillary descibes a relation of an entity to an event/situation, whereas Ensemble is used for a relation directly between entities.

See also: Instrument, Manner

  1. These can be called semantically core roles, though making a core/non-core distinction is in general problematic. 

  2. For the preposition without, the test is whether together_with expresses its negation. 

  3. Bring and similar verbs (take, carry, etc.) specify motion-with-possession in their most literal sense (e.g., bringing a backpack). If applying supersenses also to subjects and objects (Shalev et al., 2019; see also Originator fn. 1, Recipient fn. 1) we would use Possession/Possessor as the scene roles of the subject/object respectively. But if the object is volitional (e.g., bringing a friend), the possession is bleached away, so just Agent/Theme would apply to the subject/object. In either case, the with-PP emphasizes that the other entity is located with the bringer, so it receives LocusAncillary

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Supercategory: Configuration