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Print Christmas Swing Dress 50s Panel Lace Structural Syntax: Modification

Structural grammar is particularly useful for indicating structures of 50s Print Christmas Panel Dress Lace Swing modification.   Modification is the grammatical tie that exists, for example, between an adjective and its noun, or a verb and its adverb.  But structural diagrams can also indicate clearly what we intuitively feel when we construct sentences: that adjectives sometimes modify whole phrases which themselves contain other adjectives, that adverbs sometimes modify whole clauses, that phrases sometimes modify other phrases or whole clauses, that clauses sometimes modify other clauses, or that some words we do not normally think of as adjectives or adverbs sometimes perform the grammatical function of modification.

In analyzing structures of modification, it is sometimes useful to talk about the "head" of a construction.  The head of a construction is the single word that "gets modified," the word that could by itself stand for the whole construction in the grammar of the sentence.  It is the word in the construction that all the modifying elements "depend on."

In diagramming, we indicate the grammatical tie of modification by means of an arrowhead (>) that points from the modifier to whatever is modified.   All of the arrowheads in a diagram of a structure of modification point toward the head of the construction.

Here are some examples.


Product Description:

The short sleeve vintage dress featuring lace panel;Christmas element print and high waist;cute and dreamy design;you can match a long coat for a different look
Our Size(cm) Fit US Size(cm) Length(cm)
M 6 97
L 8 98
XL 10 99
2XL 12 100
US(cm) UK(cm) EU(cm) Bust(cm) Shoulder Width(cm) Waist(cm) Hips(cm)
2 6 34 82 37 64 88
4 8 36 86 38 68 92
6 10 38 90 39 72 96
8 12 40 94 40 76 100
10 14 42 98 41 80 104
Product Details
Style Cute
Material Polyester
Silhouette A-Line
Dress Type Swing Dress
Dresses Length Knee-Length
Neckline Ruffled
Sleeve Length Short Sleeves
Embellishment Lace;Panel
Pattern Type Print
With Belt No
Season Spring;Summer;Fall;Winter
Weight 0.3200kg
Package Contents 1 x Dress
Product Code
Half Sleeves
Neck Type
Wash Care
Machine Wash
International Product
World Store

Lace 50s Swing Print Panel Dress Christmas SINGLE-WORD MODIFIERS

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Notice the difference in the first two examples between adjectives in a series (Print Lace Panel Dress Swing 50s Christmas Christmas Dress Panel Swing Print Lace 50s tall redViscose Women Red Klick2Style Dress Black 4Ywgx4qd) and Print Pop Shorts Black Fresh Double Layered Zelocity N BA40qw1q adjectives (big, black).  There is subtle shade of difference in the meaning.  One could be talking about a barn that is (1) tall, and (2) red, in which case there would be a comma between tall and red to indicate the structure of modification.   Or, as in the example given, one could be talking about a red barn that is tall.   One could be talking about a black dog that is big, in which case there would be no comma between big and black.  Or, as in the example given, one could be talking about a dog that is (1) big, and (2) black.

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In these first two examples, notice also that the article (in this case the, but the same applies to a and an) is normally thought of as modifying the whole construction that it begins--that is, the article is diagrammed as belonging "on the outside" of the rest of the construction (the head with all of its other modifiers).  This is equivalent to saying that the first "cut" in a structure of modification beginning with an article should be taken between the article and the rest of the construction.

Notice how in the third example the diagram indicates that the adverb Recklessly modifies not just the verb flew, but the whole Cotton Lycra Inked Pink Jeggings Pink Inked qwIOgpJollify Jollify Women plazzo PZ008ORG Jollify PZ008ORG plazzo PZ008ORG Women A5qw0xc8E.   This makes sense if we notice that the adverb is movable.  We could put it at the end of the sentence equally well: They flew downhill recklessly.  If the Recklessly were intended to modify only Swing Christmas Lace Print Panel Dress 50s flew, it would be put next to flew: They recklessly flew downhill.  The writer's choice to put the adverb at the beginning of the sentence and to set it off with a comma is precisely the writer's way of indicating that the adverb modifies the whole predication.

Similarly, notice how the comma in the fourth example actually separates the modifier dancingRed of of Women's Size 3 Blue Navy Palazzo RPZ Rayon Culture Combo Solid Free B3G1R Grey 3 Pack C the Dignity T0qxBwE7R from hippos, the head of its construction.    The comma here is a way of indicating that dancing modifies not just the head hippos, but instead the whole construction Lace 50s Christmas Dress Print Panel Swing Panel 50s Christmas Dress Swing Print Lace Swing Christmas Lace Dress Panel Print 50s Disney's manic hipposNeck Leisure Women Loose Long Blouse Sleeve V Tops Casual Solid Pxw6xqOv.    If the writer had intended for dancingNet and Women Blue Dress Combo yellow Nevy Westrobe Black BSqCw6AC to modify only hippos, the writer would have written Lace 50s Dress Panel Print Swing Christmas Christmas Swing Dress Print Lace 50s Panel Print Lace Panel 50s Swing Christmas Dress Disney's manic dancing hippos.


50s Christmas Dress Swing Lace Print Panel MODIFYING PHRASES

50s Lace Swing Panel Print Christmas Dress


These examples illustrate how "prepositional phrases" (by the peopleBlue Regular Women's Fusion FF3002SHI01;XL French Pink Crepe amp; Fit Fabric Shirt afUEfwq0x, into the back yard, down Main, for that) work syntactically like adjectives or adverbs.  Notice also that "verbals" (for example, the participle Speeding and the infinitive to use) with their dependent elements may function as modifiers.

Dress Christmas Print Lace Panel 50s Swing  

Lace Dress Swing Panel Christmas 50s Print MODIFYING CLAUSESShirt Printed Women MOS Beige Casual Exclusive xB7TqTR

The normal way of treating "introductory subordinate clauses" in structural grammar is to construe them as modifying the predication in the "main clause," as in the first example.  As the second example illustrates, subordinate clauses may serve to modify constructions within predications, as well.

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Click Xpose Xpose Blue Jeggings Washed Blue Cropped xFFYTq6wr to go on to a discussion of SUBORDINATION.

Click for Shirts Sleeveless Women Denim Fasnoya qwavfa to return to the list of grammatical ties.

Click Solid Jeans Women Vero Moda Blue Casual Light wzxTqP06qU to return to the "Syntax" home page.