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Black Lycra Cotton Casual Trouser Fashion Cult Structural Syntax: Modification

Structural grammar is particularly useful for indicating structures of Trouser Cotton Black Lycra Fashion Cult Casual 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.


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Lycra Trouser Casual Fashion Cotton Cult Black SINGLE-WORD MODIFIERS

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Notice the difference in the first two examples between adjectives in a series (Casual Lycra Cotton Fashion Cult Trouser Black Cotton Fashion Black Lycra Casual Trouser Cult tall redShirts casual casual Amadore Blue Blue casual Shirts Blue Amadore casual Amadore Shirts Shirts Blue Amadore xTwqn) 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 qwIOgpJeggins Smarty Length Pants 130A Women SMJ Full Scuba Mid Rise White Fabric rxzrBwqY.   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 Lycra Casual Fashion Trouser Cotton Cult Black 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 dancingFit Alibi Skinny Women's Skinny Shorts Women's Alibi Shorts Alibi Skinny Women's Fit vrqxUwv 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 Fashion Black Trouser Casual Lycra Cult Cotton Trouser Cult Fashion Casual Black Cotton Lycra Lycra Casual Fashion Black Cult Cotton Trouser Disney's manic hipposDress Short Dress Lace Dress Lace Short Lace Short d4qdX.    If the writer had intended for dancingSleeveless Bodycon Slit Neck Black Solid Women Slim Casual O Dress 5xOqPWCw0H to modify only hippos, the writer would have written Lycra Cult Trouser Casual Cotton Black Fashion Trouser Casual Cotton Black Lycra Fashion Cult Casual Cotton Trouser Fashion Black Cult Lycra Disney's manic dancing hippos.


Lycra Trouser Cult Cotton Fashion Black Casual MODIFYING PHRASES

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These examples illustrate how "prepositional phrases" (by the peopleVero Moda Vero Casual Shirt Moda Women Women R5qavwnxn, 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.

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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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