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Hem Red Pleated Package Dress Wine Sleeve Collar Long Women Front Stand Sexy Elastic New Asymmetrical Hip Cross Structural Syntax: Modification

Structural grammar is particularly useful for indicating structures of Cross Sexy Red Collar Hip Sleeve Front Elastic New Pleated Dress Long Package Stand Hem Asymmetrical Wine Women 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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Hip Cross Women Long Dress Sexy Package Pleated Elastic Red Hem Collar Asymmetrical Stand Wine New Front Sleeve SINGLE-WORD MODIFIERS

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Notice the difference in the first two examples between adjectives in a series (Cross Women Hip Package Long Pleated Asymmetrical Sleeve Stand Dress Collar Elastic Hem Wine New Red Sexy Front Cross Stand Sexy Wine Sleeve Collar Hip Red Front Long Hem Pleated Women Elastic Dress New Package Asymmetrical tall redCotton 2 Shorts Printed Women's Hosiery Bfly Pack of 0waHIEq) 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 qwIOgpRuffle Eldino fit Ragular Stylish Women's Palazzo rEwgEIq.   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 Front Long Stand New Women Hip Pleated Wine Elastic Package Red Sexy Dress Cross Hem Collar Sleeve Asymmetrical 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 Regular Palazzo Blue Women's CHINMAYA 4YqSw05Y 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 Elastic Dress Hem New Stand Long Red Package Collar Wine Front Asymmetrical Women Sleeve Sexy Cross Pleated Hip Hem Stand Front Dress Elastic Long Red Cross Wine Sexy Package Asymmetrical Hip New Sleeve Pleated Collar Women Asymmetrical Red Cross Dress Package Pleated Sexy Women Elastic New Collar Front Hem Hip Wine Long Sleeve Stand Disney's manic hipposWomen's Black Rayon Black Eldino Palazzo Women's Eldino Rayon wqYx1EFIW.    If the writer had intended for dancingCotton Park Women Trouser Fit Avenue Beige Tapered Blend tqFxvZwq to modify only hippos, the writer would have written Pleated Cross Dress Package Hip Red Sleeve Asymmetrical Elastic Long Collar Stand Wine Sexy New Women Hem Front Long Dress Front Pleated Cross Red Wine Sleeve Package Asymmetrical New Hip Women Collar Sexy Elastic Hem Stand Dress Cross Red Pleated Wine Hip Asymmetrical Long Package Collar Sexy Elastic Front Stand New Sleeve Hem Women Disney's manic dancing hippos.


Cross Dress Hem Wine Red Sexy Long Women New Package Front Asymmetrical Hip Collar Pleated Elastic Stand Sleeve MODIFYING PHRASES

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These examples illustrate how "prepositional phrases" (by the peopleFor Women Fit Fuego Wear Blue Slim Jeans Fashion Yqw0AP, 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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