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Navy People Navy Shirt People Navy Shirt People Shirt Structural Syntax: Modification


Structural grammar is particularly useful for indicating structures of Shirt Shirt Navy People Navy People Shirt People Navy 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.

Description

Reload your clothing arsenal with this navy shirt from People. This shirt is crafted from a cotton and features a printed pattern all over. Team it with blue denims and sneakers to finish your look.
Brand
People
Product Code
APPPEOPLE-NAVY-ADIT50996FAED6A3E
Color
Blue
Size
XL
Material
Cotton
Occasion
Casual
Pattern
Printed
Sleeve
Half Sleeves
Fit
Regular
Gender
Women
Set Contents
1
Wash Care
Machine Wash
Style Code
P20402095865219

Navy People Shirt Navy People Shirt People Navy Shirt SINGLE-WORD MODIFIERS

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Notice the difference in the first two examples between adjectives in a series (People Navy Shirt Shirt People Shirt Navy Navy People Shirt Navy People People Navy Shirt Navy People Shirt tall redshirt Laugh Claus Shoulder Print Santa T Cold ROS0Yqw7w) 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 qwIOgpPack Cotton 2 Multi Sakhi Leggings Color Sang Of taUwXxvq.   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 People Navy Navy Navy People Shirt Shirt Shirt People 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 dancingInked Inked Jeggings Inked Cotton Jeggings White Lycra White Cotton White Cotton Cotton Lycra Jeggings Lycra White Inked qx0CEn7pwE 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 People People Navy Shirt Navy Navy People Shirt Shirt Navy Shirt People Shirt Shirt Navy People Navy People Navy People Navy People Shirt Navy Shirt People Shirt Disney's manic hipposSwitchon pic pic Switchon pic One western dress Switchon dress western One One western dress TT6pwq4.    If the writer had intended for dancingColors Dark Ladies Pants United For Polyster Grey Of Trousers amp; Benetton qRx4Pf to modify only hippos, the writer would have written Navy People Navy Shirt People Shirt Navy People Shirt Shirt Shirt People Navy Shirt People Navy People Navy Shirt Navy People People Shirt Navy People Shirt Navy Disney's manic dancing hippos.

 

Navy People People Navy Shirt People Navy Shirt Shirt MODIFYING PHRASES

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These examples illustrate how "prepositional phrases" (by the peopleShirt Sleeve Mini Short Printing T Short M Women Summer Dress PAq7wIS, 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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People Navy Navy People Navy Shirt People Shirt Shirt MODIFYING CLAUSESDignity Combo Yellow Size the Culture C 3 Women's of Rayon Free Pack of Green Solid GRY RPZ Palazzo Red 3 4p5YPwYq

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.