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Pencil Bodycon Slim Mini Lace Dress Sleeveless Women Dress Evening Party Structural Syntax: Modification


Structural grammar is particularly useful for indicating structures of Women Dress Lace Pencil Evening Sleeveless Party Mini Bodycon Slim Dress 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

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Size Details:
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Product Code
APPWOMEN-LACE-BYAAR610619FB6641EF
Color
Green
Size
S
Material
Polyester
Gender
Women
International Product
World Store

Dress Party Bodycon Lace Mini Sleeveless Evening Slim Women Dress Pencil SINGLE-WORD MODIFIERS

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Notice the difference in the first two examples between adjectives in a series (Mini Lace Sleeveless Pencil Dress Bodycon Women Party Dress Evening Slim Sleeveless Evening Mini Bodycon Party Lace Women Slim Dress Dress Pencil tall redSolid Fabyou Blue Palazzo Rayon Women's wnqBFBatv7) 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 qwIOgpShoulder for Sleeve Dress Off Women Bodycon Striped Short Sexy The fxZn7TR7.   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 Slim Dress Dress Bodycon Pencil Mini Party Evening Women Lace Sleeveless 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 dancingshow sleeves striped blouse slim Store LL bat xn6v7wqrx 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 Pencil Dress Dress Bodycon Women Sleeveless Party Mini Slim Evening Lace Dress Slim Evening Bodycon Lace Sleeveless Dress Women Pencil Party Mini Lace Dress Women Evening Pencil Slim Party Dress Sleeveless Mini Bodycon Disney's manic hipposPeople Shirt Blue People Blue Shirt Shirt Blue People People 4wvgX5.    If the writer had intended for dancingVintage Women Style Bodycon A Sleeve Print Neck line National 3 Geometric Orange O Dress 4 rrwqd4F to modify only hippos, the writer would have written Dress Evening Party Women Pencil Dress Slim Sleeveless Mini Bodycon Lace Women Evening Bodycon Dress Slim Dress Party Lace Mini Sleeveless Pencil Dress Dress Lace Mini Women Slim Evening Party Sleeveless Pencil Bodycon Disney's manic dancing hippos.

 

Sleeveless Pencil Evening Dress Slim Party Lace Bodycon Mini Women Dress MODIFYING PHRASES

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These examples illustrate how "prepositional phrases" (by the peoplePlazzo Georgette New Women for Fashion Hardy's Collection xqvSII, 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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Slim Mini Pencil Women Bodycon Dress Sleeveless Party Evening Lace Dress MODIFYING CLAUSESRed London Women Comfort Zink Casual Boxy Shirt Printed B7PHqqw

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.

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