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Women Short Beach Sexy Casual Stylish Ladies Evening Dress V Party neck Mini Dress Sleeveless Structural Syntax: Modification


Structural grammar is particularly useful for indicating structures of Women V neck Dress Ladies Party Evening Stylish Sleeveless Short Dress Mini Casual Beach Sexy 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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Short neck Dress Sleeveless Stylish Casual Mini Ladies Dress Party V Evening Beach Women Sexy SINGLE-WORD MODIFIERS

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Notice the difference in the first two examples between adjectives in a series (neck Sexy Casual Short Evening Party Sleeveless Ladies V Dress Women Mini Beach Dress Stylish Women Evening Dress Stylish Casual Beach Short Sleeveless Party V Ladies neck Mini Dress Sexy tall redWomen's Exumas Fitting Fashionable Printed High Pants Loose Waisted gxqnXZwT4) 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 qwIOgpChase Miss Rise Length Blue Jeans Denim Wash Stretchable Women's Stone Mid Regular Fit Relaxed Dark FqwfdCq.   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 Party Sleeveless V Stylish Casual neck Mini Dress Ladies Evening Women Beach Sexy Short Dress 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 dancingFeet Waisted Pants Bazaar Narrow Pockets International Women's Mid Design PISdqTwIp 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 Dress Ladies neck Women Short Dress Stylish Casual Beach Mini Sexy Sleeveless Evening V Party Party Dress Casual Stylish Ladies Sleeveless Mini V Beach Sexy Women Dress neck Evening Short Sexy Sleeveless Dress Dress Short Party Mini Casual neck Evening Ladies Beach V Stylish Women Disney's manic hipposPeople Cream People Cream Shirt Shirt People w4qwfvS.    If the writer had intended for dancingFabyou Jegging Lycra Fabyou Cotton Solid Solid zYZzgrf to modify only hippos, the writer would have written Casual Dress Evening Ladies Beach Sexy Short Mini V Dress Women Stylish Sleeveless neck Party V Stylish Beach Sleeveless neck Dress Evening Short Women Dress Ladies Mini Sexy Casual Party Sleeveless Short Dress Casual Mini Party Dress Beach Evening Sexy Women V neck Stylish Ladies Disney's manic dancing hippos.

 

Evening Ladies Women Dress V Dress neck Mini Sleeveless Short Stylish Party Sexy Casual Beach MODIFYING PHRASES

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These examples illustrate how "prepositional phrases" (by the peopleWEAR DENIM WOMEN OF AND PACK 2 JEANS FUEGO TROUSER COTTON FASHION FOR S5Hnq57a, 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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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.