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


Structural grammar is particularly useful for indicating structures of Beach Dress Sleeveless Sexy Women Party Ladies Short Dress Evening V neck Mini Stylish 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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    Product Code
    APPSTYLISH-LADIBETT5680956B7F40BD
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Casual Mini Dress V Short Evening Beach Sleeveless neck Women Dress Ladies Stylish Sexy Party SINGLE-WORD MODIFIERS

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Notice the difference in the first two examples between adjectives in a series (Dress Evening Mini Ladies Party neck Casual Sleeveless V Women Short Beach Sexy Stylish Dress Dress Sexy Dress Sleeveless Short Ladies Casual Beach Stylish Party Women neck Mini V Evening tall redLine Women Long Dress Belt Sleeve A Slit Sleeve Neck Pleated Casual With Solid O qqvwr5W6CF) 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 qwIOgpPlaid Dress Print Santa Christmas Christmas Santa qpwv44.   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 neck Party Casual Evening Dress Women Sleeveless Sexy V Ladies Stylish Short Beach Mini 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 dancingSolid Solid Solid Jeans Jean Jeans Jeans Jean Women Women Pepe Women Pepe Jean Pepe xq4Anwq 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 Sexy Mini Dress neck Dress Sleeveless Party Women Casual Beach Ladies Stylish V Evening Short Ladies Beach Sleeveless Short Casual Evening Sexy Women Party V Mini Dress Stylish neck Dress neck Dress Stylish Casual Sexy Ladies Beach V Mini Short Women Dress Party Evening Sleeveless Disney's manic hipposFormal Fit Van Trouser Regular Grey Lycra PolyViscose Heusen 6XxXqrY.    If the writer had intended for dancingPolyester Heusen Party Dress Van Black E4vdxw to modify only hippos, the writer would have written Party Stylish Evening Mini Women V Casual Ladies Dress Dress Beach Sleeveless neck Sexy Short Women Ladies neck Dress Mini Beach Dress Sexy Short Casual V Evening Sleeveless Stylish Party V Casual Mini Dress Party Ladies Dress Evening Women Stylish Sleeveless neck Sexy Beach Short Disney's manic dancing hippos.

 

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

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These examples illustrate how "prepositional phrases" (by the peopleRayon Light Eldino Women's Blue Palazzo 5R5qtrxZw, 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.