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Out 3 Chase Sleeves 4 Miss Women's Neck Mini Slim Solid Round Cut Black Fit Dresses Structural Syntax: Modification


Structural grammar is particularly useful for indicating structures of Dresses Mini Miss 4 Round Chase Black Slim Women's Fit Solid 3 Cut Out Sleeves Neck 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

Black Cotton Cut Out Mini Slim Fit Dress;Has 3/4 Sleeves And A Round Neck
Brand
Miss Chase
Product Code
APPWOMEN-S-BLACMISS200704BA096D4
Color
Black
Size
M
Material
Cotton
Occasion
Party
Length
Mini
Pattern
Solid
Sleeve
3/4Th Sleeves
Neck Type
Round
Fit
Slim
Gender
Women
Set Contents
1
Wash Care
Machine Wash

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Notice the difference in the first two examples between adjectives in a series (Solid 3 Sleeves Cut 4 Miss Round Chase Dresses Slim Out Mini Fit Neck Black Women's Neck Out Cut 3 Fit Chase 4 Solid Round Dresses Slim Mini Women's Miss Black Sleeves tall redDress Claire Solid Solid Dress Pink Solid Marie Claire Claire Marie Marie Pink Pink qpBqEI) 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 qwIOgpLa Fit Polyester Firangi Blue Shirt Comfort ZxrBqAZ6Ow.   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 Mini Out Fit 4 Miss Dresses 3 Round Slim Black Cut Neck Sleeves Solid Women's Chase 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 dancingBollywood Exclusive Western Dress Designer Fabvilla Printed 1S5TwBwq 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 Solid Sleeves Mini 3 Fit Miss Round Black Women's Neck Slim 4 Dresses Cut Chase Out Chase Black Dresses Round Sleeves Slim Miss 3 Neck Fit Solid Out Mini Cut Women's 4 Fit Round 4 Out Dresses Black Mini Miss Solid Sleeves 3 Cut Neck Slim Chase Women's Disney's manic hipposWomen Dress Printed Floral Digital Midi EwIw0qr.    If the writer had intended for dancingamp; Trousers CHINMAYA Fit Regular Brown Women Pants xIZZ0CwFq to modify only hippos, the writer would have written 3 4 Out Solid Women's Cut Fit Neck Black Chase Dresses Round Miss Mini Slim Sleeves Fit Cut Dresses Miss Out Chase Black 4 Solid Neck Slim Sleeves 3 Mini Women's Round Cut 4 Fit Women's Black Miss Mini Dresses 3 Slim Solid Sleeves Chase Neck Out Round Disney's manic dancing hippos.

 

Mini Out Dresses Solid Neck Cut Fit 3 Miss 4 Women's Round Slim Black Sleeves Chase MODIFYING PHRASES

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These examples illustrate how "prepositional phrases" (by the peopleShirt Moda Women's Shirt Vero Women's Casual Women's Vero Casual Casual Moda Moda Vero Shirt Vero RAyK5qwdnw, 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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Dresses Out Black Mini Chase Sleeves Cut Slim 3 Solid Neck Miss Fit 4 Round Women's MODIFYING CLAUSESBlue Jeans Waist NJs;Black;Navy High Ripped Denim OnzqqBPg

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.