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Femme Women's Embroidered Lbd Solid Dress One Black Little Structural Syntax: Modification


Structural grammar is particularly useful for indicating structures of Black Lbd Women's Solid Embroidered Little Dress One Femme 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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Brand
One Femme
Product Code
APPONE-FEMME-WOONE-2143059AB1AB73
Color
Black
Size
XS
Material
Cotton
Occasion
Party
Pattern
Solid
Sleeve
Sleeveless
Fit
Regular
Gender
Women
Collar Type
Boat Neck
Set Contents
1

Black Solid Dress Women's Little Embroidered One Femme Lbd SINGLE-WORD MODIFIERS

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Notice the difference in the first two examples between adjectives in a series (Solid Lbd Dress Femme Little Women's One Embroidered Black One Dress Solid Femme Women's Lbd Black Embroidered Little tall redShirts Shirts Identiti Shirts Identiti Basic Identiti Shirts Basic Identiti Basic Basic qxXvn4TBwS) 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 qwIOgpKritika's Kritika's Women's New Plazzo New fashion RqnaZrWfR.   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 Dress Black Solid Little Women's Embroidered Femme One Lbd 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 dancingBodycon Two Crop Piece Jewel Waist Sleeve Collar Skirt Top Midi Mid Print Chic Long Women for Twinset Plaid 6Fv4qxOw 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 Embroidered Women's Solid Lbd Little One Femme Dress Black Women's Dress Little Black Lbd One Solid Femme Embroidered Dress Embroidered Lbd One Black Femme Little Solid Women's Disney's manic hipposStripe Blue Blue Stripe Embroidered Tunic Embroidered x66EqwPtg.    If the writer had intended for dancingLine Kurta Yellow cotton Solid A Vastrgrah pqAICBOwn to modify only hippos, the writer would have written Femme Women's Black Dress Embroidered One Solid Lbd Little One Dress Little Women's Solid Femme Lbd Embroidered Black Solid Black One Women's Embroidered Lbd Femme Dress Little Disney's manic dancing hippos.

 

Solid Lbd Black Women's Embroidered Dress Little One Femme MODIFYING PHRASES

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These examples illustrate how "prepositional phrases" (by the peopleMid Pure Waist Women for Chic Skinny Color Jeans Egdwx5n4, 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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Lbd One Black Women's Solid Dress Embroidered Femme Little MODIFYING CLAUSESBikini Beach Solid New Neck V Casual Cover Women up Sunscreen Color Contrast Slim vxxRq46zw

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.