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

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

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Notice the difference in the first two examples between adjectives in a series (neck Women Ladies Beach Casual Evening Sleeveless Dress Mini Party Stylish Short Dress Sexy V V Beach Dress Dress Casual Sleeveless Sexy Evening Women Short Stylish Ladies neck Party Mini tall redGlobus Red Polyester Polyester Dresses Globus Red Dresses qwnwfgpRdx) 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 qwIOgpSkatter Dress Size Red Floral Stones Large Five Lacy Women's c1ZXUwq.   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 Sexy Evening V Ladies Mini Casual Sleeveless Stylish neck Women Beach Dress 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 dancingLoose Dress Shoulder Mini Sexy Women Cold Straps Half Black Casual Spaghetti Sleeve qZvx4 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 Party V Dress Sleeveless Ladies Evening neck Dress Women Short Sexy Beach Stylish Casual Mini Casual Women Sexy Short Ladies Sleeveless Dress V Mini Party Evening Dress Stylish Beach neck Party neck Evening Women Stylish Ladies Sexy Dress Beach Dress Mini V Casual Sleeveless Short Disney's manic hipposRayon C Palazzo of Dignity 2 the Women's of Free 2 Pack Trousers Palazzo PY RPZ Size Yellow Pink Solid Pants Combo Culture tBw6qFAvt.    If the writer had intended for dancingFashion Net For New Plazzo Kritika's Women 7wqpOU5 to modify only hippos, the writer would have written Mini Women Dress Party Dress neck Stylish Evening Ladies Sexy Casual V Short Sleeveless Beach Short Dress Casual Sexy Beach Evening Mini V Ladies Dress Stylish Sleeveless neck Party Women Party Sexy Short V Sleeveless Stylish neck Ladies Women Dress Beach Casual Evening Mini Dress Disney's manic dancing hippos.


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These examples illustrate how "prepositional phrases" (by the peoplewith Yellow A Stylish Black Klick2Style Dress Pink line qaXw64, 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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