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Constructions Filling the Predicate Modifier Slot

Content

Punctuation

Predicate Modifiers

The final phrase in the first of the three sample sentences was seen to involve an extended noun phrase.

����������������������� 1. The boy ate �������������� the apple in the pie.

������������������������ ���������������������������������� ����� * ��� ��� ��������

The second involved a sentence modifier.

2. �� The boy ate the apple      [ �� in the summer.

That leaves the final sample sentence

����������������������������������������������������� 3. The boy ate the apple in a hurry

We quickly see that the final phrase is not part of a noun phrase:

����������������������������������������������������� * The boy ate ����������������� the apple in a hurry

That is, the final phrase does not help describe the apple. ��

And we recognize that the final phrase cannot shift from one end to the other like a sentence modifier. ������������������������������� ����������

The boy ate the apple        in a hurry

*In a hurry               the boy ate the apple.

The result of the shift is somewhat awkward. �� And we recognize that the phrase does not really say something about the complete remaining sentence. �� It does not comment on the fact that the boy ate the apple so much as on how he ate the apple. �� That is, it comments on the predicate.

The boy ��� ate the apple in a hurry

In a hurry modifies the action, or, in more formal terms, the predicate. �� A construction in the predicate modifier slot modifies how the action took place, often with adverbs (such as, slowly) but also with prepositional phrases, as in the sentence above.

Here we use curly parentheses to mark predicate modifiers.

3. The boy ����������������������� ate the apple { in a hurry }

From the above, we have identified one more slot within sentences, the predicate modifier. Predicate modifiers appear at the end of sentences, but within the boundary of any final sentence modifier.

] SUBJECT ������ PREDICATE �� { PREDICATE MODIFIER } [

The test of a predicate modifier is

  • that it is not part of a noun phrase, and
  • that it is not a sentence modifier, i.e., that it does not shift from end to front ( or it would not be a predicate modifier, but a sentence modifier), and ,
  • finally, that it comments on the predicate, on how, or why, or when an action occurred.

Constructions Filling the Predicate Modifier Slot

Predicate modifier slots can be filled by anything from a single word,

Quickly,

or a phrase.

With gusto�

Content

Predicate modifiers typically

  • qualify the predicate (in what way or manner)
  • limit or set conditions or circumstances on the predicate (for whom, when, where)
  • indicated reasons or conditions (why)
  • indicate manner, time, or conditions on the predicate,
Predicate modifiers always comment on the action or predicate, not on the thought of the sentence as a whole.

Punctuation

A comma never separates a predicate modifier from the predicate itself. (If a comma occurs between the predicate and predicate modifier, it usually signals the presence of an insert [see Inserts )


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