Test for identifying modifiers in English
- A modifier does not behave like a complement, i.e. it is
- semantically more autonomous, i.e. it makes the same meaning contribution independent of the predicate it combines with.
- syntactically optional
- can be used with a pro-VP form such as do so:
John read a book in the library and Mary did so at home.
- typical examples:
- temporal modifiers: at night, after the party
- locative modifiers: at home, in the library
Categories and structural position
- Modifiers are usually PPs, AdvPs or clauses introduced by a subordinate conjunction.
- Modifiers are sisters of VP and dominated by a VP; they are not sisters of complements.
- In English, modifiers normally do not stand between the verb and its complement(s).
___S____ / \ / ____AuxP___ / / \ / / _____VP_____ / / / \ / / ___VP____ \ / / / \ mod subj / VP \ \ / / / \ mod \ / / / obl.comp \ \ / / / | \ \ NP Aux V _PP__ ______PP_____ _AdvP_ /__\ | | /_____\ /_____________\ /______\ Pat will wait for Kim at the bus stop tonight.
Further reading on other grammatical functions:
- The Predicate
- The Subject
- The Direct Object
- The Indirect Object
- The Predicative Complement
- The Oblique Complement