Syntax


The AP


I. The adjective

For detailed information on adjectives, see the page from the Selected Subfields section (Syntactic Theory) of ELLO.

II. Basic structure of APs

Example: AP [extremely fond of chocolate with breakfast]


III. Complements and adjuncts in the AP

APs are constituents whose heads are adjectives. Complements of adjectives (as of nouns) are generally PPs of the form [of NP]; e.g. fond of chocolate, envious of John, fearful of strangers. Other PP complements are also possible: dependent on time, independent from another country, excited about the changes.

APs commonly appear as adjuncts in NPs. In this function adjectives take no complement:
*an envious of John man.

Example: [NP a [AP rather envious] man]

However, when adjectives are used with a predicative function (i.e. when they are complements of the copula be) they may take complements: He is AP [envious of John]

IV. Specifiers in the AP

Specifiers in the AP are not always easy to distinguish from adjuncts.
They include such degree expressions as rather, quite, and so. A typical characteristic of AP specifiers is that they cannot be modified (i.e. no expressions can be added to them to make their meanings more precise): * an AP [extremely rather envious] man.
In contrast, AP adjuncts can be modified: an AP [extremely moderately decorated] appartment.

Note:
In the text above we refer to constituents of the type [determiner + noun] (e.g. the door) as NPs. In a more recent analysis, determiners are considered to be the head (D) of a determiner phrase (DP), and the noun functions as its NP-complement.
For further information on DPs click here.


Exercises on the AP