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Introduction to English Syntax

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Rolf Kreyer and Joybrato Mukherjee

This book provides an overview of basic syntactic categories, analytical methods and theoretical frameworks that are needed for a comprehensive and systematic description and analysis of the syntax of English as it is spoken and written today. It is therefore useful for students of the English language but also for teachers who are looking for an overview of traditional syntactic analysis. In addition, the book explores various related aspects, such as syntactic variation, the relation between syntax and semantics, and psycholinguistic approaches to syntax. One focus throughout is to introduce the reader to the ‘art’ or science of syntactic argumentation. Almost all of the examples that are found in this book are drawn from language corpora – each syntactic concept, therefore, is exemplified by authentic language data.

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5 Adjective, Adverb and Prepositional Phrase

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The two previous chapters dealt with the most important phrases of the English language, the verb and the noun phrase. This chapter will give a short overview of the three remaining phrases, namely adjective, adverb and prepositional phrase. 5.1 The adjective phrase Like the noun phrase, the adjective phrase can be defined with regard to its head, i.e. an adjective phrase is a phrase the head of which is an adjective. The adjec- tive phrase is similar to the noun phrase in that it contains premodifiers and postmodifiers. It differs from the noun phrase in that it does not contain deter- miners. The basic structure of the adjective phrase, accordingly is 'premodifica- tion - head - postmodification', consider the examples under (1) (the head is in bold print): (1) a) more traditional (w1a-012:043) b) almost impossible (w2b-016:067) c) hugely unprofitable (w2b-016:048) d) very restricted (s1a-001:104) e) far more simple (s2a-034:050) f) bigger than that (s1a-001:054) g) aware of how they can work with the disabled stu- dent (s1a-001:110) h) uninterested in conquering and controlling Fiji (w1a-012:010) i) unlikely to appreciate the irony of their situation (w2e-008:002) j) much cheaper than anybody else (s1a-010:036) k) very surprised at their commitment (s1a-005:157) l) quite happy to send their daughter to a boys' school (s1a-012:223) m) far too late for tinkering with the environment (w2b-013:004) As can be seen, adjectives (in addition to occurring on their own) can be pre-...

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