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  1. #1
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    Wink which verb does this adverb modify?

    Appreciate your kindness.

    Here's the sentence:

    He studied the biological and natural sciences and learned how to [categorize and draw animals accurately]

    My question is:

    what does the adverb 'accurately' modify? 'categorize'? 'draw'? or both?
    I don't know if 'categorize' can be used together with 'accurately'.
    I think 'draw animals accurately' is more acceptable. But if that's true, where would 'categorize' be fit into? Being a transitive verb, it needs a object, I suppose.

    In any case, is there an general pattern to follow? For example, we could assume that there's a grammatical rule stating that for any sentence in the form of "Verb and Verb Object Adverb", the Adverb always modifies the second verb. Is this possible?

    Or do I always have to infer by discerning the logic in them? But what if there's an ambiguous one? I know that the sentence above may not be ambiguous to anybody else, but it really confuse me a lot. Truly appreciate any reply. (forgive my bad grammar, by the way)

  2. #2
    Mister Micawber's Avatar
    Mister Micawber is offline Key Member
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    Re: which verb does this adverb modify?

    If the sentence is well-written, 'accurately' modifies both 'categorize' and 'draw'. If it were meant to modify 'draw' only, the careful writer would compose it as:

    'categorize animals and draw them accurately' or
    'draw accurately and categorize animals'

    ('Animals' remains the object of both verbs in all cases, as you see.)

    Because these latter are slightly wordier, the writer of the original may have wished you to discern the logic or make the assumption. Really ambiguous ones do come along, for which you should take your choice and blame the author for any error of judgment.

  3. #3
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    Talking Re: which verb does this adverb modify?

    I get it Mister Micawber. Really thanks for your expertise.

  4. #4
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    Smile Re: which verb does this adverb modify?

    He studied the biological and natural sciences and learned how to [categorize and draw animals accurately]

    If you see carefully there are two main sentences...( and hence two main verbs.. studied and learned)

    as we know adverb modifies a verb, adjective or another adverb but not any other part of speech.....

    so in the above sentence "accurately" is modifying "learned" ......but not "to categorize" or "to draw".....

    categorize and draw are verbs... but when a verb is preceded by "to" it is Infinitive and not verb any more.

  5. #5
    justinwschang is offline Member
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    Re: which verb does this adverb modify?

    Quote Originally Posted by rchakkilam View Post
    He studied the biological and natural sciences and learned how to [categorize and draw animals accurately]

    If you see carefully there are two main sentences...( and hence two main verbs.. studied and learned)

    as we know adverb modifies a verb, adjective or another adverb but not any other part of speech.....

    so in the above sentence "accurately" is modifying "learned" ......but not "to categorize" or "to draw".....

    categorize and draw are verbs... but when a verb is preceded by "to" it is Infinitive and not verb any more. [An incomplete verb (i.e. non-finite verb: the infinitive or participles standing by themselves or with one another, i.e. without a helping verb (auxiliary) ) can be modified by an adverb, and is still a verb.]
    He wants to give generously.

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