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  1. #11
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What is your reading?

    I am rather glad that I am not deeply involved in this thread.

  2. #12
    lauralie2 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What is your reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    What does "modify" mean for a grammarian?
    I can't speak for grammarians, but to me, and in the simplest terms, it tells us more, such as the appositive 'Max' in my sister's husband, Max, fixed the sink, which serves to narrow down the semantic scope of the phrase 'my sister's husband'. (How is this question related to your original question?)


    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    If I say the cat is black, does the predicate adjective modify the cat? I think so.
    If that's how you would like to use the word 'modify'. (How are copular constructs related to your original question?)


    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    Look at this sentence, lauralie, Please. Concentrate on how this abides by what you said above. You wrote:
    The phrase 'human contact' is housed within a larger phrase, one headed by (or introduced by) 'lack', which is what our modifying phrase is attracted to
    Now it seems as if the modifying phrase is attracted in either case...to the structure within.
    The modifying phrase (one headed by...) tells us more about the NP 'a larger phrase', not the head (or introductory element) 'within', a preposition. (Your logic fails me.)

    How is this line of questioning helping you?

  3. #13
    corum is offline Banned
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    Default Re: What is your reading?

    How is this question related to your original question?
    In no way, whatsoever. Why?

    The phrase 'human contact' is housed within a larger phrase, one headed by (or introduced by) 'lack', which is what our modifying phrase is attracted to, or rather sees. That is, it sees the entire phrase, not the structure within.
    Look at this sentence, lauralie, Please. Concentrate on how this abides by what you said above. You wrote:

    The phrase 'human contact' is housed within a larger phrase, one headed by (or introduced by) 'lack', which is what our modifying phrase is attracted to
    one = a larger phrase
    PP= within a larger phrase

    llack = which
    PP = by lack

    Now it seems as if the modifying phrase is attracted in either case to the entire phrase, not to the structure within.

    What do you think, lauralie?

  4. #14
    lauralie2 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What is your reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    In no way, whatsoever. Why?



    Look at this sentence, lauralie, Please. Concentrate on how this abides by what you said above. You wrote:



    one = a larger phrase
    PP= within a larger phrase

    llack = which
    PP = by lack

    Now it seems as if the modifying phrase is attracted in either case to the entire phrase, not to the structure within.

    What do you think, lauralie?
    Again, your logic fails me.

  5. #15
    corum is offline Banned
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    Default Re: What is your reading?

    We have this sentence:
    The drawback of virtual school is lack of human contact, not providing students with ongoing daily interaction with teachers.
    You wrote:
    The phrase 'human contact' is housed within a larger phrase, one headed by (or introduced by) 'lack', which is what our modifying phrase is attracted to, or rather sees. That is, it sees the entire phrase, not the structure within.
    According to this, the present participle clause (not providing...) stands in non-restrictive apposition with "lack of human contact" and not with "human contact" because the modifying phrase cannot see the inner structure of the phrase it modifies, only the whole NP and the head.

    Now let us take a look at what modifies what in this sentence:
    The phrase 'human contact' is housed within a larger phrase, one headed by 'lack'.
    In this sentence, 'one' hinges on 'a larger phrase', which is part of a prepositional phrase: it is a prepositional complement.

    because the modifying phrase cannot see the inner structure of the phrase it modifies, only the whole NP and the head


    Can never?
    Apparently, the modifying phrase can see the inner structure here:

    The phrase 'human contact' is housed within a larger phrase, one headed by (or introduced by) 'lack'...
    '(O)ne' sees the complement (a larger phrase) of the prepositional phrase (within a larger phrase).

  6. #16
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What is your reading?

    The drawback of virtual school is lack of human contact, as opposed to a noted merit of traditional education, providing students with ongoing daily interaction with teachers.

    Wouldn't an " i.e." after "education" solve the problem and make it clear, of course standing for "that is".

    I still think that "education's" would do the trick, maybe with the additional change of "a merit" to "the merit".

    In any case, it seems to be an awkward sentence.

  7. #17
    corum is offline Banned
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    Default Re: What is your reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by lauralie2 View Post
    The problem I see with reading #X is this. The phrase 'x' is housed within a larger phrase, one headed by (or introduced by) 'y', which is what our modifying phrase is attracted to, or rather sees. ... it sees the entire phrase, not the structure within.
    1. I crossed swords with [Mr. Smith, who is a well-respected teacher].

    In the sentence above, the adjectival postmodifier (nonrestrictive relative clause) is attracted to the prepositional complement of the prepositional phrase "with Mr. Smith". The postmodifier sees the entire phrase, not the structure within.


    Why can't be the case the same in the sentence below: the postmodifier sees the entire phrase, not the structure within?

    2. The drawback of virtual school is lack of [human contact, providing students with ongoing daily interaction with teachers].

  8. #18
    lauralie2 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What is your reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    1. I crossed swords with [Mr. Smith, who is a well-respected teacher].


    2. The drawback of virtual school is lack of [human contact, providing students with ongoing daily interaction with teachers].
    Ah, you mean:


    • ...Mr Smith who is...
      • ...Mr Smith, a well-respected teacher
        • NP, NP
    • ...human contact which is...
      • ...human contact, providing...
        • NP, not NP


    Do you see the problem now?

  9. #19
    corum is offline Banned
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    Default Re: What is your reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by lauralie2 View Post
    Do you see the problem now?


    From your comments I infer this:

    In weak apposition, where two syntactic units belong to different syntactic classes (NP, -ing clause), the -ing clause can see the entire apposed NP, but not the structure within.

    In full apposition, the second NP can see the structure of the preceding NP.

    Is this the case, IYO? Why do -ing clauses have poorer eyesight?

  10. #20
    lauralie2 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What is your reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    ..., the -ing clause can see the entire apposed NP, but not the structure within.
    Allow me to explain.


    Sentence 2., as we know, is an example of a reduced relative clause, the relative pronoun (who) and its verb (is) having been omitted:


    1. ...with Mr Smith who is a well-respected teacher.
    2. ...with Mr Smith, a well-respected teacher.

    The resulting modifying phrase 'a well-respected teacher' sees into the PP (with Mr Smith) and modifies the NP (Mr Smith), and not the P (with), because relative adjectival clauses, even reduced ones, modify nouns, and that, by the way, is the problem with our original sentence (3. below). The head of our phrase is a noun (lack), which is what the modifier sees:




    3. The drawback of virtual school is lack of human contact (which is) providing students with daily ongoing interaction with teachers.




    In (3.), the closest noun, from a non-linear view, is 'lack', not 'human contact'. That noun resides inside a larger phrase (lack of human contact), and so the modifier (providing students...) sees only the head noun (lack) and is not privy to the information housed within that phrase. In other words, it cannot see the noun 'human contact' and so cannot modify it. If it were to do so, then it would be able to modify either noun (lack & human contact), which would result in ambiguity, not to mention awkward readings. But we know that it doesn't result in ambiguity as evidenced by reversing the order here:


    Lack of human contact, providing students with daily ongoing interaction with teachers, is a drawback to virtual school.

    To fix the problem with, I suggest adding 'not':



    4a. Lack of human contact, not providing students with daily ongoing interaction with teachers, is a drawback to virtual school.


    4b. The drawback of virtual school is lack of humancontact, not providing students with daily ongoing interaction with teachers.



    Note that, because of the copular structure, 'drawback' also plays a role:

    5. The drawback is providing students with interaction.
    <this is not the intended meaning>
    6. The drawback is not providing students with interaction.
    <this is the intended meaning>

    By the way, the meaning expressed by '(not) providing students with daily ongoing interactions with teachers' weighs heavier semantically than the meaning expressed by the noun 'human contact. That is, on its own the noun 'human contact' does not mean providing students with daily ongoing interactions with teachers. It's the meaning housed within the larger phrase 'lack of human contact' that is being defined here:


    7. The drawback of virtual school is lack of human contact, which means not providing students with daily ongoing interaction with teachers.

    8. The drawback of virtual school is lack of human contact, meaning not providing students with daily ongoing interaction with teachers.

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