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  1. #1
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    What does "today" modify?

    "He seems very tense today."

    Some experts say that "today" modifies the whole sentence; other experts say that "today" modifies the verb "seems."

    What do you say. And why?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Re: What does "today" modify?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "He seems very tense today."

    Some experts say that "today" modifies the whole sentence; other experts say that "today" modifies the verb "seems."

    What do you say. And why?

    Thank you.
    What difference does it make whether "today" modifies "seems" or the whole sentence?

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: What does "today" modify?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    What difference does it make whether "today" modifies "seems" or the whole sentence?
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Jasmin.

    (1) Thank you for your reply.

    (2) Since you are in the field of law, I was a bit astounded by your question. Lawyers, of course, are interested in concise meanings.

    (3) I have no examples at hand, but I imagine that it is possible that some court rulings have depended on such "minor" issues.

    (4) Personally, I feel it IS important to know what modifies what, but I am not articulate enough to express the reason. Perhaps someone else will come to my rescue.

    Thank you again for your reply. Have a nice day!

  4. #4
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Re: What does "today" modify?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Jasmin.

    (1) Thank you for your reply.

    (2) Since you are in the field of law, I was a bit astounded by your question. Lawyers, of course, are interested in concise meanings.

    (3) I have no examples at hand, but I imagine that it is possible that some court rulings have depended on such "minor" issues.

    (4) Personally, I feel it IS important to know what modifies what, but I am not articulate enough to express the reason. Perhaps someone else will come to my rescue.

    Thank you again for your reply. Have a nice day!
    What would you say would be the difference in meaning if "today" modified "seems" as opposed to the whole sentence?

    I did not mean to imply that the question of what modifies what is irrelevant in general; I just don't see its relevance in your example.

  5. #5
    sarat_106 is offline Key Member
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    Re: What does "today" modify?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "He seems very tense today."

    Some experts say that "today" modifies the whole sentence; other experts say that "today" modifies the verb "seems."

    What do you say. And why?

    Thank you.
    Adverbs that modify a verb are usually placed immediately after the conjugated verb. But if an adverb is a comment on the entire sentence , it may be placed at the beginning or end of the sentence. Adverbs of this type include adverbs of time and place.
    In this sentence ‘He seems very tense today’, today modifies the whole sentence because you can not place it before the verb. By end placement, it is comment on the sentence in the sense that normally he does not appear to be tense but there is some problem with him today.

  6. #6
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: What does "today" modify?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    What would you say would be the difference in meaning if "today" modified "seems" as opposed to the whole sentence?

    I did not mean to imply that the question of what modifies what is irrelevant in general; I just don't see its relevance in your example.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Thank you for your reply.

    I am not intelligent enough to debate a lawyer.

    Sometimes when people are asked why they like something, they answer:

    Just because I like it.

    Well, I just want to know the answer.

    Have a nice day!

  7. #7
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: What does "today" modify?

    Quote Originally Posted by sarat_106 View Post
    Adverbs that modify a verb are usually placed immediately after the conjugated verb. But if an adverb is a comment on the entire sentence , it may be placed at the beginning or end of the sentence. Adverbs of this type include adverbs of time and place.
    In this sentence ‘He seems very tense today’, today modifies the whole sentence because you can not place it before the verb. By end placement, it is comment on the sentence in the sense that normally he does not appear to be tense but there is some problem with him today.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Teacher Sarat.

    (1) Thank you very much for your very kind and informative answer.

    (2) Many books and websites agree with you.

    (3) Thank you for explaining it in such detail, too.

    (4) I have also heard from some people that it modifies the verb.

    (a) I have always had trouble with an adverb modifying a linking verb

    such as "seems."

    (i) There seems to be no "definitive" answer to the question: Can adverbs

    modify linking verbs? If not, then the adverb must modify the whole

    sentence.

    (5) Thanks again. I shall add your comments to my notes.

    Have a nice day!

  8. #8
    sarat_106 is offline Key Member
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    Exclamation Re: What does "today" modify?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    (i) There seems to be no "definitive" answer to the question: Can adverbs

    modify linking verbs? If not, then the adverb must modify the whole

    sentence.

    (5) Thanks again. I shall add your comments to my notes.

    Have a nice day!
    You have raised a point that I have never encountered earlier. I think no adverb modifies a verb doing liking role, but it can, when it is not used as so. As:
    You only seem like more of a nice guy.
    The plant grew quickly. ("Quickly" describes the manner in which it grows. In this sentence, "to grow" is not being used as a linking verb.)

  9. #9
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: What does "today" modify?

    Here's something to consider:

    A linking verb followed by an infinitive can take an adverb either before or after it.
    She grew slowly to love him. She slowly grew to love him.
    (slowly modifies the linking verb ‘grew’?)
    The ghost suddenly seemed to disappear.
    He liked mostly just to laze about.
    The children initially appeared to be asleep.
    We urgently tried to resuscitate him.

  10. #10
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    philadelphia is offline Senior Member
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    Re: What does "today" modify?

    I would say that 'today' modifies the whole sentence so for you to find out another meaning. Accordingly, it would infer that the other days - except that one - he may not be very tense. And it could modify the verb 'seem' at the same time because they at the moment consider him like that but they do not know how he is really usually

    He is very tense => the statement is sure
    He seems very tense => likely
    He seems very tense today => unsure he is always very tense. Maybe he is quirky

    Not a teacher at all
    Last edited by philadelphia; 06-Jun-2010 at 17:42.

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