Student or Learner
Hi, nowadays,I am really into analyzing English structures and finding out meaning differences to make myself be able to think the way native English speakers do, which is almost impossible, people usually say.
So, today's question is about adverb or adjective phrases.
e.g) I bought some flowers for my mom. In this sentence, "for my mom" can modify some flowers and bought respectively. Then, there is a meaning difference between them like defining and non-defining relative clauses?
And how about this; "Did you do well on the test on Monday?" If "on Moday" modifys the test, its meaning implys there is more than one test they know?
So, my point is that there is always meaning differences we have to tell when prepositional phrases modifying adverb or adjective phrases like defining and non-defining relative clauses?
Thanks a lot all the time in advance.
Hi, nowadays,I am really into analyzing English structures
CAUTION: NOT A TEACHER
(1) I have been thinking about your question and should like to share a few thoughts.
These are not answers.
(2) It is often very difficult to know sometimes what modifies what. I have noticed that even the experts sometimes disagree among themselves.
(3) I bought some flowers for my mom.
(a) I think that many (most) books would say that the prepositional phrase modifies "bought." (For whom did you buy some flowers?)
(b) Here is a somewhat similar sentence that I found in Pence & Emery's A Grammar of Present-Day Grammar (1963): "Will you sing a song for us?" The scholars say that the p.p. modifies "will sing."
(c) I think that if you wanted the p.p. to modify "flowers," it would take a sentence such as "The flowers for my mom arrived at the hospital this morning." But in "The flowers arrived for my mom at the hospital this morning," I guess the p.p. modifies the verb "arrived." What do you think?
(d) I also realized that there could be ambiguity to its meaning:
(i) Yes, it probably means that you wanted to give flowers as a gift to your mom.
(ii) BUT it could also mean that your mom told you to go buy some flowers because she wanted to take some flowers to a sick friend.
(4) Did you do well on the test on Monday?
(a) I agree with you that probably it modifies "test."
(b) It could mean -- as some books reminded me -- the same as "How did you do on
(c) There is also another -- but unlikely -- meaning. Let's say the test was last month,
but last Monday is the day when the professor finally told the students their marks.
Well, maybe the next day (Tuesday), you might have asked a fellow student;
"Hey, dude, how did you do on the test on Monday?" That is, "On Monday [when the
marks were announced], how did you do on the test [that we took last month]?
Yes, that is a pretty crazy interpretation. But -- as they say -- you never know what
is in someone's mind.
(i) And I just remembered something else: the interpretation could also depend on how
you pronounced the words! So in writing, everything would depend on the context (the
Thanks and I was really touched by your efforts to help me, so do you think there is a meaning difference or not much to tell?