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    #1

    the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations

    A softer attitude can reduce the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations, especially on controversial issues.

    1) Is "the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations" a noun phrase functioning as direct object in this sentence?
    2) Help me in understanding what phrase is "especially on controversial issues" ?

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations

    1. Yes, direct object of the main verb.

    2. I would call that an adverbial phrase.

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    #3

    Re: the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Great question, Elitez:

    First, let's do what my teachers taught me when analyzing a sentence: simplify it.

    Let's work on "A softer attitude can reduce the intensity of confrontations, especially on controversial issues."

    Do you see what I think I see?

    If I understand Professor Quirk's huge book, "especially [confrontations] on conversial issues" is a noun phrase that is in apposition with "confrontations."

    Professor Quirk gives this sentence: "We want to invite a number of friends, especially Joan and Betty."

    He (and his colleagues) say that "an explicit indicator" [such as "especially"] shows "that the particularization [pointing to Joan and Betty] has been chosen because it is in some way prominent." [That is, "We" really, really want Joan and Betty to come to our party above all our other friends.]

    By the way, let's change your sentence to the passive.

    We get: "The intensity of confrontations, especially [confrontations] on controversial issues, can be reduced by a softer attitude."

    In my opinion (opinion), it seems pretty clear that "especially [confrontations] on controversial issues" is in apposition [a relationship] with "confrontations."

    Finally, here's a sentence that I copied in my notebook several years. (Sorry that I did not note the source): "I asked him about the discrepancy [difference] between his approach and the White House's [approach], especially on the soda tax."

    In my opinion, "especially on the soda tax" is in apposition with "discrepancy."

    Let's try the passive "test": "The discrepancy, especially [the discrepancy] on the soda tax, between his approach and the White House's was asked of him by me."


    Credit: IF my idea is essentially correct, most credit goes to Quirk and his three colleagues in A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985), page 1316. Credit also goes to a result on the Web (which I forgot to write down) that a prepositional phrase can be an appositive because there is an understood subject. Fof example, "especially on controversial topics" must have the understood noun "confrontations" as the subject. So "especially [confrontations] on controversial topics" is, therefore, a noun phrase in apposition with the "confrontations" that actually appears in your sentence.
    Last edited by TheParser; 21-Nov-2015 at 18:08.

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    #4

    Re: the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations

    The word "apposition" means "next to". It is obvious that the phrases in question are next to another word. That does not tell us much.

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    #5

    Re: the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations

    In the sentence I have posted "especially" is an adverb(adverb of degree) so can a noun phrase start with an adverb? Can anyone please explain this?

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    #6

    Re: the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations

    I have learned on this forum to never say never. But in your sentence, it is not a noun phrase.

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    #7

    Re: the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Elitez:

    I am replying to address only your general question: Can an adverb come before a noun phrase?

    The answer is absolutely YES.

    There's the example that I cited in post #3: "We want to invite a number of friends, especially Joan and Betty."

    Here are some more examples from the same book (and same page):

    a. "The book contains some fascinating passages, notably an account of their trip to North Africa."

    b. "The children like the animals, particularly the monkeys."

    P.S. It's not really important, but I just thought that you would like to know that some grammarians do not consider such adverbs to be those of degree. They prefer to use the term adverbs of particularization.

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    #8

    Re: the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations

    especially confrontations on controversial topics
    especially on controversial topics
    on controversial topics

    None of those is a noun phrase. Quirk et al do not claim that any of them are. The following two are noun phrases:

    confrontations on controversial topics

    controversial topics

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    #9

    Re: the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    especially confrontations on controversial topics
    especially on controversial topics
    on controversial topics

    None of those is a noun phrase. Quirk et al do not claim that any of them are. The following two are noun phrases:

    confrontations on controversial topics

    controversial topics
    If it is not a noun phrase, can you please tell me what phrase it is with explanation for my better understanding.

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    #10

    Re: the intensity of bad feelings and confrontations

    If you are referring to 'especially confrontations on controversial topics', then the head word is 'especially', an adverb. It is, therefore, in my opinion, an adverb phrase.

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