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Thread: "Our"

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    #1

    "Our"

    a. Our purpose is to complete the race.
    b. Our single purpose is to complete the race.

    Is "our" a determiner in a and b? Does it modify "single" in b?

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    #2

    Re: "Our"

    Yes.

    It modifies (or determines) the head purpose, not single.

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    #3

    Re: "Our"

    I'd say it modified the NP 'single purpose', of which 'purpose' is the head.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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    #4

    Re: "Our"

    Quote Originally Posted by Luckysquirty View Post
    a. Our purpose is to complete the race.
    b. Our single purpose is to complete the race.

    Is "our" a determiner in a and b? Does it modify "single" in b?
    Try removing purpose from the second.

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    #5

    Re: "Our"

    Quote Originally Posted by Luckysquirty View Post
    a. Our purpose is to complete the race.
    b. Our single purpose is to complete the race.

    Is "our" a determiner in a and b? Does it modify "single" in b?


    "Our" is a genitive (possessive) pronoun functioning as a determiner (not a modifier).

    In a. it's a determiner in the NP "our purpose", and in b. it's a determiner of the nominal "single purpose".

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    #6

    Re: "Our"

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMatthews View Post
    "Our" is a genitive (possessive) pronoun functioning as a determiner (not a modifier).
    Is it correct to say that determinatives cannot be modifiers? Can they be considered a kind of modifier? Or are they definitively distinct functions?

    Another question if I may—how can our be considered a pronoun when it isn't, and can never be, a noun phrase?

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    #7

    Re: "Our"

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Is it correct to say that determinatives cannot be modifiers? Can they be considered a kind of modifier? Or are they definitively distinct functions?
    Determinatives commonly function as determiners in noun phrase structure, but they can have other functions too. For example, the determinative "the" is a determiner in The younger son had died, but a modifier in I feel all the better for my holiday.

    And the demonstrative determinative "that" is a determiner in Who is that tall guy over there?, but a modifier in It wasn’t that great.

    Similarly, the cardinal number determinative "three" is a determiner in Ed has three cars, but a predicative complement in We are three in number.


    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post

    Another question if I may—how can our be considered a pronoun when it isn't, and can never be, a noun phrase?
    Why not? "Our" is a noun phrase in No one objected to our joining the party, where it is subject -- a function normally performed by a noun phrase.

    And it can be coordinated with a noun phrase, as in We did it without our or the manager’s approval.

    Moreover, I don’t think anyone would claim that the independent form "ours" is anything other than a noun phrase in, for example, Kim is a good friend of ours, where "ours" is the object of a preposition, again a function normally performed by a noun phrase.

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    #8

    Re: "Our"

    Thanks very much, Paul, but I'm embarrassed to say I got my first question wrong. I confused 'determiner' (function) with 'determinative' (class). What I meant to ask was this:

    Is it correct to say that determiners cannot be modifiers? Can they be considered a kind of modifier? Or are determiners and modifiers definitively distinct functions?

    In other words, in a noun phrase such as the son, what is the doing? I know it's determining son, but can we say it's modifying son? I mean, can determination be considered a kind of modification? I'm pretty sure it can't but I just wanted to check with you.


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    #9

    Re: "Our"

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMatthews View Post
    Why not? "Our" is a noun phrase in No one objected to our joining the party, where it is subject -- a function normally performed by a noun phrase.
    I don't quite follow. Do you mean that the fact that it is a subject is sufficient to qualify it as a noun phrase?

    And if you replace our with John's, I assume that John's is also the subject of joining. Right?

    I've always thought of our joining the party as a NP, not a clause, as it seems you're implying. Only clauses have subjects, right? Not NPs. What I am I missing?

    And it can be coordinated with a noun phrase, as in We did it without our or the manager’s approval.
    So in the NP our approval, our is a determiner, determining the noun approval, but in the NP the manager's approval, the manager's is a NP functioning as a DP, which itself is composed of D + NP. Is that all correct?

    Moreover, I don’t think anyone would claim that the independent form "ours" is anything other than a noun phrase in, for example, Kim is a good friend of ours, where "ours" is the object of a preposition, again a function normally performed by a noun phrase.
    Yes, that's clear enough.

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