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Adjectival Phrases

A variation in the use of the exclusion arc is illustrated in the next example, figure 18, in which the model formally describes a certain part of the structure of English as given in many books of grammar by describing the possible appearances of degree words, adverbs and adjectives in adjectival phrases. In this example the ordering of composition relationships as they leave an entity from its lower edge corresponds to the relative positions of such consituents within an adjectival phrase.

Adjectives, wherever they appear in sentences - as predicates or as qualifiers of nouns - may be themselves be qualified by degree words or by adverbs; adverbs themselves may in turn be qualified by degree words.

Figure 18
Description of an adjectival phrase - an arrangement of degree words, adverbs and an adjective said to be the head of the phrase.

Adjectival phrases may appear as the predicates of sentences or as the qualifiers of nouns. Examples of adjectival phrases and the types of the constitent words are given in table 1. The table uses abbreviations for the different word types as were introduced aerlier in table 1 of section Type of Things.

Table 1
Example adjectival phrases
adjectival phrase type sequence
fierce A
very fierce Deg A
fiercely barking Adv A
very fiercely barking Deg Adv A

The reason for the inclusion of a type adverbial phrase is illustrated by the example very fiercely barking in which the degree word 'very' is understood as qualifying the word 'fiercely' which as a combination (an entity) 'very fiercely' then qualifies the word 'barking' . The phrase 'very fiercely' is an example of an adverbial phrase as represented in the model in figure 18.

A further extended example of the modelling of sentence structure in presented in Chapter English Sentence Structure.