Pronouns one or body; everything, someone, anybody, etc.

Note that with no + one the compoundirl'g is generally not reflected in the orthography; syntactically and phonologically we regard no one as a single word in No one came but as a sequence of two words in No one ofthe texts would suffice alone - compare anyone and any one ofthe texts. (As a separate word, one contrasts here with two, etc.: any two ofthe texts; as part ofa compound, ofcourse, it does not.) Also included in the indefinite pronouns is none, as in Ed had little money and 1 had none. As we have seen, none is the pronominal equivalent of the determinative no; it is not usefully analysed as no + one, for while one forces an individuated interpreta­ tion, none does not, as can be seen from the examplesjust given, where it has a mass interpretation. For the rest, the indefinite subclass will contain many, much, several,jew, all, both, etc., if these are in fact to be analysed as pronouns at all: see §3 above. Because of the doubtful status of these, the set of indefinite pronouns is the least clearly defined of the pronoun subclasses, and considerable differences will be found from grammar to grammar with respect to its membership, its name and further subdivisions within it.
FURTHER READING On the grammar of pronouns and the various subclasses, see Quirk et al. 197 I:§§4. 106-28. Anaphora has attracted a great deal of attention in the last twenty years: see, for example, Hankamer & Sag 1976 (followed up in Sag 1979), Halliday & Hasan 1976, Lyons 1977:§15.3, Wasow 1979, Evans 1980, Carden 1982, Reinhart 1983. Some scholars, e.g. Quirk et al. 197 I, Halliday & Hasan 1976, restrict the term 'anaphora' to what I am calling unmarked-order anaphora (with the antecedent pre­ ceding the anaphor), using 'cataphora' for marked-order anaphora (where the ante­ cedent follows). Where 'anaphora' covers both, the two orders are distinguished in the transformational literature as 'forwards anaphora' vs 'backwards anaphora', while Lyons uses respectively 'backward-looking' and 'forward-looking' (or 'anticipatory'); the conflict arises from the fact that the transformational terminology reflects the early (but discredited) analysis where an anaphor is transformationally substituted for a copy of the antecedent: this leads one to focus on the antecedent and move 'forwards' in the case where the anaphor follows or 'backwards' when it pre­ cedes; Lyons' terminology focuses on the anaphor and looks backwards to a preceding antecedent or forwards to a following one - although this is surely a better way of looking at it the conflict with the earlier terms is potentially a source of confusion and I have accordingly preferred to speak of unmarked order vs marked order, where there is no possibility of misinterpretation. Some writers extend the term anaphora to cases where there is no antecedent and the pronoun or whatever is interpreted deictically­ Hankamer & Sag, for example, call this 'pragmatically controlled anaphora', as op­ posed to 'syntactically controlled anaphora' for cases where there is an antecedent; Halliday & Hasan, by contrast, distinguish these cases as respectively exophora vs endophora (with the latter equivalent to anaphora in the sense in which I have used it). On deixis, see Lyons 1977: Ch. 15, 198Ia:22&-35. On gender as a general category, see Lyons 1968:§7.3. On reciprocals, see Dougherty 1974.

8
Adjectives and adjective phrases

Adjectives The most central members of the word-class adjective have the following four properties:
(a) Functional potential, I. They occur as head in phrases functioning as predicative complement in clause structure: this is what we have called the predicative use of adjectives. Thus the prototypical adjectives careless, intel­ ligent and tiresome are used predicatively in He was careless, She seemed very intelligent, They fOund it rather tiresome. (b) Functional potential, II. They occur as head in phrases functioning as modifier in NP structure: this is the attributive use. It is illus­ trated in a careless mistake, a very intelligent woman, that rather tiresome politician.
pre-hea~

8. I

(c) Functional poten tial, III. They occur as head in phrases functioning as post-head modifier in NP structure: this we will call the postpositive use. Thus the above adjectives are used postpositively in people careless in their attitude to money, someone very intelligent, something rather tiresome. The postpositive use is much less frequent than the first two, and subject to quite restrictive conditions (see 6.10), but it is nevertheless a significant property of central adjectives that they can be used in this way. (d) Modification and inflection. Prototypical adjectives are 'gradable' (see

6·7) and as such take modifiers indicating degree, notably very, rather, quite, so, too, how, etc.: very careless, rather intelligent, how tiresome. More particularly,
gradable adjectives either enter into inflectional contrasts of comparison, asm
(I) Absolute Comparative Superlative

big pretty good

bigger prettier better

biggest prettiest best

or occur in the analytic comparative and superlative constructions marked by more and most: careless, more careless, most careless. No one of these properties is unique to adjectives, but only adjectives

29 8

299

Adjectives and adjective phrases
possess all four. For example, nouns generally have properties (a) and (b), and to a more limited extent (c) too, butthey lack (d) - cr. the noun bastard in He is a bastard, his bastard son, his son the bastard, *a very bastardchild. This is not to suggest, however, that it is only property (d) that distinguishes adjectives from nouns - we must of course also take account of the other properties of nouns discussed in 6.1: their ability to take determiners as dependents, to head phrases functioning as subject, object, etc. Thus, to continue with the same example, bastard shows clear noun properties in He is a bastard (determiner a), That bastard needs watching (determiner that, and subject function), in its inflectional contrast with bastards, and so on. We will take up the distinction between nouns and adjectives in the next chapter, but it will be clear from what has been said already that the central members ofthe two classes are very sharply distinct in terms of the kinds ofdependent they take and the range offunctions realised by the phrases they head. We should add that property (d) does not distinguish adjectives from adverbs: note in par­ ticular that a number of adverbs enter into inflectional contrasts of comparison (badly ~ worse ~ worst; soon ~ sooner ~ soonest, etc.). As in earlier chapters, the above properties have been formulated so as to apply to words, but it is a trivial matter to reformulate them so as to apply to lexemes. There are, however, very many adjective words which carry no inflectional property and where the concept oflexeme is consequently inap­ plicable- the examples used above, careless, intelligent and tiresome, are of this type. As argued in 3.2, we will invoke the concept oflexeme only where we have inflectional, as opposed to analytic, contrasts of comparison. Whether an adjective stem can undergo the inflectional processes that yield comparative and superlative forms is to a large extent predictable from the morphological and phonological properties of the stem. Lexical stems like bored or worried that are derived by conversion from the -en forms ofverbs (see 9.3) do not permit these processes to apply: *Hefelt boreder than he had ever felt before (cr. Hefelt more bored .. .). For the rest, if the stem is monosyllabic, inflection is normally possible: big ~ bigger, sad ~ sadder, tall ~ taller, and so on. Disyllabic stems that take inflectional suffixes are normally either: (i) morphologically simple, ending in syllabic /1/ (gentle, simple), /;}r/ or / (j )u;}r / I (clever, obscure), /;}U / (hollow, narrow) and certain other unaccented syllables (common, quiet) - polite is a rare example where the second syllable is accented; (ii) morphologically complex, ending in one of the suffixes -ly (deadly,friendly) or -=Y (funny, noisy) or beginning with the prefix -un (unkind). Stems of more than two syllables do not inflect, except for a few (such as unfriendly) formed by adding a negative prefix to a disyllabic stem that inflects.
I

8.1

Adjectives

The morphological rules forming comparatives and superlatives are rela­ tively simple: for regular adjectives, the suffixes /;}r/ (see footnote I) and /Ist/ respectively are added. There are one or two concomitant phonological modifications: stem-final syllabic /1/ loses its syllabicity (so that the marked forms ofJeeble are disyllabic, like the absolute form) and final /1]/ becomes /I]Q/ (young, / jAI]/ in most varieties, is paired withyounger, / jAI]Q;)/, and so on). There are only a handful of irregular adjectives. Better and best are the comparative and superlative forms ofthe adjective good, and also of well, which can be used as an adjective or an adverb; adjectival well means "in good health" and the meaning of better is then not fully predictable from its analysis as the corresponding comparative, for I am now better can be, and usually is, interpreted as "I am now recovered, i.e. well again" (cr. the semantic irregularity of the adverb later mentioned in 1.7). Worse and worst likewise serve as the marked forms ofthe adjective bad, the adverb badly and of ill, which has both adjectival and adverbial uses. Far, which again be­ longs to both adjective and adverb classes, has the irregular forms farther/ further and farthest/furthest. Elder and eldest might be analysed as irregular forms of old, coexisting with the regular forms in a specialised use - or else we might treat them as forms ofa defective lexeme lacking an absolute form. In either case they require ad hoc lexical description: they are used only attributively with a kinship term like brother or daughter or (for elder) the noun statesman as head - and they cannot take modifiers of their own (cr. a much older/*elder brother). One comparative form that very clearly has no absolute or superlative counterpart is other- note that this behaves syntac­ tically like an ordinary comparative in that it enters into construction with than (anyone other/ taller than Ed). In upper (cr. the upper level) the suffix is added to a stem which does not belong to the adjective class: upper is not the com­ parative form of an adjective up, but an adjective derived from an adverb/ preposition. Its opposite, lower, is the comparative form oflow, and forms like upper (cr. also inner and outer) thus provide further illustration of the lack ofa sharp division between inflectional and lexical morphology. Let us turn now to the central cases oflexical morphology. Although there are many adjectives with simple lexical stems, a high proportion have stems derived by affixation, conversion or compounding. As in the verb and noun chapters, we will give only a brief outline of the processes involved; not all the examples cited will be prototypical adjectives - for example, a number will lack property (d) (see §2 below). (a) Class-changing suffixation. There are a considerable number of suffixes forming denominal adjectives: -ful (careful); -less (careless); -ly (friendly); -like (childlike); -ish (childish); -esque (Picassoesque); -al, -ial, -ical, -ic (musical, editorial, philosophical, heroic); -ous (grievous); -ian, -ese (Christian, Japanese); and so on. The suffix -ed also forms denominal adjectives, as in walled (a

In many varieties of English, including for example English Received Pronunciation, the final Ir I is dropped unless followed without an intonational break by a vowel (in some styles by a vowel within the same word).

300

301

Adjectives and adjective phrases walled garden, "a garden with a wall around"), but more often it is added to adjective + noun sequences, as in long-haired, flat-chested, simple-minded, giant-sized, etc.: the process is relatively productive. Such forms make it impossible to maintain a rigid division between morphology and syntax: we have here a morphological element added to a syntactic construction (but note that the noun is always in the singular form, the form that coincides with the lexical stem: thus a blue-eyed baby, not "'a blue-eyesed baby).
(b) Class-preserving suffixation. Two of the suffixes mentioned in (a), -ish and -ly, can also derive adjectives from simpler adjectives. With -ish the class-preserving use is relatively productive, applying especially to adjec­ tives of colour, shape and the like: greenish, squarish, longish, etc.; class­ preserving -ly is found in a few stems such as kindly, lowly, poorly where the resultant meaning is of rather low predictability. (c) Prefixation. Prefixation is predominantly class-preserving. Most of the exclusively class-preserving prefixes are negative or else involve degree. Among the negative prefixes, un- (unkind) and non- (non-scientific) are ofhigh productivity, while a_2 (amoral), dis- (dishonest) and in- (intolerant) are much more restricted; im- (impossible) and it-I-ir, phonologically /II (illegal, irrelevant), are variants of -in, occurring with stems beginning with Ipl and III or Ir I. Among the degree prefixes, super- (superhuman), hyper- (hypersen­ sitive), ultra- (ultraconservative), over- (overconfident) grade upwards, whereas the only one of any productivity grading downwards is sub- (subhuman). A few prefixes involving temporal or spatial relations, pre-, post-, inter-, trans-, attach to adjective stems (especially denominal ones) or else to nouns, so that they can be either class-preserving (pre-classical, post-classical, intercon­ tinental, transcontinental) or class-changing (pre-war, post-war, inter-university, trans-Mississippi) . (d) Conversion. Given that we are not postulating conversion in cases like the Queensland government, where we take the modifier Queensland to be a noun, not an adjective, adjectives derived by conversion are virtually restricted to -ing and -en forms ofverbs: amusing, interesting, bored, distressed, and so on. We will take up this matter in Ch. 9. (e) Compounding. The most productive kinds of adjective compound have an -ing or -en form of a verb as the second component: [a] record-breaking [swim], [a] much-debated [question]. The first component may be a noun (hair-raising, hand-made), including the self that appears in reflexive pro­ nouns (self-fUlfilling [prophecies], self-addressed [envelopes]); an adjective (good-looking, true-born); or an advcrb (well-meaning, well-meant). With -ing form compounds, the noun may have a semantic role corresponding to an
2

8.2

Some non-central subclasses ojadjectives

object in clause structure (cf. a swim that broke thel some recordl records) or the complement of a preposition (a law-abiding citizen may be compared with a citizen who abides by the law). In -en form compounds, the verb component is almost always understood passively: a much-debated question is equivalent to a question that islwas much debated (we have to say 'almost always' because of examples like newly-arrived); again, see Ch. 9 for further elaboration. In addition there are a considerable number of compounds formed from noun + adjective: tax-.free, carsick, etc.; a particularly productive subtype has a colour adjective as second component: sky-blue, blood-red. Finally, there are adjectives compounded from a pair of adjectives, or from a bound stem in -0 plus an adjective, where neither stem is subordinate to the other: bitter-sweet, Sino- Tibetan, socio-historical.

8.2

Some non-central subclasses of adjectives

The four properties given at the beginning of the last section ­ ability to be used predicatively, attributively, postpositively and to take modification pertaining to degree - characterise the prototypical adjective, but they are not necessary conditions for membership of the adjective class. In this section we will mention briefly some subclasses of adjective that lack one or more of the properties. (a) In the first place, we must recognise a quite large subclass of non­ gradable adjectives like anthropological, philatelic, phonetic, set-theoretic ("per­ taining to set theory"), which do not take modifiers of degree. Thus we migh t have a philatelic geml magazineI rarity but not '" a very philatelic geml magazine/rarity. It should be emphasised, however, that gradability is pri­ marily a semantic matter: the possibility of adding a degree modifier depends on the meaning of the adjective, not on some semantically-arbi­ trary syntactic property. From a semantic point of view, a gradable adjec­ tive denotes a scalar property as opposed to a categorial one - where a scalar property is one that can be possessed in varying degrees; and pre­ cisely because the property denoted can be possessed in varying degrees the adjective can take degree modifiers. Many adjectives, however, are poly­ semous, denoting a categorial property in one sense and a scalar one in another. For example, a nationality adjective like British denotes a categorial property in its central sense, as in a British passport, the British Parliament, but also has an extended sense denoting a scalar property ("like typical or stereotypical British people or things"), as in He's very British; the primacy of the categorial sense is reflected in the fact that the adjective will not normally be interpreted in the scalar sense unless there is some grading modifier present. To a significant extent, therefore, the gradable/non­ gradable contrast applies to uses of adjectives, rather than simply to the adjectives themselves. 30 3

The prefix a- also forms adverbs or prepositions like aboard in He went aboard (the ship); d.

Ch.lo.

302

Adjectives and adjective phrases
(b) As we have noted, a few adjectives cannot be used attributely: afraid, asleep, awake, loath, tantamount .. ., and for many speakers well "in good health", unwell, content, and a few others. Compare They were aftaid (predi­ cative), a'!Y0ne afraid ofheights (postpositive), *some aftaid sheep (attributive). We will see below (§4) that AdjPs containing complements do not normally occur attributively: the inclusion of loath and tantamount in the present subclass is then related to the fact that with them a complement is normally obligatory. In one or two cases the inability to appear in predica­ tive position applies to some but not all senses of an adjective: thus glad and sorry are not used attributively in the sense "pleased" and "regretful", but they can be in other senses, as in glad tidings, a sorry sight.
ONLY

8.4

Dependents in AdjP structure: complements

(c) Conversely, there are a few adjectives (all non-grad able) that are used attributively: main, principal, mere, utter, etc.

occurring as pre-head dependent in NP structure - though even here we have made a functional distinction between determinatives (determiners) and adjectives (modifiers). Nevertheless we have just noted that main, principal, mere, etc., are restricted to pre-head dependent position - and some of the determinatives have additional adjective-like properties: one or two are gradable (cf. very much money), and many at least can, under rather restricted conditions, be used predicatively, as in How many were you? As noted in 3.4, the classification of closed class items is typically much more problematic than that of open class items, and the informal framework developed in this book is certainly not sophisticated enough to allow us to choose in a well-motivated way between an analysis where determinatives are a subclass of adjective, and one where they constitute a separate class.

(d) Finally, a small number of adjectives (again non-gradable) are used neither attributively nor predicatively: designate, elect, etc., as in the bishop designate; these are very peripheral members of the adjective class- but they are clearly not candidates for inclusion in any of the other primary word­ classes.

Determinatives The term 'determiner' is commonly used both as a functional label (like 'modifier', 'subject', etc.) and as a class label (like 'adjective', 'NP', etc.). It is evident, however, that we do not have here a one-to-one relation between function and class, and I am accordingly restricting the term to one of the above senses, the functional. The determiner function has been discussed in our analysis ofNP structure, but at that point we paid little attention to questions of class. The easiest case to deal with is illus­ trated in, say, the bishop's proposal, where the determiner is realised by a PossP, the bishop's. Some of the other forms given in list (7) in 6.4 rather clearly have the internal structure ofNPs: one-third, three-quarters, three times, afew (cf. a goodfew) , a little, a dozen, etc. This then leaves us with the closed class items the, all, a, some, every, ma'!Y - the items to which 'determiner' as a class label is commonly applied, and which I am instead referring to as 'determinatives' (see 3.1). Traditional grammar has the term 'article', but it is generally restricted to the (the 'definite article') and a (the 'indefinite article'): I have preferred to use the relatively unfamiliar term 'determina­ tive' rather than stretch 'article' so far beyond its traditional application. The determinatives are traditionally analysed as a subclass of adjec­ tives ('limiting adjectives' as opposed to 'descriptive acljectives' like big, good, beautiful), whereas modern grammars more often treat them as a distinct primary class. Clearly they have little in common with proto­ typical adjectives. In general their only adjective-like property is that of
30 4

8.3

Dependents in AdjP structure: complements The range of dependents found in AdjPs is somewhat less varied and complex than in NPs or EVPs. We can again distinguish, however, between complements and modifiers along the same lines as with dependents of nouns and verbs. Let us begin with a brief consideration of complements. A clear example is found in example (gii) in 5.2, Ed is fond ofKim, where the PP of Kim is complement of the adjective fond. As we suggested in the earlier discussion,Jond expresses a two-place semantic predicate (like the verb love): one of the arguments is expressed by the subject Ed, the other by the NP Kim within the PP complement. Apart from the semantic property of including the expression of an argument, of Kim has the two syntactic properties that we have seen to be characteristic of complements:
(a) It depends for its occurrence on the presence in head function of an adjective of the appropriate subclass: we could replaceJond by aftaid, say, but not by keen, sorry, tall, etc. Where the complement is a PP, the choice of preposition is determined by the adjective: Jond oj, keen on, sorry for, similar to, etc. (b) It is obligatory: we cannot have *Ed is fond. However, very few adjec­ tives take obligatory complements - compare afraid (ofthe dark), keen (on the idea), sorry (for the inconvenience), etc., where the parenthesised PP comple­ ments are not syntactically obligatory. Complements of adjectives are generally realised either by PPs, as in the above examples, or by subordinate clauses, as in
(2) (3)

8.4

Ed was angry that he had gone I am unsure whether she can do it

where angry has a declarative content clause as its complement, unsure an interrogative. Examples like (2) and (3) are to be distinguished from It was 30 5

Adjectives and adjective phrases odd that he had gone and It is questionable whether she can do it: these are non­ kernel constructions derived by extraposition from That he had gone was odd and Whether she can do it is questionable, so that the adjective and content clause do not here go together to form a phrase. In addition to finite clauses like those in (2) and (3), we also find non­ finite clauses functioning as complement to an adjective - more specifically infinitival clauses with to: 3
(4) Ed was keen for me to see the manuscript

8.4

Dependents in AdjP structure: complements

Some details of the structure of a form like for me to see the manuscript are problematic: I am assuming thatjOr is a 'subordinating conjunction' (see 10·4) and that me is subject - it differs from a prototypical subject, of course, in that the case-variable pronoun takes thc accusative form in infinitival clauses. More often, the infinitival complement has no subject expressed, asm
(5) (6) Ed was keen to see the manuscript Ed was likely to see the manuscript The dye was ready to use The dye was easy to use

were keen to see the manuscript is not equivalent to Both scholars were keen jOr both scholars to see the manuscript). Conversely, likely expresses a one-place semantic predicate: "That Ed would see the manuscript was likely"; this is why The manuscript was likely to be seen by Ed has the same propositional meaning as (6) (while the pragmatically anomalous The manuscript was keen to be seen by Ed is not propositionally equivalent to (5)), why we can say There were likely to be too many people with vested interests on the committee (but not *There were keen to be .. .), and so on. As with thc catcnative examples, I leave open the question ofwhether, and if so how, this initially semantic distinction should be reflected in our syntac­ tic analysis. Eager, reluctant, glad, sorry, etc. belong with keen, while certain, sure and one or two others belong with likely. With the likely class, the infinitival clause cannot contain an overt subject (* Ed was likely jOr me to see the manuscript), whereas with the keen class it gencrally can, as in (4).
(c) It may well be that (7) and (8) differ from each other in the same way. Ready certainly expresses a two-place semantic predicatc (d. Ed was ready jOr the confirence) , and indeed it can also enter into the construction of (5), as in Ed was ready to go: ambiguities can then arise between the two constructions, as in The lamb was ready to eat, where "the lamb" can be taken as either the under­ stood subject-argument of"eat" ("The lamb was ready to eat its food or what­ ever") or its understood object-argument ("The lamb was ready for them/us/ ... to eat it"). The semantic analysis of (8) is more problematic. The case for treating easy as expressing a one-place semantic predicate rests primarily on the relation between (8) and To use the dye was easy (or, equivalently but more naturally, It was easy to use the dye). On the other hand, the easy of (8) can be used attributively, as in an easy dye to use, which suggests an interpretation of (8) as predicating a property "easy to use" of "the dye", i.e. one where "the dye" is an argument of "easy". We will therefore leave open the nature of the sem­ antic distinction between (7) and (8); syntactically they differ precisely in that it is only the AdjP in (8) that has an attributive use - cf. *a ready dye to use. We have been looking at complements with the form of PPs or clauses: NPs, by contrast, cannot normally function as complement of an adjective. In this res pect, adjectives resem ble nouns: verbs take a greater range ofcom­ plements, with NPs being among the most central. There are just two or three adjectives that do take NP complements, such as like and worth, as in He is very like hisfatherand The land was worth ajOrtune, but they lie on the periphery of the adjective class and are not sharply distinguishable from prepositions (seeCh.IO). Most AdjPs contain no complement at all or just one, but a small number of adjectives allow two: critical of Max jOr his indecisiveness, responsible to the directors jOr implementing the proposal. 4
4

(7)
(8)

There are several different kinds of infinitival complement; the four illus­ trated here may be distinguished along the following lines: (a) In (5) and (6) the understood subject (or subject-argument) of the infinitival clause is recovered from the su bject of the superordinate clause­ i.e. Ed. Thus the semantic relation between Ed and see the manuscript is the same as in the tensed clause Ed saw the manuscript, in which Ed is the actual subject of see the manuscript. In (7) and (8), by contrast, the infinitival clauses lack not only a subject but also an object- and it is the understood object (or object-argument) that is recovered from the subject of the super­ ordinate clause (cf. We used the dye). To be subsumed under the same con­ struction are those where it is the complement of a preposition that is missing from the infinitival clause, as in The knife was ready/ ea~ to cut with. The understood subject-argument in (7) and (8), on the other hand, is recovered pragmatically ~ "The dye was ready for us/ me/him/her/ one ... to use", depending on the contex.t. (b) (5) and (6) differ from each other in just the same way as the catenative constructions Ed expects to amuse Kim and Ed seems to amuse Kim discussed at some length in 5.6.2. Thus keen expresses a two-place semantic predicate: "x was keen for x to see the manuscript, for x = Ed" (note that Both scholars
3

Normally, -ing class clauses require a preposition, rather than entering directly into con­ struction with the adjective: He's not very keen on marking assignments. An exception is worth, as in The idea is worth pursuingJUrther.

In the first example,for has to be replaced by ofirthe other complement is omitted: critical of his indecisiveness.

306

30 7

Adjtctivts and adjtctivt phram
In general, AdjPs containing complements cannot be used attributively - even in the discontinuous construction mentioned in 6.8. Thus we can have, for example, She is keen on hockey (predicative) or a woman keen on hockey (postpositive) but neither *a keen on hockey woman nor *a keen woman on hockey; similarly with finite clause complements: He was angry that he had gone but not *an angry that he had gone man nor *an angry man that he had gone. The exception involves infinitival complements of the kind found in (8) as noted above: an easy car to drive, a diJIicult person to get on with.
8,5

8.5

Dtpmdmts in AdjP structurt: modifim

Dependents in AdjP structure: modifiers

Modifiers normally occur only with grad able adjectives and are concerned primarily with the expression ofdegree. In pre-head position we find a large number of de-adjectival adverbs in -ly (absolutely, completely, enormously, incredibly, profoundly, utterly, etc.) and a small number of other adverbs whose stems are for the most part morphologically simple (how, quite, so, too, very and the non-simple rather, somewhat): absolutely useless, quite good, rather thin. Most of these can take their own modifiers (as profoundly wrong, ever so pretty,)ust how intelligent), so that we should have the pre-head modifier function realised by phrases rather than, immediately, by words. Among the morphologically simple items, special mention should be made of those which belong to both adverb and determinative classes: the, this, that, much, no, any, all. These are adverbs by virtue of their potential to modify adjectives and other adverbs, determinatives by virtue of their potential to function as determiner in NP structure. Thus the adverbial use is illustrated in He was much the wiserfor it, It wasn't all that satisfactory, It was no difftrent }Tom last time, Was it a~ good?, and so on, while the determinative use is found in He hadn't much patience, He lost all that money, It was no mean.feat, Do you want a~ milk? For the most part nouns and adjectives differ with respect to the pre-head dependents they take, but these examples show that there is some overlap - so that the presence of the, this, etc. cannot be taken as sufficient to indicate a nominal construction. Except for the demon­ stratives, however, these adverbs can modify only a quite restricted range of adjectives/adverbs - the, for example, occurs only with comparatives and with same: I'm all the more gratefUl toyou, My.feelings are the same as before. Post-head modifiers are exemplified in
(9) (10)
( 1I)
( I 2)

to go too, and similarly in (10) the than clause could not remain if more were dropped. There is thus something to be said for analysing the subordinate clauses here as dependents of so and more (rather than of the adjectives), with the AdjPs each containing a single discontinuous modifier. I have preferred to take the clauses as separate modifiers of the adjective for two reasons. Firstly, the analytic comparative in (10) may be matched with the inflectional comparative of It was longer than I had expected. If we replace longer by long we must again drop the than clause, yet the latter does not form a syntactic constituent with the comparative inflection: within the framework we have adopted, the les of longer than I had expected could not be long + -er than I had expected, because -er is part of the word longer. Secondly, it would be very difficult to distinguish the discontinuous construction from that where there is a post-head dependent of the adjective. In (12), for example, the infinitival clause seems to be closely linked to the too: the meaning is that the degree of sleepiness was excessive relative to the goal of concentrating, and if we drop the too while retaining the infinitival clause the result sounds quite unnatural. Yet if we change the lexical content to, say, He was too old to be doing that kind ofwork, it is certainly possible to drop just the too. Similarly in ([ [) we could not drop the first as, but in examples like She was as slim as a reed we could. Examples (12)-(14) illustrate three distinct kinds of infinitival clause modifier. In (12) the understood subject-argument of the infinitival clause is recovered from the subject of the main clause (it is a matter of Ed's concentrating), whereas in (13) and ([ 4) it is recovered pragmatically ­ and these latter may contain an overt subject afterfor: ratheryoungfor them to send on such a mission, and so on. The difference between (13) and (14) is that the infinitival clause in (13) is structurally incomplete in that it lacks an object (or the complement ofa preposition, as in The wall was too high to climb over), with the understood argument being recoverable from the subject of the main clause (in (13) it is a matter of sending Ed on the mission). Infinitival clauses, as we saw in the last section, also function as comple­ ment in AdjP structure: let us therefore pause briefly to clarify the distinc­ tion between the two constructions as exemplified in, say,
( [5)
II

( [3) ([ 4)

Ed was so tall that he could see over the wall It was more usefUL than I had expected It was as long as six feet Ed was too sleepy to concentrate Ed was ratheryoung to send on such a mission It was warm to be wearing an overcoat

He was anxious to be a minister He was young to be a minister

Complement ModifierS

(a) Semantically, the complement corresponds to an argument of the adjectival semantic predicate: (i) may be compared to He wanted to be a
5

In some cases the post-head modifier is closely linked to a pre-head modifier: in (9), for example, ifwe dropped the so the that clause would have

As with verb and noun heads, we can probably not make a completely sharp distinction between complements and modifiers; it is possible, for example, that the constructions of (7) and (8) above should also be differentiated as involving a complement and modifier respectively.

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Adjectives and adjective phrases minister. The modifier, on the other hand, is concerned with the specific­ ation of degree. Gradable adjectives generally involve some kind of comparison - explicit, as in Ed is smaller than Max, or implicit, as in Ed is small. That there is implicit comparison in the latter becomes evident when we imagine what sizes the clause would attribute to Ed if he were a six­ month-old baby, a ten-year old boy, an adult human or, say, a circus elephant: the standard with which he is being compared and judged small would be quite different. The semantic effect of the modifier in (ii) is thus to specify the standard - "young in comparison with the standard age for ministers" .
(b) The complement, as noted earlier, depends for its occurrence on the selection of an adjective head allowing an infinitival complement: we could replace anxious in (i) by afraid, eager, reluctant, etc., but not by considerate, responsible, similar and the like. The modifier,. however, can occur with all gradable adjectives, though it will often sound more natural if there is also a pre-head modifier, as in our sleepy exampIe, (12). (c) The two can combine, with the complement preceding the modifier: He was too anxious to win to appreciate such niceties (some pre-head modifier is just about obligatory in such cases). (d) There is, potentially, a prosodic distinction between (i) and (ii): a natural pronunciation of the latter would have two intonation contours, the first having the stress on young, the second on min( ister) , but (i) would not be spoken in this way. It is not always easy to distinguish clearly between modifiers in Adj P structure and adjuncts in clause structure. Consider the examples
(16) (17)

805

Dependents in AdjP structure: modifiers

natural to analyse obviously as a modifier of discreet. With be, the analysis is more difficult. One might argue that we can again distinguish between an interpretation where obviously relates to the being indiscreet ("It is obvious that he was indiscreet") and one where it relates just to the indiscretion "He was blatantly indiscreet"). He obviously was indiscreet allows only the former interpretation, but (17) allows either - and it is then tempting to say that (17) is structurally ambiguous. Notice, however, that obviously can enter into construction with an adjective used attributively, as in his obviously indiscreet ex-secretary- and this allows either of the above interpreta­ tions. It seems that attributive AdjPs permit a wider range of modifiers, with some of them corresponding to adjuncts in clause structure in the matching predicative construction - compare her at that time still industrious husband with Her husband was at that time still industrious.
FURTHER READING
On adjectives in general, see Quirk et al. 197 1: Ch. 5, Bowers 1975· On the adjective + infinitive construction, see Bolinger 1961, Silva & Thompson 1977, Nanni 1980.

He was too indiscreet He was obviously indiscreet

1

The first is straightforward: too, in the sense "excessively", cannot function as an adjunct - we could not replace excessively by too in this sense in She had loved him excessively and the like (the corresponding degree adj unct is too much); in (16) the too is thus clearly a modifier of indiscreet. Obviously, on the other hand, can be an adjunct - what we have called a modal adjunct, as in She obviously loved him - and it clearly has this function in Obviously he was indiscreet or He obviously was indiscreet. If we take a copulative verb other than be, such as become or seem, we find a clear semantic contrast between He obviously became indiscreet ("It is obvious that he became indiscreet") and He became obviously indiscreet ("He came to exhibit obvious indiscretion"): in the first it is the becoming indiscreet that was obvious, and here obviously is an adjunct, in the second there is a change from one state to another, with obviously characterising the indiscretion of the second state - and here it is
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