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Where is the modifier in "the majority of senators", "a number of students" and in "a range of documents" in these sentences:

  1. The majority of senators will be fired tomorrow.

  2. A number of students might not be able to take the test.

  3. The range of documents could only increase.

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A modifier is one phrase or part of speech placed into another phrase to refine its meaning wihtout changing its grammatical role or impact on parts of the sentence outside the phrase. (The majority of) senators will be fired tomorrow. (A number of) students might not be able to take the test. (A range of) documents could only increase. More examples: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modifier_(grammar) Phil –  Phil Whittington Jan 13 '11 at 19:09
    
@Phil that should be posted as an answer, not a comment. –  morganpdx Jan 13 '11 at 19:19
    
@Phil: Thank you for this answer, but if I choose to follow that definition, then in the third example the modifier must be "of documents", isn't it? After all, it is the range that is increasing there, not documents. –  brilliant Jan 13 '11 at 19:21
    
@Phil: I am sorry it should be "The range of documents..." - just edited. So, in case of "The range of documents could be increased", the modifier is "of documents", right? –  brilliant Jan 13 '11 at 19:31
    
@morganpdx - thanks, have posted as answer. –  Phil Whittington Jan 13 '11 at 19:46
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

A modifier is one phrase or part of speech placed into another phrase to refine its meaning without changing its grammatical role or impact on parts of the sentence outside the phrase.

(The majority of) senators will be fired tomorrow.

(A number of) students might not be able to take the test.

The range (of documents) could only increase.

More examples: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modifier_(grammar)

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Thank you, Phil!!! –  brilliant Jan 13 '11 at 19:47
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