70 votes
Accepted

The intensifier 'pure D': where and when did it originate, and what does the D stand for?

The trail of dees goes back to the mid-1800s, as follows. First, OED Online defines "puredee, adj. (and adv.)" (with forms pure-D, pure-d, pure dee, puredee, pure-dee, puredy, pure-T, all from the ...
JEL's user avatar
  • 32.8k
27 votes
Accepted

Non-existing or nonexisting

Short answer: neither. The word you want is nonexistent. Longer answer: You can actually add a "non" prefix to any word to make up something new, even if it's not in the dictionary. (If you ...
Jason Bassford's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

How should a multiple-word noun be punctuated within a compound adjective?

Bryan Garner, Garner's Modern American Usage (2003) has a useful discussion of this problem in his lengthy coverage of phrasal adjectives: E. The Compound Conundrum. When the first or last element ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 163k
10 votes

What does "among whom" refer to?

No, there is no ambiguity. The author found herself among the people on whom pranks/jokes were played. If she had found herself among the 'cool kids', the phrase would immediately follow the mention ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 25.3k
10 votes

Can I use an adjective as a modifier at the beginning of a sentence?

It can be either and that depends on what the person wants to say. If they want to say that they smashed someone's head into a wall because they were angry, then the first sentence is the right one. ...
LPH's user avatar
  • 20k
9 votes

Should "gerund + objective" be modified by adjectives or adverbs?

Form versus Function This is a perennial confusion, one deriving in part from different sources using the word “gerund” in conflicting and contradictory ways, some of which are based in older ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 134k
8 votes

The intensifier 'pure D': where and when did it originate, and what does the D stand for?

Harold Wentworth, American Dialect Dictionary (1944) notes two early instances of "pure D" (and one in which "pure bee" may serve as an intensifier)—all from 1941—in its entry for ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 163k
8 votes
Accepted

What's the difference between adjuncts and modifiers?

In short: adjuncts may or may not be integrated into the syntactical structure of the sentence. If they are, they are called modifiers; if they are not, supplements. There is also a category that ...
linguisticturn's user avatar
7 votes

The intensifier 'pure D': where and when did it originate, and what does the D stand for?

A very quick google led me to this post on WordWizard by user Ken Greenwald ...The evidence, however, looks pretty strong to me for the probable origin provided by the Dictionary of American ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 2,353
6 votes
Accepted

In structures such as 'football manager', is 'football' a modifier or a complement of the head noun?

Short answer (Assuming that Modifiers and Complements exist ...) It's a Complement. Here's some evidence, which will be explained in more detail in the longer answer. Firstly, the noun manager ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
6 votes

Should "gerund + objective" be modified by adjectives or adverbs?

To supplement the excellent answer from tchrist, I'll answer your question: For example, is it OK to say "With my persistent broadening the horizon of my knowledge of cosmology, my interest in it ...
Greg Lee's user avatar
  • 17.3k
6 votes
Accepted

What is the nature of, and syntactic distinction between, modifier and complement?

Here is an extract from another post of mine, slightly modified: 1.0 Complements versus Modifiers 1.1 Complements OK, so let´s have a look at what Modifiers and Complements actually are. Well, ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
6 votes

Can I use an adjective as a modifier at the beginning of a sentence?

The appositive meaning of "Angry" and "he" is clear and unambiguous so there is no reason to avoid the construction. Cambridge dictionary quotes an identical construct, albeit ...
Anton's user avatar
  • 28.6k
6 votes

What part of speech is ‘just’ in the sentence “It’s just me”?

Just is modifying me here, not is It’s just me. In a comment, BillJ wrote: In your example, it's a adverb functioning as a focusing modifier of "me". "Just me" is thus a noun ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 134k
5 votes

Are these uses of infinitive phrases syntactic modifiers or syntactic complements, and of what?

[1] He is the person [ to contact __ if you need any advice]. [2] There is a person [ __ to connect A PC to B PC]. In both examples, the bracketed element is an infinitival relative clause ...
BillJ's user avatar
  • 12.5k
4 votes
Accepted

What's large about the Large Hadron Collider?

The "large" refers to the machine, not to the hadrons. The name was chosen in 1984, and the "large" part was carried over from the "Large Electron-Positron Collider", in whose tunnel the LHC was ...
Max Williams's user avatar
  • 23.1k
4 votes

The right way to at the same time talk of a modified adjective and its unmodified form?

How increasingly pervasive...? is an awkward construction which appears to be asking two questions, not just one: It is pervasive ... How pervasive is it? Its pervasiveness is increasing ... How ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
4 votes

A weird case : "The kitchen’s window" vs "The kitchen window"

They only vary slightly. The village church: The church which is located in the village. The village's church: The church which belongs to the village. In the first sentence it's used a bit like "...
Patrick's user avatar
  • 110
4 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between an adjective and a noun modifier?

Grammatical terms are not always used consistently in different sources. In general, the term noun modifier is usually a broad term, often encompassing adjectives, nouns used to modify other nouns, ...
Athanasius's user avatar
  • 2,373
4 votes

Are adjectives and adverbs just collapsed version of adjuncts?

At the most fundamental level, you are confusing the concept of a part of speech with the concept of grammatical function. (You are also somewhat mixing up syntax and semantics, but let me say no more ...
linguisticturn's user avatar
4 votes

Why do we take things personally with an adverb but take them easy with an adjective? How can this be justified?

They seem to me to be different constructions. Take it easy is a fixed phrase, an imperative meaning "Relax!" The verb take is required, and the it is required; you hafta have an object, and ...
John Lawler's user avatar
4 votes

How do you parse the noun phrase 'Even the manager herself'?

The three possibilities being considered are: [Even [[the manager] herself]] had approved the proposal. [[Even [the manager]] herself] had approved the proposal. [[Even] [the manager] [herself]] had ...
alphabet's user avatar
  • 17.5k
3 votes

'Well' after: How to use 'well after' in a sentence?

It is hard to tell for certain which part of speech this usage of the well represents. If you search very hard in dictionaries, you may be able to find the correct definition of this word listed under ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Which clause does the adverb modify in this sentence?

The adverb is only modifying the first clause. The members concealed their identities (and thus their membership in the KKK from those they dealt with on a day-to-day basis) by wearing masks at all ...
Justin's user avatar
  • 2,438
3 votes

Which grammar rule allows us to modify a clause with an -ing?

Including here is a present participle (or "gerund-participle", if you follow Huddleston & Pullum). There are a number of ways of parsing its use here: as the head of an adjectival participle ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

"Render" vs "rendering" as modifiers

The ultimate aim of language is not to satisfy the rules of grammar - it is to communicate. Grammar conventions aid communication, but communication is often better served by sticking to domain-...
Max Williams's user avatar
  • 23.1k
3 votes

Than as modifier

than his father is not a modifier but the complement of the comparative adjective better.† The comparative construction -er .. than his father modifies the adjective good, and the resultant AP ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

How very dare you!

It is strange, and jarring, for "very" to modify a verb, which is the joke here. Normally as an adverb, "very" is only an intensifier and only capable of modifying adjectives or other adverbs. As an ...
Aoin Douglas's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

A weird case : "The kitchen’s window" vs "The kitchen window"

First off, in the source sentence: The kitchen’s window and door combination has an arch similar to that of the brick-in arch elsewhere in the facade. The possessive "kitchen's" does not modify "...
Hot Licks's user avatar
  • 27.4k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible