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328 Study Questions: Kolln Chapter Six: "Modifiers of the Noun: Adjectivals"

Vocabulary (see pages 369-84 of Kolln): adjectival, adjectival clause, adjectival infinitive, adjectival prepositional phrase, adjective, adverbial participle, antecedent, case, dangling participle, demonstrative pronoun, determiner, functional shift, free modifier, headword, intonation, nonrestrictive modifier, participial phrase, participle, passive participle, possessive case, postheadword modifier, preheadword modifier, relative adverb, relative clause, relative pronoun, restrictive modifier


  • In the chapter preview, Kolln notes that adjective applies to a word class with particular characteristics, not just a grammatical function. He points out that the adjective is only one of many structures that can modify a noun. What example does he refer to from chapter two to illustrate this fact?
  • A noun phrase must fill one slot (at least) in every sentence. What is that slot?
  • In the postheadword position, what sort of phrases and clauses can appear modifying a noun? (Three answers here.)
  • What fills the headword slot in a noun phrase, of course?
  • What litmus tests can we use to determine if a word is a noun by using our innate language abilities?
  • What common subject-verb agreement error results from confusion about headwords?
  • What exception appears to the normal system of noun phrases when it comes to determining subject-verb agreement?
  • What type of words are included in the "determiner" class?
  • What are some types of nouns that cannot use any determiners?
  • If an adjective, a determiner, and a noun are attached to a noun headword, what order must they appear in? For example, suppose we had the adjective ugly, the determiner a, and the noun clay applied to a headword like statue. What order must these words appear in a sentence? We couldn't write, "clay a statue ugly" to describe the object. What hidden rules govern analytic word order here?
  • What is a functional shift?
  • On page 140, what general rule of thumb does our textbook suggest when it comes to inserting a comma between modifiers (stacked adjectives)? How does using two adjectives of the same "class" affect whether or not we will insert a comma between them?
  • How do hyphens help make the relationship clear between qualifiers or intensifiers and their adjectives?
  • One exception exists to the rule above concerning hyphens. Adverbs ending in what common suffix are an exception here.
  • Explain the difference in punctuation here in these two sentences:
    We will have our movie party at the end of the semester.
    We will have an end-of-the-semester movie party.
  • On page 142, how does the diagram for "an important career decision" not accurately reflect the meaning of the phrase according to the footnote?
  • Adjectival prepositional phrases modify what part of speech?
  • A human being's internal "linguistic computer" most readily associates a modifier with what word? How can that lead to potential confusion if a writer isn't careful?
  • What's another term for a relative clause?
  • Are relative clauses ever dependent? Independent? Can they be both?
  • Relative clauses answer what two possible questions about the noun or pronoun they modify?
  • What is an antecedent?
  • What is the objective case of who?
  • What is the possessive case of who?
  • What part of speech is the word which?
  • Some sentences use an optional that. Other sentences absolutely require the the word that, and cannot delete it. When it is possible (and Dr. Wheeler would argue even preferable!) to delete the relative that?
  • The subordinate conjunctions also include three relative adverbs that replace an adverbial structure in a clause. What are these three relative adverbs?
  • Give three examples of adjectival participial phrases. To show your complete mastery, show each example fitting in three different nominal slots.
  • On page 154, what are the three key points to understanding participles?
  • Prenoun participles function like what part of speech? (i.e., what "slot" do they fit in when it comes to preheadword positions?
  • Give an example of a present participle. Give an example of a past participle.
  • Subject complements and object complements, as we discussed in chapter two, can be adjectives. However, anything an adjective can do, a participle can do also. Give example of prepositional phrase functioning as an object complement.
  • What's a fairly reliable test to determine if a sentence has an object complement?
  • A participial phrase that modifies the subject usually appears at the start of the sentence. Where else could we place it?
  • What is a "free modifier"?
  • What is a dangling modifier?
  • Explain the difference between a restrictive clause and a nonrestrictive clause. How are they punctuated differently? How does the meaning change in each case?
  • Explain the difference between a restrictive participle and a nonrestrictive participle. How are they punctuated differently? How does the meaning change in each case?
  • According to Francis Christensen, how can such clauses or participles end up creating the wrong impression in a reader if the writer isn't careful?
  • What is an infinitive?
  • Noun phrases of time and place can follow what word? How are such phrases diagrammed?


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