chapter  III
20 Pages

2 Eventive and agentive noun phrases: modifiers and qualifiers

We saw at the beginning of section III.1.ii that noun-based stretched verb constructions have the potential for adjectival expansion before the eventive noun to correspond to adverbial expansion of the corresponding simple eventive verb (as in make a quick adjustment to smth beside adjust smth quickly). The range of adjectives possible with a given eventive noun must therefore at least partly depend on the adverbs that could have occurred in the corresponding eventive verb construction. Adverbs are of course diverse: some of them (such as degree adverbs) are closely linked to the lexical verb and involve collocational restrictions (e.g. deeply disappoint but severely injure); others (such as place) modify the whole verb phrase or predicate, while still others operate at the sentence level. While it is true that adjectives in the noun phrase do need to be ordered relative to each other (e.g. substantial immediate direct legal action rather than, say, ??legal direct immediate substantial action), the important point is that most adjectives in the noun phrase occur simply between the determiner and the head noun. The wide variety of possible adverbs, on the other hand, differ considerably in susceptibility to collocational restrictions, in potential for occurrence in the different sentence positions (including subtle differences in medial position), in replaceability with a preposition phrase, etc. A survey of the range of English adverbials is given in Appendix 1, which largely follows the scheme of Allerton and Cruttenden (1974, 1978).