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Scope of an adverb in a verb phrase

Discussion in 'English Only' started by lycen, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. lycen Senior Member

    Singapore
    English and Chinese
    Hi, I really need help in this.
    Adverbs/Adverbial phrases are used to describe verbs.

    He is sleepy every day. 'Every day' applies to 'is'.


    What about those with auxiliary verb + main verb?

    Present Passive

    It is used every day.
    It is not used every day.

    Does the scope of 'every day' cover the main verb 'used' only?

    Simple Present

    The dog does not bark frequently.

    Does 'frequently' modify the main verb 'bark' only?

    Present Progressive

    The hamster is running every night.
    The hamster is not running every night.

    Does the scope of 'every night' cover the main verb 'running' only?
     
  2. aieruz Senior Member

    Euskal Herria
    Basque,
    Hi Lycen,
    I cannot see your point in asking that. Could you provide some more sentences that may pose a problem as to whether the adverb 'modifies' or 'covers' an element in the sentence other than the verb?
    What do you mean by: does 'frequently' modify the main verb 'bark' only? Are you thinking of a difference is meaning between the positive and negative sentences in each pair?

    aieruz
     
  3. lycen Senior Member

    Singapore
    English and Chinese
    To clarify what I'm getting on,

    You do not - (for negative) play every day.

    Adverbial scope is only on main verb 'play'. If it modified the whole sentence, it would mean 'Every day, I do not play' which is a different meaning.

    Another example:
    It is not used every day' and 'It is not used every day' because the latter means 'Every day, it is not used'.
     
  4. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    I agree with aieruz: you haven't given us a choice. All your examples really just have one verb in different tenses or polarities. It is possible for scopes to be ambiguous or different if you use a second verb that has a real semantic content of its own:

    He intends to run every day.
    Every day he intends to run.

    She pretends to go to work every morning.
    Every morning she pretends to go to work.

    Edit: As I was writing this you posted a reply, but I still can't see any difference in your examples.
     
  5. lycen Senior Member

    Singapore
    English and Chinese
    You do not play every day can be interpreted in 2 ways but we usually interpret it as (1):

    (1) You do not play every day. - Adverb scope is on main verb 'play'; playing happens less frequently, not on a daily basis. <<<< Normally we use this scope

    (2) Every day you do not play. - Adverb scope is on the whole sentence; You never play. 'Do' is part of the repetitive action.

    What I'm trying to say is that normally which adverb scope do we associate with such examples I've listed? Does the scope of the adverb cover the whole sentence or just the main verb itself? These examples:

    Present Passive

    It is used every day.
    It is not used every day.

    Simple Present

    The dog does not bark frequently.

    Present Progressive

    The hamster is running every night.
    The hamster is not running every night.

    Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010

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