Fundamental Concept:
An adjectival is any word, or group of words that modify a noun or noun phrase (NP)
It is important to realize that a word, phrase, or clause is identified by how it is used in a sentence—the definition is found in context

A headword is the noun in a sentence, phrase or clause signaled by the determiner.  The headword is the NPs main topic stripped of its modifiers.

  • The house  (det – headword)

Defined as the word class that signals nouns, determiners include, articles, possessive nouns, possessive pronouns (my, your, his, etc.) and demonstrative pronouns (this, that, these, those).   With a minimum of analysis, you can identify determiners with simple intrinsic common sense.

  •  Note that determiners (as the first words of sentences/clauses) can be used stylistically to set up a sentences mood, often as a tool of transition.  (165)

Nouns and Adjectives
The hierarchy of modification never changes.  Note the format here:

  • determiner – adjective --  *noun -- headword

*The noun here becomes adjectival in context,  because of the way it is used in the NP
Note the rules for comma use and hyphens on pg 167 (Kolln)

Because of language’s dynamic (and seemingly endless) modification system, all modifiers are apt to be modified as well (e.g. qualifiers) but, no matter how much modification occurs, the headword will remain the same.  It is the headword, in fact, that validates the modification process.

Put simply, post noun modifiers are those words phrases, clauses, that follow the headword.
e.g., The cat with the red tail living in the house across the street from my mother’s house in Newport Arkansas just above the first dam on the Arkansas River.

Prepositional Phrases
Again, the PP is defined in context.  If it modifies a noun it is an adjectival.  If it modifies a verb, it is an adverbial

Relative Clauses (Adjectival Clauses)
Relative (or adjectival) clauses are dependent clauses that modify the headword of a NP.
Like nominal clauses (that serve as subjects or objects) relative clauses begin with words we have formerly seen as expletive or an interrogative, BUT these clauses  become adjectivals (modifiers of the headword) in context.

  • Note, as well, that what is defined as an interrogative in nominal clauses becomes a relative pronoun in the relative clause.
  • Note, as well, that each relative pronoun will have an antecedent

Thus:   (see 175)

  • 1)  The relative pronoun renames the headword of the NP in which it appears
  • 2)  The relative pronoun fills a slot in its own clause
  • 3)  The relative pronoun always introduces a clause

Relative Adverbs
The relative adverb where introduces clauses that modify nouns of place.  Likewise
when = time, why = reason

Participial Phrases
A participle is an ing, en, or, ed verb that acts as an adjectival
A participial phrase  begins with a participle

Like adjectivals, the appositive adds info to the noun through a clarification, reinforcement of the what the noun is.  The appositive further defines the noun/headword and works well to heighten a writer’s efficiency in both information and style.