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I would really appreciate if somebody could help me and provide a short explanation. The sentence is as follows:

The latest research on dieting always warns people about the dangers of too much cholesterol.

"The dangers of too much cholesterol" should be a constituent, but I'm having trouble showing that while drawing the tree (using x-bar theory) as I'm unsure where to add the last PP.

Any help would be much appreciated!

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  • It's a PP complement to the NP "the dangers". Inside that NP, the structure is the same as in any N'/PP constituent. – lemontree Nov 27 '16 at 18:45
  • Thank you! By the way are 'too' and 'much' both adverbs in this sentence? How should be this AdvP represented? – Julia Nov 27 '16 at 19:03
  • Probably 'much' is a quantifier in [Spec, NP], modified by an AdvP headed by 'too'. The whole thing is an AP. (Some recent theorists propose a NumP between NP and DP, but this probably isn't assumed in introductory syntax classes.) – WavesWashSands Nov 27 '16 at 19:07
  • Nice question. Welcome to Linguistics SE! – Alenanno Nov 27 '16 at 23:33
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Assuming that you're unsure as to whether it's a complement or an adjunct, standard tests can be applied:

(1) Optionality: #The latest research on dieting always warns people about the dangers. (Not possible except when the PP is elided)

Compare: I tied my shoelaces (at noon).

(2) Restrictions on type: *The latest research on dieting always warns people about the dangers at sleeping late. ('Dangers' requires 'of', not 'at')

Compare: I tied my shoelaces in the washroom/at school/during recess.

(3) Restrictions on number: *The latest research on dieting always warns people about the dangers of too much cholesterol of too little sleep. (Can't have more than one complement)

Compare: I tied my shoelaces in the washroom at school during recess.

(4) Restrictions on position: *Of too little sleep, the latest research on dieting always warns people about the dangers.

Compare: At school, I tied my shoelaces.

All these point to the PP being a complement, so it should be the daughter of N' and the sister of N.

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    I agree with the conclusion, but the reasons (1)-(4) are not good. You'd need to show that these diagnostics give different results for adjuncts. The example in (2) is not ungrammatical. – Greg Lee Nov 28 '16 at 7:00
  • Point taken; I've adjusted accordingly. – WavesWashSands Nov 30 '16 at 4:47

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