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I am studying Linguistics and for the life of me, I cannot seem to get my head around X bar theory. I have to figure out the X bar sytax tree of this sentence:

"I love the cover of the book very much".

I am okay with the first part of the sentence, but I never know how to include the AdvP "very much". I would very much appreciate if someone could demonstrate this or construct this tree using X bar theory. Also, if anyone has or knows of any materials to help me understand X bar theory better, I would also appreciate that!

Thanks

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  • Personally I think this is a syntax question that's okay to keep open. It's asking about how to represent a specific grammatical element in a specific theory. And while "X-bar" is a pretty broad term, it's hard to imagine a version of the theory that doesn't have adjuncts.
    – Draconis
    Oct 25, 2022 at 21:35

1 Answer 1

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The AdvP here isn't a complement or a specifier, but a separate third thing: an adjunct, a modifier that's attached to an entire, completed phrase.

In other words, you have your VP "love the cover of the book" (formed from a V and an NP). The AdvP adjoins to this, producing a larger VP.

syntax tree showing the adjunct

Adjuncts are always optional, always attach to a complete (P-level) phrase, and never change its category. If you look up "adjunct syntax" you'll find lots of tests to determine if something is an adjunct or a complement (or a specifier, in X-bar specifically).

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