Please find an example of post-modification in the following paragraph.The young man thought to himself, "What a perfect picture this is of the commonplace times we live in."  But at least it had...

Please find an example of post-modification in the following paragraph.

The young man thought to himself, "What a perfect picture this is of the commonplace times we live in."  But at least it had set him thinking.  He had found the flash of an idea at the old lady's doorway.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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There are a couple of noun postmodifications in your example paragraph. Postmodification of nouns is the syntactical function that adds information directly related to a preceding noun in a sentence. Postmodification maybe as simple as a basic prepositional phrase, as in "the tale of yore," or as complex as a finite clause with embedded clauses and/or phrases, like this postmodifier of the noun "reeds" that begins with a prepositional phrase: "reeds by the cold water of the river that is the only spawning ground of the protected fish that for generations are found only here, which is the site of the planned Reserve."

Your paragraph presents a couple of challenges in analyzing the syntax of the sentences. For one thing, "What a perfect picture this is," might be analyzed as having a delayed Verb "is" and therefore substituted by the paraphrase, "What a perfect picture is this." In this case, "of the commonplace times ..." would be analyzed as a postmodifying prepositional phrase (PrepP) that modifies the pronoun (P) "this," which refers to "picture" in the noun phrase (NP) "a perfect picture."

The second challenge is the clause "we (S) live (V) in (Adv; C)." This must be recognized as part of a finite that-clause with an omitted "that": "that we live in." With this substitution, another postmodifier is identifiable: "of the commonplace times that we live in." The that-clause postmodifies the noun "times," which is the ending noun of the prepositional phrase Complement "of the commonplace times." Along with these challenges, there is one more postmodifier.

In the sentence, "He had found the flash of an idea at the old lady's doorway," the prepositional phrase "of an idea" postmodifies the noun "flash" in the Object of the Verb "found." One might be tempted to see the prepositional phrase "at the old lady's doorway" as a postmodifier of the noun "idea." However, this analysis won't hold as "at the doorway ..." is actually an Adverbial Phrase (AdvlP) of Place that answers Where? he found the flash of an idea.   

He (S; PN) had found (V) [{the flash (NP)} {of an idea (PrepP; post-modifier of N "idea")} (O)] [at the old lady's doorway (AdvlP of Place).]

Full Paragraph Syntactical Analysis:
The young man (S; NP) thought (V) to himself (C; PrepP), {"What a perfect picture (S; Advl; Relative what-clause)} this (PN) is (delayed Verb in what-clause) (V) [{of the commonplace times (PrepP)} {[that] we live in" (Finite that-clause; post-modifier of N "times")} (C)].  [But at least {it (PN)} (S; NP)] had set (V) him (DO {"victim"}) thinking (GER; IO {activity of "victim"}).  He (S; PN) had found (V) [[{the flash (NP)} {of an idea (PrepP; post-modifier of N "idea")}] {at the old lady's doorway (AdvlP of Place)} (O).]

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