Raymond,

Your example is similar to Gustavo's.  "[A]bove my house" is an adjectival prepositional phase modifying "tree", just as "in the black dress" is an adjectival modifying "woman".  In each case, the modifying prepositional phrase becomes a part of the prepositional phrase whose object it is modifying.  What might be slightly confusing about Gustavo's reply is that the entire phrase "with the woman in the black dress" is actually adverbial; it does not modify the noun "love", but rather the verb "fell", or more specifically, the set verbal phrase "fell in love".

This answer is, of course, based on the assumption that the tree itself is actually above your house, not just the birds in it.

DocV

Raymond. posted:

When can a prepositional phrase modify the object of another preposition? Can anyone offer a clear explanation?

Hello, Raymond,

To add to the points made by Gustavo and DocV, I'd like to say that a prepositional phrase can modify the object of another preposition whenever the prepositional phrase describes an attribute of the object of the preceding preposition.

There is no limit to the number of propositional phrases that may modify the objects of other prepositions. In theory, we could have a sentence that no one could finish uttering in his or her lifetime, owing to the presence of an infinite series of prepositional phrases embedded within other prepositional phrases.

She liked [the dress [on [the rack [by [the counter [in [the store [near [the highway [in [the city [by [the lake [in [the state [within [the country [by [the ocean]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]] . . . .

In that sentence, "the dress," which is the direct object of "liked," is modified by the prepositional phrase "on the rack by the counter in the store near the highway in the city by the lake in the state within the country by the ocean." That is all one big prepositional phrase.

Within that PP, the object of the (first use of the) P "on," namely, "the rack," is modified by the PP "by the counter in the store near the highway in the city by the lake in the state within the country by the ocean." If you like, you can tell us what PP modifies "the counter," the object of the (first use of the) P "by."

Doc V posted:

Raymond,

Your example is similar to Gustavo's.  "[A]bove my house" is an adjectival prepositional phase modifying "tree", just as "in the black dress" is an adjectival modifying "woman".  In each case, the modifying prepositional phrase becomes a part of the prepositional phrase whose object it is modifying.  What might be slightly confusing about Gustavo's reply is that the entire phrase "with the woman in the black dress" is actually adverbial; it does not modify the noun "love", but rather the verb "fell", or more specifically, the set verbal phrase "fell in love".

This answer is, of course, based on the assumption that the tree itself is actually above your house, not just the birds in it.

DocV

Thank you.

David, Moderator posted:
Raymond. posted:

When can a prepositional phrase modify the object of another preposition? Can anyone offer a clear explanation?

Hello, Raymond,

To add to the points made by Gustavo and DocV, I'd like to say that a prepositional phrase can modify the object of another preposition whenever the prepositional phrase describes an attribute of the object of the preceding preposition.

There is no limit to the number of propositional phrases that may modify the objects of other prepositions. In theory, we could have a sentence that no one could finish uttering in his or her lifetime, owing to the presence of an infinite series of prepositional phrases embedded within other prepositional phrases.

She liked [the dress [on [the rack [by [the counter [in [the store [near [the highway [in [the city [by [the lake [in [the state [within [the country [by [the ocean]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]] . . . .

In that sentence, "the dress," which is the direct object of "liked," is modified by the prepositional phrase "on the rack by the counter in the store near the highway in the city by the lake in the state within the country by the ocean." That is all one big prepositional phrase.

Within that PP, the object of the (first use of the) P "on," namely, "the rack," is modified by the PP "by the counter in the store near the highway in the city by the lake in the state within the country by the ocean." If you like, you can tell us what PP modifies "the counter," the object of the (first use of the) P "by."

 

Raymond. posted:

Thank you for the clear explanation; all understood and noted.

PS. The like button is not working?

Raymond,

This is true.  When the new format was imposed on us, our moderator David felt that he, Gustavo, and I, as well as several other members, were distinguished scholars to the extent that the "like" feature of Facebook and Mickey Mouse Club culture was beneath the dignity of this forum.  I am in complete agreement with him.

I speak for all of us though, when I say that we appreciate it when you take the time to write "thank you".

Unfortunately, although we have managed to get the "like" button disabled, we have not yet been able to make it disappear.

David?  No pressure here, but I do understand Raymond's frustration.

Thanks to all,

DocV

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