They may become active in consumer movements for political reasons.

There are two PPs in this sentence, but I am not sure what they modify,
do both PP go with the verb become or the adjective active,
and what is the term for this kind of PP, complement or adverb?

The students are apathetic about politics in Japan.

There are also two PPs in this sentence, and the same question confuses me,
my guess is that the PP about politics goes with apathetic,
while in Japan goes with the noun politics?

So both sentences have similar syntax,
but the first one have two PPs that modify the same thing, verb(become) or adjective(active) ,
while the second one have two PPs that modify different things ,one with adj(apathetic) and one with noun (Japan), is this correct?


1 Answer 1


You're mostly right.

In sentence 1, in consumer movements is a complement of the adjective active, for political reasons modifies the predicate become active in consumer movements.

In sentence 2, about politics is a complement of the adjective apathetic. in Japan is a little ambiguous: it probably modifies the entire predication Students are apathetic about politics (which in effect would be understood as Students in Japan are apathetic), but it may be that it only modifies politics — that is, "Students are apathetic about Japanese politics (but may be excited about, say, Chinese politics)". Context will usually resolve the ambiguity.

  • Thank you! ‘for political reasons’modifies the predicate “become active for in consumer movements” , why is there a “for” and what does it stand for?
    – Frank
    Feb 19, 2019 at 1:01
  • 1
    @Kathy Because I'm an idiot! I don't know how it got into my fingers on the keyboard. Feb 19, 2019 at 1:03

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