What sort of constituent is "especially dumplings" in "I like Chinese food, especially dumplings"?



Compare the following sentences:

I like Chinese food, especially dumplings.

I know " I " is a subject, "like" is a predicate, and "Chinese food" is an object, but what about "especially dumpling"? What kind of grammatical constituent is "especially dumpling"?

I think this sentence is similar to:

I like Chinese food, for example, dumplings.

I think "for example" is a parenthesis, although the meanings and the functions of "for example" and "especially" are different. I can't figure out what sort of grammatical constituents they are.


Posted 2013-11-07T04:02:42.123

Reputation: 4 786

Isn't it an adverb? – Safira – 2013-11-07T04:12:14.313

@Safira It is an adverb which is the part of speech,but it's not a sentence constituent,right? – user48070 – 2013-11-07T04:22:56.097

Yea. That's pretty much it. You can say it I like Chinese food., but not I like especially dumpling. That means without it, especially dumpling, the sentence is just fine. – Safira – 2013-11-07T04:31:42.607

4This should say dumplings. Unless there is only one giant dumpling in the entire world and everyone eats pieces of it, dumpling in the singular doesn't make sense here ;) – WendiKidd – 2013-11-08T03:22:39.260

I especially like dumplings is the sentence that gets cropped like the above. "Especially" applies to "like" - strengthening it. – SF. – 2013-12-16T09:55:05.933

Somehow I feel that it could be parsed in more than one way. At first glance, it's easy to understand it as [I like Chinese food] and [I especially like dumplings]. However, we can see it as an apposition too: [I like [Chinese food, [especially dumplings]]. To support this argument, try fronting: Especially dumplings, I like Chinese food, and it will not sound as good as the original version. The apposition-oriented parsing can be interpreted as: [I like [Chinese food, [specifically speaking [the dumplings]]] – Damkerng T. – 2013-12-16T18:32:26.180

@user48070 The other sentence you think similar is actually not. Kindly see my answer. – Maulik V – 2013-12-18T05:34:26.410



"Especially dumpling" is a whole new clause in addition to "I like Chinese food". In this clause, the subject and verb are elided:

I like Chinese food; I especially like (Chinese) dumpling.

So it is an elided clause. As such, we can regard it as not having a phrase structure category according to a grammar. The basic hypothesis behind elision is that there is a grammatically complete utterance in the speaker's mind, from which words are deleted. The original utterance obeys the rules of grammar and can be identified as some phrasal category like "clause". The version which is actually spoken, with removed words cannot.

For instance, what part of speech is "John Mary" in the following:

Bob is going with Jennifer and John with Mary.

it doesn't have one; if we accept the elision hypothesis (which we practically must), the speaker produced "John is going with Mary", which is a clause, and condensed it to "John Mary", which we can identify with that clause, and call it an "elided clause".

Note that "dumpling" is normally countable, but here "dumpling" is uncountable. This is a little bit strange, but it will be interpreted as being similar to "I like duck".

Of course "duck" has to be treated uncountably when we are talking about food because it is short for "duck meat"; "I like ducks" cannot be used when talking about food, whereas "I like dumplings" is the normal way to state your preference for steamed or boiled dough.

"For example" patterns can also be hypothesized as being cases of elision. Consider that a sentence like:

I like Chinese food, for example: pork dumplings, won ton soup and barbecued duck.

can be viewed as a condensed version of this string of clauses:

I like Chinese food. For example, I like pork dumplings, won ton soup and barbecued duck.

For example is a kind of introductory interjection, which indicates that the following clause gives examples. The list of foods is then a compound noun which serves as the object of the elided verb "to like", where the elided subject is "I".


Posted 2013-11-07T04:02:42.123

Reputation: 6 114


"Especially" is an adverb.

I believe the correct way to express this thought would be to say: "I like Chinese food, especially dumplings."

Similarly, you could simplify the thought, and say, "I especially like dumplings.", at which point it is much easier to determine its constituency.


Posted 2013-11-07T04:02:42.123

Reputation: 111

2It's easy to see that especially is an adverb. But OP asked: what is "especially dumpling"? – Damkerng T. – 2013-12-16T18:35:41.527


Since it's clear that especially is an adverb, I think you want to be clear on the sentence constituent especially dumpling and the second sentence with for example.

Online Oxforddictionaries mentions the word 'especially' -

Especially (adv): used to single out one person or thing over all others.

The latter sentence that you mentioned I like Chinese food, for example, dumpling. is not similar.

The clear difference is:

I like Chinese food, especially dumpling - You like [all type of] Chinese dishes but among those, you love dumpling very much.

On the other hand,

I like Chinese food, for example, dumpling - You like Chinese food but then you are naming any one dish to support that you like Chinese dishes. Here, in this case, it's dumpling. But this does not say that you like 'dumpling' very much as in former case.

For example could have been any Chinese dish in this case —say noodles. I like Chinese food, for example, noodles. But this won't show your special love for dumpilng!

Maulik V

Posted 2013-11-07T04:02:42.123

Reputation: 66 188