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The leader of a modern democracy is confronted by the rise of a threatening dictator abroad.

I guess the 'abroad' in bold modifies 'the rise'. But if I'm not mistaken, 'abroad' is an adverb.
Is such modification possible because the rise is deverbal?
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Both the rise and the dictator are abroad, so I don't think we can say with certainty that one or the other is the target of the modifier abroad. Even confronted should be considered.

The deverbal nature of rise probably helps us see it as a possible target for adverbial modification, but dictator is just as likely. abroad is a location, and "The dictator is abroad" is perfectly grammatical.

CJ
So you think an adverb can modify a non-deverbal noun?
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Well, yes. I guess I'd have to conclude that.

abroad is an adverb, and it can modify dictator, a non-deverbal noun, so yes.

I think the circumstances under which this might be done are somewhat restricted, however. Other examples don't come easily to mind.

CJ

Edit: That man there is the one I want to speak to.
But again it's quite possible that 'abroad' in question modifies 'the rise', right?
TakaBut again it's quite possible that 'abroad' in question modifies 'the rise', right?
Oh, yes. Certainly.

CJ
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OK. Thanks!