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Thread: Modifier

  1. #1
    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Modifier

    If I write:

    He arrived late. Late is an adverb.
    He arrived two hours late. 'two hours' seems to modify late, much as very would. I just thought, adverbs modify verbs and adjectives. Adjectives modify nouns. Do nouns modify adverbs? Or am I just seeing this wrongly? Or is two hours an adverb here?

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    Default Re: Modifier

    Hi Pedroski

    Adverbs answer the questions when, where, why, how and how much; e.g., he arrived late. How late did he arrive? He arrived two hours late.

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    Smile Re: Modifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    If I write:

    He arrived late. Late is an adverb.
    He arrived two hours late. 'two hours' seems to modify late, much as very would. I just thought, adverbs modify verbs and adjectives. Adjectives modify nouns. Do nouns modify adverbs? Or am I just seeing this wrongly? Or is two hours an adverb here?
    Two hours late is an adverb phrase. The phrase is realized by two [numeral] + hours [noun], which modifies late [adverb, which is the main word of the phrase, the head]. So locally, what you see is actually what you think - a noun phrase modyfing an adverb; globally, the whole structure is considered an adverb phrase.

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    Default Re: Modifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    He arrived two hours late. 'two hours' seems to modify late, much as very would.
    It does, and replacing 'two hours' with 'very' is a test you can do to see how a word, phrase or clause is functioning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski
    I just thought, adverbs modify verbs and adjectives. Adjectives modify nouns. Do nouns modify adverbs?
    Remember that every word has (i) a form (e.g., 'hours' is a plural noun; 'two' is a singular noun) and (ii) a function ('two' functions as an adjective in modifying the plural noun 'hours', and the resulting noun phrase 'two hours' functions as an adverb, as it answers the question How late?

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    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Modifier

    But: adverbs never modify nouns?

    These word classes have VERY fuzzy borders!

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    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Modifier

    Sorry Soup, but is two here not a determiner?? Two hours??

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    Default Re: Modifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    But: adverbs never modify nouns?

    These word classes have VERY fuzzy borders!
    No, they don't, unless, that is, the noun functions as an adverb. Additionally, look up the word 'late' and find out how many forms it can have. (Please reread post #4 about form and function.)

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    Default Re: Modifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    Sorry Soup, but is two here not a determiner?? Two hours??
    It's a kind of quantifier, actually. Sorry, I forgot how "advanced" you've become.

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    Default Re: Modifier

    Flattery, Soup, will get you everywhere! And everything! For instance, this delicious apposition:

    The Spectator, champagne for the brain.

    And I'll throw in an alliteration from the 14th Century:
    In somer seson, when soft was the sonne, I shope me into shroudes, as I a shepe were. Say that fast!

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    Default Re: Modifier

    Pedroski, how is The Spectator, champagne for the brain an example of apposition?

    Say this fast:

    si4 shi4 si4
    shi2 shi4 shi2
    shi2 si4 shi4 shi2 si4
    si4 shi2 shi4 si4 shi2
    si4 shi2 si4 zhi1 shi2 shi1 zi3 shi4 si3 de.


    It's a Chinese tongue twister.

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