Glossary: modify

Explanation

See Modifier.

Adjective phrases

An adjective phrase is a phrase whose Head word is an adjective. As with other phrases adjective phrases can consist of only one word (the Head) or of more than one word.

Note that the National Curriculum stipulates that phrases should have at least two words, though it concedes in the Glossary entry for noun phrases that "Some grammarians recognise one-word phrases."

Here are some examples of adjective phrases in sentences. The phrases are marked in square brackets and the Head is highlighted.

Adjectives

A very simple definition of adjectives that has sometimes been used is that they are ‘descriptive’ words. But this isn’t really very helpful. Lots of word classes can be ‘descriptive’: a noun like funeral is fairly descriptive, as is the verb leap. We might also say that the adverb quickly describes the verb ran in a sentence like He quickly ran.

Adverb phrases

An adverb phrase is a phrase with an adverb as the Head word. The Head adverb can occur alone or with modifiers, i.e. other words which expand the phrase, for example:

Adverbs

Adverbs are words that typically modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb or an entire sentence:

  • ‘I keep hoping they'll come back,’ Tanya said despairingly. [W2F-006 #244]

In this case the adverb modifies the verb said.

  • It’s a very fast road all the way. [S1A-021 #195]

In this case the adverb modifies the adjective fast.

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