Modifier (i.e. dependent)

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In syntax, the term modifier was sometimes used in the sense of dependent for an element which is neither an argument nor a predicate, but which modifies another element or phrase (e.g. a predicate).


This usage is found, for example, in Fries (1952:202ff.) and Hawkins (1983). It is becoming obsolete.


the adverb very is a modifier of the adjective ill in he is very ill.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Fries, CC. 1952. The Structure of English. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.
  • Hawkins, John A. 1983. Word order universals. New York: Academic Press.