Modifier – modificateur


Let's Define It!

What's a *modifier*?

modifier (un modificateur in French) is first of all an optional element in a phrase structure or clause structure. By that, I simply mean that you can discard a modifier from a phrase or a clause without affecting the grammar of either one of them.

A modifier is called modifier because it modifies (changes the meaning of) another element in the structure, on which it is dependent.

Le modificateur can be:

  • a qualificative adjective,
  • an adverb,
  • a noun complement,
  • a completive clause,
  • a relative clause or
  • nonfinite clause.

In "le père de mon amie" [my friend's father], the noun complement de mon amie is a modifier, giving information about the noun le père.

In "Elle parlait calmement." [She was speaking calmly], the adverb calmement modifies the verb parlait.


Let's Pronounce It!

What does it sound like in French?


Let's Have an Example or Two!

Can a little reinforcement do the trick?

Here are a couple of modifiers used in sentences;

Tu parles très lentement. You talk very slowly. --> The adverb très modifies another adverb [bien]. The other adverb lentement is

C'est une belle maison que vous avez là. --> What a nice house you have there. The adjective [belle] modifies the noun maison.

Je vois l'homme dont tu parlesI can see the man about whom you are talking. The adjectival clause (in this case relative clause) introduced by dont modifies the noun [homme]


Let's Take a Quiz!

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