Modifier – modificateur
Let's Define It!
What's a *modifier*?
A 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 parles. I can see the man about whom you are talking. The adjectival clause (in this case relative clause) introduced by dont modifies the noun [homme]