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This page https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/adverbs/ says that adverbs "may modify verbs, adjective, prepositions, or other adverbs".

It lists some the following words under the category of "Adverbs of Quantity": beaucoup (a lot), très (very), trop (too much).

It's true that I am able to think of sentences where these words clearly modify a verb, or adjective or another adverb:

  • I eat a lot. ("a lot" is modifying a verb)
  • I run very fast ("very" is modifying the adverb "fast")
  • I eat too much. ("too much" is modifying a verb).

But if I click the "Adverbs of Quantity" link, I see other Adverbs of Quantity words that really look like they modify a noun. An example is "un verre de".

  • J'ai bu un verre de vin.

In this case, isn't "un verre de" modifying the noun "vin"? If so, is it indeed true that adverbs can modify nouns? (and if so, what makes "une verre de" an adverb, instead of an adjective?")

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  • Un verre = nom ; un verre de vin, une quantité nommée verre, représentant un volume normalisé. Pas d'adverbe en vue !
    – Personne
    Sep 26, 2015 at 14:04
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    You're absolutely right; beaucoup de etc. are not adverbs. I took a grammatical shortcut but that was clearly a mistake. I've moved those expressions to a separate page - thanks for bringing this up!
    – lkl
    Sep 26, 2015 at 15:04
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    de rien! for me, one of the most helpful (and thus motivating) aspects of learning French is learning to analyse sentences grammatically! (it seems to be helping me identify huge "chunks" of sentences, eg "i don't actually understand that chunk of the sentence but it's some kind of adverbial clause modifying this-here main chunk that i DO understand). so, i've enjoyed looking through your grammar sections, so thanks a lot :)
    – silph
    Sep 26, 2015 at 15:16
  • Fast is an adjective not an adverb. Quickly is the preferred adverb. Oct 18, 2015 at 13:05
  • @BenKnoble Fast is certainly an adverb, as well as an adjective. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fast#Adverb
    – silph
    Oct 19, 2015 at 14:57

1 Answer 1

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French adverbs indeed "may modify verbs, adjective, prepositions, or other adverbs".

  • Paul a beaucoup mangé.
  • Paul est très content.
  • Paul est exactement devant chez toi.
  • Paul est très très énervé.

A lot of the “adverbs” cited on your referenced page are not actual adverbs: Pro-PP (e.g. ici, là, maintenant, hier, dehors), Pro-clitics (en, y), Pro-QU (e.g. combien, comment, où, pourquoi, quand). And others are adverbs which can take NP/noun compléments with the de preposition (e.g. beaucoup, assez, peu). Finally while moins and plus are adverbs, le moins et le plus are not words and hence are not adverbs. Lexical grammatical categories being appropriate only for words.

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