It's almost time...

< Previous | Next >

JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
An American blog starts with this paragraph:
It's almost time for Super Bowl fans to settle in front of their massive-sized flat screen TVs and enjoy their favorite part of the big game: the commercials. Marketers nationwide plan to capitalize on the estimated 78 percent of viewers who are more excited about the commercials than the big game itself.
(Emphasis mine.)
I was wondering what exactly almost modifies. Does it modify time? Or the verb is? Or the whole clause It's time for...?
Any ideas?
 
  • perpend

    Banned
    American English
    "almost"* modifies the verb "to be".

    It is nearly* time for Super Bowl ...

    *Adverbs.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think this is an interesting question, and the answer isn't immediately obvious to me. I'm inclined to plump for the whole phrase: "It's time...", which is an idiom really, I suppose.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    And I'd vote for "almost" modifying "time".... :D

    Changed my mind -see below.
     
    Last edited:

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    A test is whether the adverb can appear in a noun phrase away from a verb. In some cases it can, for example in a subject:

    Almost a year has passed since we met.
    Almost seven days was enough to finish the job.

    Or a preposed time phrase:

    Almost the whole time I was wondering what to say.
    Almost a month ago I received your letter.

    But here the adverb is licensed by some kind of quantity word ('a' equivalent to 'one', another numeral, 'whole'; or 'same' in 'at almost the same time'). It doesn't work with 'the time for/to':

    :cross:Almost the time to watch the game is when I get the beer out of the fridge.
    :cross:Almost the time to watch the game, I got the beer out of the fridge.
    :cross:At almost the time to watch the game, I got the beer out of the fridge.
     
    Last edited:

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    But here the adverb is licensed by some kind of quantity word ('a' equivalent to 'one', another numeral, 'whole'; or 'same' in 'at almost the same time').
    Actually, that kind of thinking made me ask this question.:)
    So according to the test, do you think that it doesn't modify time?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    That's right, you can't take 'almost time' and the dependents of 'time' out of that place and move it around as a block, so 'almost time . . .' isn't a constituent. 'Almost' must be a separate modifier in the verb phrase 'is [almost] [time . . .]'.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Mmm, I've changed my mind. In the right context, you can say "It almost is time". I agree with etb - and perp.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top