perilous <close> to fear [adverb?]

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manoeuvre

Member
Mandarin-Taiwan
Hello guys. I am confused with the phrase below.
'a nervous tension that came perilous close to fear'.
In this phrase, 'close' is an adverb and 'perilous' is an adjective. Does 'perilous' modify 'close' or 'came'?
Does 'come perilous close to fear' share the same meaning of 'come very close to fear'?
 
  • manoeuvre

    Member
    Mandarin-Taiwan
    Can you tell us the source of your sentence, please?
    It's from the prologue of book one of A Song Of Ice And Fire written by George RR Martin.
    Under the wounded pride, Will could sense something else in the older man. You could taste it; a nervous tension that came perilous close to fear.
    Will shared his unease.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Thanks. It sounds rather antiquated, but I read it as an alternative form of "perilously". It qualifies "close". The meaning is "dangerously close".
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    "Perilous" here is being used as an adverb modifying "close": it's an archaism.

    ....
    Snap, veli!:)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Hello guys. I am confused with the phrase below.
    'a nervous tension that came perilous close to fear'.
    In this phrase, 'close' is an adverb and 'perilous' is an adjective. Does 'perilous' modify 'close' or 'came'?
    Does 'come perilous close to fear' share the same meaning of 'come very close to fear'?
    Martin is using old-fashioned-sounding language: he is using "perilous" in place of modern English "perilously". So it is an adverb modifying "close": "perilous(ly) close" means "very close".

    The WordReference dictionary calls this use of "close" an adjective, saying that "be close to <object>" means "not differing much from <object>" (defintion 16 at close - WordReference.com Dictionary of English)

    cross-posted
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I prefer to think of close to as a preposition (like beside, near).
    I do too!

    Doing a google search now on "is close a preposition", I find no website saying that the single word close is a preposition.

    But I find several websites saying the 2-word phrase close to is a "preposition of place".

    Wikipedia's "list of english prepositions" lists 91 single-word and 36 two-word prepositions, including close to.
     

    manoeuvre

    Member
    Mandarin-Taiwan
    Thanks. It sounds rather antiquated, but I read it as an alternative form of "perilously". It qualifies "close". The meaning is "dangerously close".
    "Perilous" here is being used as an adverb modifying "close": it's an archaism.

    ....
    Snap, veli!:)
    Martin is using old-fashioned-sounding language: he is using "perilous" in place of modern English "perilously". So it is an adverb modifying "close": "perilous(ly) close" means "very close".

    The WordReference dictionary calls this use of "close" an adjective, saying that "be close to <object>" means "not differing much from <object>" (defintion 16 at close - WordReference.com Dictionary of English)

    cross-posted
    I prefer to think of close to as a preposition (like beside, near).
    I do too!

    Doing a google search now on "is close a preposition", I find no website saying that the single word close is a preposition.

    But I find several websites saying the 2-word phrase close to is a "preposition of place".

    Wikipedia's "list of english prepositions" lists 91 single-word and 36 two-word prepositions, including close to.
    Thank you all for the answers.Problem solved.
     
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