I’m twice your age. [OED]

It looks like ‘twice’ is a preposition to me, yet it’s an adverb. On what procedure do you think in your brain, can this be an adverb?

  • Taking into account this answer (twice is called an adverb in dictionaries because "adverb" is the traditional wastebasket category) to the more "generic" problem of categorisation, I think the current question is Not Constructive. – FumbleFingers Feb 22 '13 at 15:54
  • In grammars twice is dealt with in the chapter numbers or numerals. There are cardinal numbers ( one, two , three), ordinal numbers (first, second) and numbers of times or frequency answering how often (once, twice, thrice or three times). - No one would say that "twice" is a preposition. – rogermue Jan 1 '16 at 9:03

You can make an argument that it is an adverb:

In the sentence "I am your age", the word "am" expresses a relationship between the subject "I" and the phrase "your age". If I insert the word "twice", it modifies "am", changing the relationship between them. I don't think this works particularly well; I feel like "twice" modifies the following phrase, instead. If I say "I am twice", I ask, "Twice what?" It feels incomplete.

I think it makes more sense to analyze it another way. I would say "age" is a noun modified by the determiner "your" to form the phrase "your age"; this in turn is modified by the predeterminer "twice" to form the phrase "twice your age". This phrase is linked to the subject "I" by the verb "am".

  • Can you use twice your age as subject of a sentence? All your friends can be the subject of a sentence. – kiamlaluno Feb 22 '13 at 11:21

In context, "twice" means "two times". Ex:

I'm twice your age! I'm 40, I don't have much in common with twenty-year-olds.

Note it doesn't always mean exactly two times, but an approximation. If a parent were upset about their child dating someone older, for example, they would say "He/she's twice your age!" if the other person were somewhere in the range of two times the child's age.

  • The question is if twice is an adverb in the example sentence. – kiamlaluno Feb 22 '13 at 9:26

Since twice modifies am (a verb), twice is an adverb.
You could say "I am your age"; adding twice you are altering the meaning of am.

  • I think it modifies the prasal adjective "your age". Given that "I am" is a copula construction, "I am your age" makes "your age" into an adjective. Just like "I am red". In "I am very red" very is an adverb modifying an adjective. – Matt Ellen Feb 22 '13 at 12:42
  • What follows a linking verb is a subject complement; I would not call it an adjective. In "Alice is a child" a child doesn't seem an adjective. – kiamlaluno Feb 22 '13 at 13:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.