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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
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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
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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
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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

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