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I tried my best, but I think this is the closest you can get to success.

All I know is that the text in bold is a reduced relative clause.

But if I convert it into a statement:

You can get the closest to success.

Does "the closest" function as an adverb?

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  • "Get" usually requires an object but can take a prepositional phrase ("get to the house") or an adjective ("get lucky"). It probably makes most sense to see "get" as a copula, and "the closest to success" as an adjectival phrase (replace "get" by "be" or "become").
    – Stuart F
    Feb 12 at 12:15

1 Answer 1

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[1] I tried my best, but I think this is the closest [(that) you can get to success].

I wouldn't go along with what you say about a 'reduced relative clause'.

Most relative clauses have nominals as antecedent, but it is also possible to have a superlative adjective phrase like "closest" as antecedent. The relative clause is enclosed in square brackets, where "that" is optional, as shown. Note that the determiner "the" modifies "closest".

[2] You can get [the closest to success].

Here, "the closest to success" is again an adjective phrase with "closest" as head and the infinitival clause as complement of the head. The whole AdjP then functions as complement of "get". As in [1], the determiner "the" modifies "closest".

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