I can't figure out whether the words in question are adjectives? Do they all modify the same word at the same time? Can "something" modify the word "fierce" while "off-kilter" and "fierce" describe the collocation "color balance"?

The color balance is off-kilter something fierce, veering heavily toward the red pole of the spectrum. (The example is from Oxford Dictionaries)


"Off-kilter" is an adjective modifying the word "color balance". The phrase "something fierce", however, modifies the adjective "off-kilter": it's a colloquial way of saying "very much" or "extremely". Thus, "something fierce" would be considered to be an adverbial phrase. Some other phrases like this are "something awful" = "awfully", something terrible" = "terribly".

  • I agree. It's my sense that "something fierce" (i.e. to a great degree, terribly, extremely) is an Americanism. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 18 '15 at 21:17

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