Source: p 37, A Student's Introduction to English Grammar (2005) by Huddleston and Pullum

Nevertheless, subordinate subjunctives like [iii] are structurally very like subordinate clauses with primary verb-forms...

Please help me dig deeper than the bolded's meaning, which I ask NOT about.

I guess here: very is an adverb (see Defn 1), and like is a preposition (see Defn 1). Am I right?

The bolded phrase sounds grammatically strange and wrong.
What about in general, for any adverb and preposition?


1 Answer 1


There is no problem with modifying prepositions, such as like or many others where a notion of "how much" makes sense.

In the game, he went straight toward the enemy.

Straight modifies toward, expressing "how much toward" (in this case, directly or straight toward).

Prepositions that express "targeting" (i.e. prepositions that identify an object of a phrase) obviously won't make sense with many modifiers, such as in most cases of for, to, from, etc.

I did this for him.

I did this very for him (Doesn't make sense. It's either for him or not for him.)

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