I would like to know what "very much" is in terms of grammatical classification.

Is it an adjective, adverb or other part of speech?

  • 1
    Much and many, with or without very, are quantifiers. – John Lawler May 22 '16 at 18:58
  • In something like I don't have very much money, "very much" is a determinative phrase (DP) in which "much" belongs to the category (part of speech) 'determinative' and its modifier "very" is an 'adverb'. – BillJ May 22 '16 at 19:46
  • @JohnLawler Noun quantifiers. – Quidam Jan 15 at 16:27
  • Quantifiers only bind nouns; and "determinative" is an alternative term for "determiner", which is a larger category encompassing quantifiers, articles, and demonstratives, among others. – John Lawler Jan 15 at 16:37

Classically, an adverb can modify either a verb or an adjective (or perhaps other things), but there are subtleties. "Very" is an adverb that can modify adjectives but not verbs, which is useful to know for a grammarian, because it can be used to distinguish verbs from adjectives in cases where the difference is not obvious (such as participles).

At least sometimes, when "very" cannot be used because it would modify a verb, it can be converted to a verb modifier by adding "... much":

The new regulations bewildered him.  
He was very bewildered at the new regulations.  
*The new regulations very bewildered him.
?? He was very bewildered by the new regulations.  
The new regulations very much bewildered him.  
He was very much bewildered by the new regulations.  
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