I've recently come across the terms helping-adverb and helping-adjective in some old grammar books.
From the book A practical grammar of the English language (by Roscoe Goddard Greene, 1830):
A Helping-Adverb (1) is a word employed to aid an adverb, or another helping-adverb; as, " He rides too fast ;" " He rides much too fast."
Helping-adverbs, (2) very, quite, exceedingly, excessively, extremely, too much, &c.
The same words are called helping-adjectives when they are employed to aid adjectives; as, " The house is too large ;" or another helping-adjective; as, " The house is much too large."
These words are, by some writers on grammar, called adverbs of degree.
The words very, quite, exceedingly, excessively, extremely, too, and some other words, are called by some grammarians, helping adjectives, when they modify adjectives — when they modify adverbs, they are called helping adverbs. — Blair.
From the book The American system of English grammar (by James Brown, 1826):
Helping adjectives relate to the principle adjective and to other helping-adjectives:
- The weather is very much too warm.
- The richer the soil, the better the fruit.
Warm is the principal : too relates to warm;much to too;and very to much.
The is a helping adjective relating to richer and better.
From the book An analytical, illustrative, and constructive grammar of the English (by Brantley York, 1862):
If such adverbial elements limits a substantive element, through the medium of some adjective element, they may be called secondary or helping adjectives ; but if they modify a verb or participle indirectly, i.e., through the medium of some other element, they may be called secondary or helping adverbs.
Questions (all related):
- Are the terms helping-adverb and helping-adjective used in the grammar of the contemporary English or are they abandoned long time ago?
- Is there any credibility of the explanation of the terms above? Or is it covered by adverbs of degree already and is it the only used term currently?
- Might the terms helping-adverb and helping-adjective be used in the grammar of other languages currently but not in English grammar?