Questlove is a very good drummer.

This question came from the first question on this show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKUhS81fBtI

Isn't it an adjective? How is it an adverb?


2 Answers 2


It's an adverb because it modifies an adjective - adverbs modify anything that isn't a noun. In this case, the adjective is 'good'. Very can be used as an adjective, however, in such phrases as 'the very soul of man'; here it lends weight to the noun.

  • There are a few instances where adverbs can modify nouns and noun phrases.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 21:40
  • @BillJ What would these be? Nothing comes to mind.
    – Angelos
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 21:57
  • 2
    In Virtually his only friend, the adverb "virtually" is modifying the noun phrase his only friend, and in He ate almost the whole pie, the adverb "almost" is modifying the NP the whole pie. And in A shortage of timber internationally led to a steep rise in prices, the adverb "internationally" is modifying the noun "shortage". Interesting, eh?
    – BillJ
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 6:07

"Very" is acting as an adverb in your sentence because it is describing the adjective "good."

An adjective describes something.

You can't say, "Questlove is a very drummer," so you see it cannot act as an adjective in this sentence.

A good rule of thumb is to put a noun right after the word you are wondering is an adjective. If it makes sense, it's most likely an adjective.

Hope this helps you. =)

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