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What exactly is the functionality of else (as in "something else")?

Does it always modify an action?

Does it also sometimes qualify a noun?

Most common dictionaries seem content with defining else as an adverb, implying (and exemplifying) that it is modifying the action. (Cambridge, Oxford, MacMillan, ldoce, …)

OTOH, some others are charitable enough to treat else as an adjective (at least in some instances).

At least one resource calls it a determiner as well (in BrE). (Collins) Here it is listed primarily as an adjective instead.

Is else as in "… something else …" an adverb, an adjective, a determiner, or something else?

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  1. First of all, we should answer the question "what is 'something else' ?"

something else

PHRASE

informal 

An exceptional person or thing.

  • According to Cambridge Dictionary

something else

​is an idiom:

''unusual, especially extremely good or extremely bad:

This game is really something else!'' (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/something-else#cald4-1-1-1)

So, we have a phrase or an idiom.

  1. Functionally this phrase is a predicative. The predicative can formally belong to any part of speech. As it's a phrasal predicative we can term the first element as a 'pronoun' and the second one - its 'modifier' which is defined as "a word or phrase that is used with another word or phrase to limit or add to its meaning" (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/modifier?q=Modifier+)

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