The predicative expression accompanying the copula, also known as the complement of the copula, may take any of several possible forms: it may be a noun or noun phrase, an adjective or adjective phrase, a prepositional phrase or another adverb or adverbial phrase expressing time or location.

According to Wikipedia, "very much" isn't an adverbial phrase in the sentences below because it doesn't express time or location:


1. We’re very much a family, and we stick together.

2. Palmer is very much the man in charge of the team.


3. The company is still very much an important part of the community.

4. She is very much in control of the situation.


5. The emphasis is very much on learning the spoken language.

How does "very much" function in these sentences?


  • "Much" is a determinative, so "very much" is a DP functioning as a degree modifier in the copular clause "we're very much a famiy".
    – BillJ
    Sep 22, 2019 at 8:41

2 Answers 2


It acts as an intensifier, to add emphasis to the statement that is being made. You can't use very on its own in sentences of this type ("We are very a family"); you have to say very much.


It's an adverb modifying (emphasizing) the verb be. Cf. certainly, surely etc.

We (are) (very much) a family.
        ↓             ↓
        verb ← adverb of emphasis


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