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In the following sentences, does 'small' function as an adverb or an adjective?

Visitors will be astounded at the amazing exhibits; one of these is a small sliver of moon rock that visitors are allowed to touch. The rock has been worn smooth by years of visitors reverently touching a piece of the moon.

(My students and I can't tell if 'sliver' or 'moon rock' functions as the noun/noun phrase... any help or reasoning much appreciated, this has been going around in my head for a week!)

  • "Small" modifies "sliver" or if you prefer, it modifies "sliver of moon rock." At any rate, it's an adjective. Then "of moon rock" is a prepositional phrase. – aparente001 Oct 8 at 6:56
  • @JVL Not my downvote. – BillJ Oct 8 at 7:24
  • "A small sliver of moon rock" is a noun phrase, with the noun "sliver" as 'head'. "Moon rock" is also a noun phrase serving as complement of the preposition "of". In the preposition phrase "moon" modifies "rock". – BillJ Oct 8 at 7:27
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a small sliver of moon rock

I think the above is a noun phrase and small is an adjective qualifying sliver of moon rock..

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    It's a SLIVER (a thin piece), not 'a silver'. – Kate Bunting Oct 8 at 7:41

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