Grammatical modifier  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In grammar, a modifier is an optional element in phrase structure or clause structure. A modifier is so called because it is said to modify (change the meaning of) another element in the structure, on which it is dependent. Typically the modifier can be removed without affecting the grammar of the sentence. For example, in the English sentence This is a red ball, the adjective red is a modifier, modifying the noun ball. Removal of the modifier would leave This is a ball, which is grammatically correct and equivalent in structure to the original sentence.

Other terms used with a similar meaning are qualifier (the word qualify may be used in the same way as modify in this context), attribute, and adjunct. These concepts are often distinguished from complements and arguments, which may also be considered dependent on another element, but are considered an indispensable part of the structure. For example, in His face became red, the word red might be called a complement or argument of became, rather than a modifier or adjunct, since it cannot be omitted from the sentence.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Grammatical modifier" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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