Is 薄く and ほのかに both modify 輝く in the following sentence? Or, maybe I'm mistaken something, but since 薄く and ほのかに have the similar meanings, 薄く modifies ほのかに and ほのかに 輝く? Please, explain me how can you understand it? For me both of the varients sounds fine, and context is not helping much...


As an example, I was told that in the following sentence, 仄かに modifies うっすらと, and うっすらと modifies 冷たい. Because both of them have the similar meanings.

見上げた空には、月もなく雲もない。 しかし仄かにうっすらと、冷たい青さが目に凍みる。

Edit: I found the another example, which demonstrates the fact that even if adverbs have the similar meaning it doesn't mean much, and they could modify whatever the grammar and context allow. Which leads me to the opinion that the only way to understand, is the context. But as I mentioned earlier, sometimes context doesn't help much, hence I'm asking this question.


  • You already have answered it yourself. "both of the variants sound fine", "only way to understand is the context", "sometimes context doesn't help much"
    – user4092
    Sep 7, 2015 at 6:14

1 Answer 1


My two cents.

薄く and ほのかに both modify 輝く.

仄かに and うっすらと both modify 凍みる.

微かにほんのり儚くほのかにうっすらと all modify 存在してる.

I just read aloud. I judge from「、」and how well words go together. I sometimes change the order of words and check whether the meaning has changed.

They are sometimes ambiguous, but it does not matter. it is possible to understand sentences without understanding their relations. I think this is exactly same in English. Especially, you are speaking you don't think strictly what modifies what.

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