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Sorry. I don't need a dictionary to tell me that it's an adjective. I just know intuitively that it's an adjective!

She is angry with Karen.

She is friends with Karen.

The adjectival nature of the word friends is confirmed by the fact that it occurs with more ... than ..., as shown in these examples, which I gathered quite easily from an internet search:

I'm more friends with Alisha than with Gary to be honest.
They are probably more friends with them than with you.
We're more friends with the guys than with the girls in the movement.

buddies has not yet attained the complete adjectival status of friends, but it's getting there. The search I made showed only "buddies" in quotes:

Blair was more "buddies" with Clinton than with Dubya.
I don't know if that makes me any more "buddies" with him than with Steve.

CJ
Hmm...but it would be a problem if you were supposed to make your ESL students understand that...(I personally understand what you mean, though).
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Note: I've added more to that post since you responded.

CJ
I'm not convinced of friends having a solid adjectival status. To me, these usages are still quite idiomatic and just developing in our language.

But, back to "almost friends." Here is a possible scenario, but I admit, I am still dubious!

It takes a while to become good friends, and sometimes it doesn't work out.

Look at Mary and John. They were hanging around with each other, and getting to know each other better. They were almost friends, but then they had a big fight and now don't even speak to each other.
CalifJim
The adjectival nature of the word friends is confirmed by the fact that it occurs with more ... than ...,
CJ
I wonder if that 'more A than B' is the proof that 'friends' is adjectival because I think that 'more A than B' is close to 'A rather than B'.

Let's take another example. This one:

He is almost a man.

I don't think 'a man' here is adjectival. And 'almost' is not right in front of 'man', which I think means that 'almost' is not a modifier of 'man'.
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TakaI don't think 'a man' here is adjectival.
Of course not! It's got "a" in front of it! Emotion: smile

"a man" is being used as a stage in life. He has almost reached the stage of being a man.

Likewise, "almost an adult", and considering the stages insects go through, even "almost a butterfly".

And, of a person recoving from an illness, "almost the man he used to be".

TakaI think that 'more A than B' is close to 'A rather than B'.
How does that change anything? 'A rather than B' works with adjectives as well. He is more angry with me than with you. He is angry with me rather than with you.

CJ
CalifJimHow does that change anything? 'A rather than B' works with adjectives as well. He is more angry with me than with you. He is angry with me rather than with you.
CJ
I think 'more A than B=A rather than B' means 'Relatively speaking, it's this A, not that B, after balancing A against B'.

Example:

He is more a teacher than a scholar.

It's not about the degree of the state of A stronger/weaker than that of B, as in:

He is taller than I (am).

So you don't say:

She is cleverer than honest.

Instead, you say:

She is more clever than honest.

Therefore, I don't think that just because we have 'more A than B=A rather than B', it always means that A is adjectival.
TakaTherefore, I don't think that just because we have 'more A than B=A rather than B', it always means that A is adjectival.
As teachers, we have to keep in mind that the function of a word is always determined (or validated) in a lexical context. English is such a flexible language! The dictionary can be an excellent starting point, but it's not 100% reliable, especially in these times when the language is quickly evolving.

Words can have multiple functions, we verbify nouns (Facebook - I'll friend you if you friend me...), nounify verbs, and use nouns as modifiers of other nouns.

Frankenstein:

He is more beast than man.
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AS, let me ask.

Do you think this sentence work in certain context, like a sci-fi story or something?

They are almost people.
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